How to Build a Healthier Relationship with Your Partner

Second Friday of the month: Family Life / Marriage

I forgot when was the last time I wrote about marriage here.  Since it's Family Friday, I think it's the perfect time to share what I've learned from our SoMoms #BetterMe session last month conducted by Coach Pia Acevedo of One Core.  The talk was about building healthier relationships with our partner and children.  I'll focus on the partner portion for today.

I missed the first SoMoms #BetterMe session with Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo so I did not know what to expect when I attended this one.  Coach Pia turned out to be a very charismatic and inspiring speaker.  She is a Certified Life Coach, with expertise in family relationships and personal life transitions.  She founded One Core to support people in making better life decisions, coaching and mentoring individuals, and conducting seminars for schools and private organizations.  She certainly got my full attention during our half day session.

During the first session, one topic they touched on was the 5 Love Languages by renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman.  It was the assignment given to the SoMoms, and luckily, it's available online. I took the 5 Love Languages quiz here with my husband and was able to recognize our differences in the ways we communicate our love.  That's a good first step towards a healthier relationship.  Check the link and take the test to have a better understanding of your own love language.

Moving on to today's topic...I'm sharing the presentation here to help you assess your own relationship with your partner.

Building a Healthier Relationship with your Partner - by Coach Pia Acevedo
"What do I mean by healthy relationships?Coach Pia explains that it should be:
  • Observable - there's open communication; you can speak openly about your thoughts, feelings, and actions without feeling judged or being afraid of rejection
  • Nurturing - appreciate and value even the aspects that the other partner does not value or is not interested in

How do I know my relationship with my partner is healthy?
  • Authenticity - I can be myself, and still be myself while nurturing my partner.
  • Basic Trust - I can trust myself, and my partner.
  • Basic Respect - I feel respected, and I respect my partner.
  • Deeper Understanding - I feel understood, and I understand my partner.
  • Basic Parenting - I can nurture our children, and our children feel nurtured by us.  Nurture first before discipline.
Did you put a check mark on all of the above? I think I need a little more work on having "deeper understanding". =)

What aspects do I need to consider in building a healthier relationship with my partner?

There are 7 jumpstart aspects to building healthier relationships.  There's no perfect marriage, nor a perfect relationship.  It's constantly a work in progress.  Hence, we have to analyze and prioritize what needs to be changed and nurtured according to our willingness, disposition, ability and knowledge.
Rank on a scale of 1-10, 10 being top consideration, the aspect that needed a "jumpstart" in your relationship and work on it together.
7 Jumpstart Aspects - WILLINGNESS and ABILITY to...
  1. Maintain and Develop Trust - Trust is a necessary starting point in any relationship, and should continuously be nurtured.  Be open and honest.
  2. Learn Continuously - To attain true intimacy, it's very important to learn how to love your partner and be mature enough to admit there is still much to be learned.  Be willing and open to learn.
  3. Communicate Openly - Every relationship is unique. There are many ways to communicate who we are and understand who our partner is.  One must patiently suspend judgement to create a healthier relationship. Learn to listen to each other and respect what one has to say.
  4. Cooperate, Create a Plan - Goal setting is essential for success.  Set expectations in the relationship, define common values and principles together. Common interests and individual strengths should be recognized and celebrated. This may include assigning and handling responsibilities in the household.
  5. Adapt and be Flexible - Acknowledge differences in personality, preferences, dispositions, priorities, and values.  It's an essential first step to bring two people closer to one another.  Part of this is accepting that some things cannot change.
  6. Let Go and Forgive - We get hurt, and we hurt our partner knowingly or unknowingly.  Move forward, let go of painful words, actions, situations that was experienced with your partner.  But you have to trust that when your partner hurt you, they don't do it knowingly.
  7. Sacrifice - Each of us comes from a different background, with different life experiences.  Be willing to empathize and provide for your partner that which he/she needs to feel loved unconditionally.

What strategies can I use to build a healthier relationship with my partner? How?
1. Practical Application
Choose any, or all, of the 7 aspects above and set a timeline.  You can start based on how you ranked it in terms of need and urgency.  You can also set an incentive for you to push through with working on the jumpstart plan.  A bonding trip perhaps?

2. Understand and transcend my personal ego
Ego is the shallow self, and a natural instinct to preserve ourselves.  The ego is satisfied by what other people say = pride.   According to Coach Pia, "choose to find and transcend the fear". The transcendent self is your real self.  For me, this is the most difficult strategy because we can't help but act, speak, and feel based on how we want others to perceive us, or what others expect of us, including our partner.

3. Fill the relationship with unconditional love and acceptance.
Love by words and action; inspire your partner to be his/her best.  It's not always easy to accept. Admit to your partner that you are trying.


There were many insights shared, and realizations among us during this #BetterMe session.  On my end, I know I have to jumpstart on communicating openly - I still find it difficult to speak my mind and verbally communicate my feelings during conflicts.  I also know I have to cooperate with and work on our life plans as a family.  To transcend my personal ego is also my goal.  This was very evident during our session - everyone has this challenge and we all promised to work on that! =)

I'm looking forward to more SoMoms #BetterMe sessions since we really have so many things to talk about and to improve in ourselves, and in our family lives!  If you have more questions about topics on relationships, career, life balance, get in touch with Coach Pia via One Core, or email: contact@theonecore.com .

Being enlightened during the session, together with my seatmate Eliza

Many thanks to our generous sponsors for making our morning session possible:
BPI - the top financial institution is now making it easy for moms and families to connect with them and talk about financial wellness.
Ombu Filipino Restaurant - offers delectable modern Filipino cuisine, located at Sequoia Hotel (Everyone was raving about the lunch which I missed out that day, huhuhu...).
Sequoia Hotel - a business-friendly hotel with 138 guest rooms, 5 function rooms, and a ballroom, for your conference and banquet needs dlocated in the heart of Quezon City.

'Til the next #BetterMe session! 
#BetterMe Session by Coach Pia for the SoMoms and friends - Sequoia Hotel, 14 August 2013 (photo by: Janice)

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