heart in hand

10 Keys to A Great Relationship


1. You Reap What You Sow

You must like/love yourself. If you are looking to the other person to fulfill you, or make you feel better about yourself, your relationship is doomed for failure. If you have low self-esteem or feel flawed, the other person cannot fix that – you have to do it. If you don’t like yourself, you won’t believe that others do either. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you will project your lack of self worth into the relationship, and then blame the other person for making you feel that way. Commit to having a powerful, loving, open and honest relationship – this starts with having a powerful, loving, open and honest relationship with yourself.

2. Set Up Clearly Defined Ground-Rules

Even in our modern times we need to have clearly defined ground-rules and conditions for our relationship. We need rules and boundaries in our relationships to feel safe and create emotional security. What are your expectations? What is non negotiable? Are you clear about what you want and don’t want? A relationship can break down if there are no ground-rules.

Everyone has a set of expectations for having a relationship work for them. It is important to know and communicate these expectations and work out any discrepancies. If you intend to make a commitment for a lasting relationship you need to know what it is going to take – both for yourself and for them. Think about what you really need the other person to do or not do in order to create a fulfilling and powerful relationship.

3. Spend Quality Time Together

You have to make it a priority! Just as you would schedule an important event on your calendar, show the same courtesy in your relationship by scheduling this time with your partner in your calendar. Time together can be set up anyway you want. It can be time with friends, dining out, attending a special event, exercising, or cuddling together while watching a favorite movie. The activity is not what is important but the fact that you are together, doing something that you both enjoy.

Everyone these days has extremely busy schedules and between work, family, the home, errands, and everything else going on, finding time for your mate can be difficult. Set up a date night. Take turns deciding what the date is going to be and arraigning the details. Once the plan is in place, no backing out unless you communicate and can mutually come to another agreement, or have some life and death emergency. Keep play and fun alive in your relationship. Be respectful of your partner and honor the time that you have set up. Treat your time together as crucial, it is!

4. Like, Love & Respect Your Partner

Over time you may lose the passion and infatuation that you had for your partner, but if you really like your partner then you’ve got a sound basis for a long term successful relationship. Friendship is the key to a successful partnership. You need to enjoy being together, honor and respect how the other thinks, and share similar goals. If you don’t, your differences over time will pull you apart, no matter how much you love each other.

5. Communication the Tool for Love

Remembering that the other person is different from you can have you be aware that the other person, no matter how close, may not know what is really going on with you. You are 100% responsible for having the other person know what is true for you. If you expect the other person to be a mind reader you may be disappointed in what they make up about what they think is true for you. Speak up – it is most loving thing you can do. Cold silence will kill a relationship.

6. Create a Nurturing Environment

*Show affection. Human beings die without touch – it’s absolutely critical to our happiness. Being caressed lowers blood pressure and releases oxytocin – the bonding chemical that helps people stay together. Our sexual desires will come and go but our need for physical affection remains the same, so whether your sex life is red hot or moribund, make the time to touch, hug, stroke, kiss and cuddle.

*Have fun be important in your relationship. Create a list of fun things that you and your partner can do together. It can include movies you want to see, places you want to visit, experiences you want to have, etc. Pick stuff off of the list – plan for them and do them.

*Pick a word of the week. A word like – tolerance, compassion, understanding, playful, silly. Spend the week creating this as the context for your relationship. See how creating your relationship in different contexts can expand how you experience your relationship.

*Sex is important. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. In failed relationships it can show up as the main reason why. People want to be touched, need to be touched. It has been shown that infants will die if they aren’t touched. We don’t outgrow this need. In our fast moving, impersonal, tense filled world it is really important to feel touched, connected, relaxed and nurtured! Don’t restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.

7. Focus on What You Love

Instead of focusing on what you consider to be your partner’s shortcomings – focus on what you love about the other person. What you put your focus on expands. Sometimes the qualities in the other person that attracted you in the first place may now be the qualities that annoy you. Was he a take charge kind of guy? You thought, “Wow look at him – what a leader.” Now you consider him stubborn and dominating? Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction in the first place.

