There are a number of critically significant areas in a relationship. If these areas become compromised, if you take them for granted, or ignore them altogether, trouble is on the way. If your relationship is failing, you need to examine this list. Here are the top-ten that should get you started toward saving a relationship you want.
Number One. Be the Person You Were at the Start.
Many people, once they are in a solid relationship, or marriage, decide that they can relax. After all, our partners love us for who we are, right? RIGHT. And who we are is/will be who we choose to become, right? WRONG!
People fall in love with their partners based on who their partner IS at that time. And, when a relationship is new and “blooming”, we always tend to put our best foot forward. We’ll do and be almost anything to please our prospective partner. We’ve all been there.
Once we have what we want (our partner falls in love with us), we tend to relax the standards a bit, or a lot. We don’t listen as much. We don’t do the little things we did before. We don’t pay attention. We gain weight and let ourselves go somewhat. If, when we began a relationship, we were thin, fit and trim, and energetic, and then we allow ourselves to get heavy, out of shape, and sedentary, our partners have every right to become disenchanted with us. We don’t dress as nicely for our partner. And on and on. We take the relationship for granted. Externally, we become someone else, and that someone may not be as attractive to our partner. Your partner fell in love with you as you were, and if you become someone else, there is no guarantee that their love will remain. Be the person you were at the start!
Number Two. Be a (CGUL) Committed, Genuine, Understanding Listener.
We are all aware that being able to listen is important. Duh. But how often do we practice what we know? Many relationships fail because one or the other (or BOTH) partners feel like they are not being heard. Yes, we may listen, but do we hear? Listening is truly an act of love and respect. You have to commit to listening, even perhaps when you’d rather do something else. Do it out of love. Be genuine. When your partner wants to talk, he/she is telling you that they respect your opinion, they want to hear your thoughts, they care enough to involve you, and they are seeking to be validated by you. To deny them this validation is to deny a basic need we ALL have. This applies even when the expression of their thoughts may be unpleasant – nobody likes yelling! That’s where understanding comes in. If your partner is angry, this is the time to understand, or do your level best to understand. Firing back equally angry words will get you – and your relationship – nowhere. Try to listen carefully. Try to put yourself in your partner’s place. What is really going on to create this problem.
Talk less and listen more. Be committed to it. Be genuine and sincere because you love your partner. Be understanding, the same way you would want to be listened to and understood.
Apologize to your partner for not listening the way you should have in the past, and tell them that you are committed to doing better. Listen and you shall be listened to, and, probably loved in return.
Number Three. Always be in the Courting Process.
Let’s face the truth – the “magic”, and newness of a relationship begins to fade – sometimes rapidly – after you’ve been together for a year or two, and sometimes even sooner. This is especially true after you get married. The “prize” has been won, and the perception that courtship is no longer necessary takes over. This is a huge mistake, and the good news is, it can be avoided.
Saving a relationship you want means you’ll have to commit to courting your partner forever. If that sounds like too much work, then you may need to examine your level of love for your partner. Whatever “work” must be done provides an enormously rewarding, happy payoff!
Do little things. Send a card. Write a little “I love you” note on a post-it and put it on the refrigerator. Buy flowers. Do a chose your partner hates doing. Compliment your partner. Schedule date nights and time for just the two of you. Do something your partner loves to do. Send a little loving text message. Do the things you did when you wanted to be with that person more than anything else!
Again, apologize for not seeming to care enough to do these things as you did before. And commit to being the courtier you once were!
Number Four. Be Honest and Gain Trust.
Honesty is so important, even when being so may seem like the wrong choice. I understand when those times come, as I have personally experienced them. The lesson I have learned? Regardless of your good intentions, and seeming circumstances that may say otherwise, ALWAYS be honest about everything. It is the only way to build and maintain trust. And trust once lost, is horribly difficult to regain. Saving a relationship you want requires a fresh, perhaps new commitment to be honest and trustworthy.
Number Five. Be Fun!
Laughter is the best medicine. That is a true statement. Life needs to be fun enough to create and maintain laughter. A partner you can’t have fun with is not the right partner for you. Be playful, and have fun. This is not to minimize difficulties or problems you may have. This is not to say you should ignore the other emotions in your life.
Find time to just have fun together. Don’t let jobs, sickness, financial woes, or anything else rob you of the laughter that comes with simply finding something that’s fun to do together, even if it’s only renting and watching a funny movie.
Laughter heals a number of hurts, and can make you appreciate and love the one you fell in love with all over again.
Number Six. Be Sexually Aware and Open.
The irony of this subject has always mystified people. Sex is probably the most satisfying, loving, pleasurable things in a relationship. And, it becomes the most troublesome (even boring) once a relationship matures. Sadly, it can get to the point where it feels like work to make love. This can cause sudden death to the best of relationships. Why does this happen? How can it be prevented?
