For the most part, people want the same thing from a relationship.

People want spouses and partners who are:

  • Understanding
  • Appreciative/Grateful
  • Respectful
  • Caring and kind
  • Helpful
  • Trustworthy
  • Positive
  • Fun to be around

We should first answer a few questions as the foundation of our discussion.

What  is a relationship?

What is the purpose for a relationship?

What is your criteria for a good relationship?

Martin Buber described the concept that the space between is where a relationship exists.  It is something that we create between us.  What we do and what we say creates the space.  If we say something or do something to another that is toxic or mean then we are polluting the relationship space.  We all need to be seen, to be heard, and to be validated.  When we create a sacred space in our relationship we allow for the essence of our partner to be present.  We allow the complete humanness for our partner to emerge.  I like to state that the world is hard enough and coming home to our relationship needs to be the one safe, warm space where we feel we are protected from the judgment and toxicity of the world.  We are also so incredibly hard on ourselves I believe we do not need anyone to judge or beat us up any more then we already do to ourselves.  We have the opportunity for our relationship to be a repeat of our limiting beliefs about our self or our relationship can be a healing space.  If we can give each other 100% unconditional positive regard and respect.

The word relating is defined as acting upon another human being and implies an outward focus.  But most people interact with a relationship as if it is something to serve their own needs instead of having their needs serve others.  This is not to say we are to act in service to others at the expense of our own nurturance and self care.  Serving others does not mean self sacrifice, but rather considering what impact your actions have on other people and acting in such a way that we create an environment that takes care of both our self and others.

Relationships are difficult to maintain when they are filled with conflict, negativity and a lack of trust.  Relationships are less fulfilling when we are focused on what is not working, what is negative, and how the other person is not taking care of us or acting in a way that we want.

So, what does it take to create an empowering, strong relationship?

People in long-term, satisfying relationships tend to do the following :

Slow, but Consistent – Relationships work the best when people go slow and take their time getting to know each other.  Relationships that are quick to ignite are usually quick to die or die in some sort of mess.  It also helps to be consistently supportive and encouraging.  Inconsistent behavior causes misunderstandings and lack of trust.

Keep Things Positive – Relationships work the best when partners express a positive and upbeat attitude towards each other.  See each other in their greatness and be positive.  Genuine displays of happiness and affection go a long way when trying to make a relationship work.  By contrast, relationships fail when indifference, anger and negativity become the norm.  In fact, even a little negativity can create a lot of problems in a close relationship.  This does not mean that people cannot express negative feelings in a relationship, but that there are appropriate (and inappropriate) ways of dealing with one’s negative feelings.  There are responsible ways of discussing problems that does not have the other person feel defensive, criticized or attacked.

Approach Problems as a Team – Couples feel closer and are more satisfied with their relationships when they approach problems and difficulties as a team.  Couples who take an US versus the PROBLEM, rather than a YOU versus ME approach to conflict are much happier in the long run.

Be Grateful – Over time, couples typically take each other for granted.  At the start of a relationship people appreciate all the things that their partners do for them.  However, as time goes on, people tend to expect more, but acknowledge a partner’s contributions less often.  To keep a relationship happy and healthy it is important to show appreciation on a consistent basis.

Appreciate & Respect Differences – Relationships work the best when partners have a lot in common, but respect and appreciate the differences that do exist.  It helps to appreciate someone for who they are rather than try to change them or how they behave.

Keep Things Exciting and Fun – It is easy for couples to get stuck in a rut.  Doing the same things over and over creates boredom.  Falling into a routine limits conversations and it can take the fun out of life.  Successful couples learn how to manage this dilemma by doing novel and exciting activities with each other as often as they can.  Sharing novel and exciting experiences gives couples something to talk about and it keeps romance alive.

Listen – People need to be able to talk freely with a romantic partner.  Sharing what is going on in one’s life and how one feels about issues is important to do.  But, being open with a partner is not always easy because it requires spouses to tell the truth and to LISTEN to things that may be difficult to hear.  Listening in an attempt to UNDERSTAND, not control, evaluate, or judge is critical to having an satisfying relationship.  Understanding means act as if you are flying to another country and your job is to get to know the language and norms like you don’t know anything.  No history or previous informaiton.

Express Commitment – Relationships work the best when partners express their love and commitment.  It never hurts to tell a spouse that you love him or her and that you will always be there.

Some relationship tips:

  1. Each week decide what you are committed to in your relationship for the week.
  2.  Then make a list of the things you will do to make that happen during the week.
  3. Create a list of things you have never done with your partner and do them 1 per month.
  4. Make a date and sit down and connect for  an hour once a week to connect and catch up
  5. Date each other
  6. Have each partner make a list of things he or she would like you to do and complete the list an item at a time
  7. End each day end in gratitude with your partner of all of the things the are for you or they do for you that you appreciate
  8. Read –The Five Languages of Love together and discuss each others’ love language

To your success,

DR Em SigFullSizeRender1