Many times the behaviors that you were originally attracted to in the other person are areas ripe for your own growth and development. When you can remember that at one point in time you loved the other person behaving that way – you can more fully accept the behavior – more fully approve of them. After all – that is who they are, and if you disapprove long enough about who they are in the relationship – your relationship will be in serious jeopardy.

Just because a behavior is something that you now say you don’t like – it’s only toxic to the relationship if you dwell on seeing it as toxic and negative. If your partner experiences in you the spirit of acceptance and approval, they will find you approachable. Two partners who are moving toward each other, rather than judging and trying to change or “fix” the other, have a dramatically improved chance of a fulfilling relationship. Where can you learn to be more accepting /more loving?

8. You and Your Partner are Different

This is such a fundamental truth – yet much of the suffering in relationships comes down to not recognizing and remembering this truth. How many people think that the way to solve their relationship problem is to get the other person to become more like them in their thinking? People work overtime to get the other person to think like them. They argue, bagger, be – little and give up on their partner for thinking differently. Everyone of us are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. Recognize that your relationship is far more enjoyable when you’re with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences – it will have you be more realistic in your expectations.

9. Acknowledge, Appreciate and Be Grateful

Be grateful for the other person in your life – let them know it – often! Find ways to express your gratitude for their partnership and your relationship will soar. All human beings want to be acknowledged and appreciated.

If you want your relationship to expand and have the other person come towards you, you need to have it be pleasurable for the other person to be with you. If you are critical and unappreciative you should not be surprised to find the other person moving away from you

*Have appreciation be the background of your relationship. When you assume or expect your partner to do things for you – you may have forgotten that they do not have to. They are doing things for you because this enhances their life – you bring love, richness and fun to the relationship – so be sure that you do!

*Be proud of the person that you are with – be considerate and speak to expand their self-esteem. Promote the other person for being the best thing in your life. Notice how you speak about them to others – do you promote them or dish them? Talk highly about your partner when you talk about them. You create who they are for you in others listening of them. Acknowledgement is nectar for the health of your relationship.

10. Learn to Fight Fair

Fair fighting is about getting your grievances out in the open. It’s a way of being completely committed to the relationship and not letting a problem continue. You’re fighting to grow and mature with one another – to be fully self expressed and alive. Know that upsets and arguments are a normal part of relating – after all you are not clones of one another. An old axiom says, “The dirtiest fighter is the one who refuses to fight at all.” Someone who doesn’t want to rock the boat, and skirts the issues to avoid conflict, ultimately damages the relationship. Withdrawal from a conflict does not solve the problem. Fighting can actually get you through a conflict to a level of greater intimacy.

*Are you arguing with the spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, or control? If you never ask yourself “What is my goal here?” You won’t have any sense of accomplishment or resolution – just the bad after taste of arguing. If you find yourself arguing ask yourself “What do I want/need here?” “What is my goal?” Set the goal for the argument. Have your goal be that both you and your partner will have more clarity, love and full self expression available at the end of this argument. Remind yourself in the middle of the argument that this is the goal. If you can’t hone yourself to this goal – take a break – chill out and resume the conversation when you can.

*Top priority is to be respectful. Respect means: due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of another; avoid harming, mitigate pain; have honor and dignity. So when you fight the most important issue is to come from respect; self-respect as well as respect for your partner.

*Take it private and keep it private. Not always easy to do. Not only will your partner and all parties around like it better, you will like yourself better when you have the courage and control to do this. Your partner will respect you and there will be more space to resolve the conflict.

*Don’t abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument. Name calling and personal attacks always lead to more arguing and anger – not less. What is your goal here – resolution or domination?

*Keep it relevant. Don’t bring up old grudges or sore points when they don’t belong in a particular argument – keep it from deteriorating into a free-for -all.

*During a fight, frustrations can be high, and voices can get loud. Both of you can feel unseen, unheard, and unappreciated. It is critical to remember that you love one another, and that the point of the conflict is to make sure neither of you sabotages your love by putting up with less than your love deserves. The purpose of a fight is to reconcile your differences and dissolve the distance between you.

So are you?

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