It can happen for any number of reasons, as listed in 1,2, and 3 above. It can happen because of trust issues. For any number of reasons, we can become “closed” and unaware sexually. We form a lovemaking patter with our partners, and even though when it started it was fantastic, the same old routine can become boring and uninspiring. This happens in anything we do repetitiously.
Creating excitement in lovemaking isn’t that hard if you will allow yourself to be open to try new things. This takes communication with your partner. You both need to discuss your likes and dislikes, your desires, your fantasies, etc. This has to be done with complete honesty and openness, and requires trust with a capital T!
You don’t have to get kinky, but it’s fine if you do. Talking about sex, laughing about it, having fun will being a sense of trust and oneness. It will open up new ways of pleasing each other, and that will communicate love to one another.
Be aware of things when you make love. Think about your partner’s needs and pleasure before your own. You will be surprised at the way they will want to do the same. Don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions about what your partner wants. Getting those answers makes you a better lover.
This may be touchy and awkward at first, but work through it. It’s worth it!
Number Seven. Give Respect Before You Demand It.
What do you say about your partner when they are not around? How do you behave? We all want to be respected, but do we respect others? Do we deserve the respect we demand? In failing relationships, there is always a declining level of respect. Things get said and done that would never be considered when things were going well. REGARDLESS of what’s going on, no matter how bad things are, ALWAYS be respectful of your partner. Even if you feel they are undeserving. You will receive what you give out. Be a giver to be a receiver of respect. Let your words and behaviors be worthy of the respect you desire. And respect your partner’s right to have their own thoughts and feelings, and express them, even if they are the opposite of yours.
Number Eight. It’s All About the Money.
If you’re just beginning a relationship, or if you want to save one, financial discussion and planning in a REQUIREMENT, not an option. Many people shy away from talking about money for a wide variety of reasons, all of which are not sufficient.
Many, many marriages end in divorce over money, or more so for lack of it. You may not always be able to generate the income you feel you need or want, but you can sit down and figure out how to manage that which you have. Lack of money causes all sorts of stress, and stress leads to fighting and arguing.
If you are in financial trouble, seek professional help from a financial counselor. Go to the library and find books that can help a great deal. Google search for information that can help, but above all TALK to your partner about your situation. Don’t blame on or the other for not having a good enough job, or not making enough money. Accept where you are, and work with what you have. Communicate lovingly and address a problem before it destroys your relationship.
Number Nine. Family.
This is a huge issue, and I will try to be brief. Families can literally make or break a relationship. Parents, siblings, and children from a previous marriage can all have a powerful effect on how we relate to and treat our partners. I have experienced a set-daughter who promised to destroy a relationship. I have seen parents who exert so much pressure through guilt and manipulation that a relationship caves in from the intensity. The cliché goes that when we marry someone, we also marry their family. Well, we have a 50%+ divorce rate in this country (higher for 2nd, 3rd+ marriages), so how does that seem to be working out? I’m not saying that all divorce is caused by the interference of families, but I am not ignoring the fact that families can have a detrimental effect on our relationships. It’s up to US to decide how we allow our families to interact with our relationships, and how we react to their presence and influence.
A relationship is built on trust and faith. If your partner is always forced to be in second place to your family, it is only a matter of time before resentment rears its ugly head. Quickly thereafter, everything else begins to break down. If you want your relationship to last, there has to be a commitment and a clear understanding by all parties involved that your partner comes first, and everyone else, second. Not a distant second, but the line must be defined, understood, and accepted. If you can’t make that kind of commitment, you shouldn’t be in a relationship.
There is also the matter of raising children. You must both agree on how you raise your kids. A mixed approach will only lead to problems down the line. Discuss how you plan to raise your kids BEFORE you have them rather than make it up as you go along. Your relationship will be the better and stronger for it.
Number Ten. Move Forward and Upward Together. Be United.
If you don’t want to fall victim to the age-old cliché, “We just grew apart”, then you better do whatever you can to grow together. People grow because it’s required for emotional well-being and happiness. To remain stagnant is to move backwards.
A couple of tips:
Forget about your past. Put your past permanently in the past. Learn and let go.
Plan together, share your individual dreams, and design a mutual dream that includes parts of both.
Commit to each other. No matter what, you are going to stay together and make your relationship work.
Be the good, genuine, caring, understanding listener.
Be respectful and encouraging.
Be loving. Remember the person you fell in love with and love them as you did then.
Keep the “magic” in your relationship, and court each other always.
Communicate about everything in an open and honest manner.
These may seem like simple solutions, but if you actually following them, and practice them, you will be enjoying a great relationship. Saving a relationship you want does not have to be a complicated process. It’s more about common sense, and treating your partner as you yourself wish to be treated. Give and it shall be given unto you.