Romantic relationships have the capacity to bring out the best in you, and the worst in you.

According to relationship expert Harville Hendrix, we unconsciously choose romantic partners who mirror our unresolved childhood wounds (hopefully so they can be resolved, but that does not always happen.). For an array of reasons the romantic relationship can be an emotionally loaded connection where behavior can swing from extreme kindness to extreme cruelty.

It’s interesting, when you think about how good it feels to be kind, how many people find themselves stuck in a pattern of behaving in an unkind manner towards their partner. Snapping, harsh words, an aggressive tone and thoughtless action all chip away at the foundation that a relationship is built on. For many couples the issue is not intentional cruelty but a lack of intentional kindness.

“Be a little kinder than you have to.” ― E. Lockhart via @Terri_Cole (Click to Tweet!)

Being kind is not always easy. Your partner will undoubtedly annoy and frustrate you. You will not always agree and there will always be life challenges that can strain your relationship. Though the more you practice kindness in your day to day life with your partner, the better equipped you both will be for the times when being kind feels like the most difficult thing to do.

Kindness is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Look at practicing kindness as an exercise that will enhance your life, your relationships and your own wellbeing. Take every opportunity to extend kindness to your partner. A simple love note, flowers, a foot rub, deep listening or a hug can go a long way.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  ― Aesop

Focusing on what is right instead of what is wrong about your partner is also an act of kindness. I am not saying to deny major issues, simply that what you focus on grows. So why not focus on the qualities that drew you together in the first place.  Your focus creates your perception. You get to choose what lense you view your partner though.

Relationships take work. It’s amazing how often people forget this. Your level of self awareness directly impacts how well your relationship works. Your partner, just like you, is an imperfect human. They will make mistakes, say and do stupid things and probably hurt your feelings from time to time. This is life. While getting together in a relationship is often easy, keeping it healthy takes effort.

And while there is no secret recipe to staying in love, I know that kindness plays a major role in couples staying together and actually being happy.

I want to urge you to bring more kindness into your relationship starting today! So below in the comments list three ways that you commit to extending kindness to your partner over the next seven days. In addition to that, start shifting your focus now by listing three things that you appreciate and love about your partner. Transformation in relationships is possible. It takes time, effort and personal responsibility, but it is possible! Let kindness be your guide.

This week be kind to your partner and as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Jennifer.