When you ask people whether they want more love or less, invariably they say, “more love.” Love and connection are the biggest factors that draw people close, but are they the biggest factors that keep people together?
Communication, genuine compatibility and being able to express freely, all help make your relationship work. Here are 8 keys that will help with your new partner, or to get things running smoothly in a challenging relationship.
1. Say Thank You Every Day
Little acts of gratitude are big for the heart. Men and women want to be appreciated. What you appreciate grows in value. What you are slack on depreciates in value. Look at which of your relationships have the most difficulty right now, are these the ones where you are the least grateful?
Take your time when evaluating the potential of a new partner. Compatibility early on in your relationship will likely be very high. For the first month you will both be putting your best foot forward, showing only desired qualities.
After 6 months together (around 800 hours), you will have seen each other’s best and worst traits a few times. This is great. You want an accurate picture of what this person is going to be like when times are tough, not just when its easy.
3. Stick To Your Guns
In a loving, caring relationship each person is allowed the freedom to do what they want. If you have something you love, don’t give it up for your partner. When we give things up that are meaningful, we end up resenting the person we gave it up for.
In my relationship, I request that she keeps doing things that are important to her, even if I don’t always like it. If she changes for me, she will leave me. The purpose of a relationship is to work together, towards mutual fulfillment of goals and dreams. This can’t be done when we give up what we love.
4. Have Your First Relationship Meeting
Dedicate a time this week to have your first relationship meeting. The purpose of this is to ‘create agreements’ on the most important issues you have. These could be about the running of the house, raising children, money issues, sex, or just about anything.
To have a successful relationship meeting, keep it 90% positive. This is a time to express what you want. If for example you are saying, “I hate the way you always nag at me about money,” change that to, “let’s find an agreement on how much to spend outside the normal budget.”
5. Agreements Not Compromise
A compromise is where one, or both of you give something up. An agreement is when both of you win (or at least mostly win). When coming up with agreements, do it in a way where both of you are inspired by the outcome. Keep generating ideas until one of them meets both your needs.
When you have your meeting get separate sheets of paper and brainstorm ideas. Work towards what you do want. A friend of mine had a relationship meeting about sex, to his surprise she actually wants the same amount as him! Now they are inspired to work on this.
“Agreements are not possible when one person is losing. Separation is more likely.”
6. Share Yourself.
Openly share your likes and dislikes. This opens the door for your needs to be met more often. If you like something; in the bedroom, the kitchen, or have other interests, tell your partner. By guessing what you like, they stand little chance of getting it right.
Resentment comes when we aren’t getting our needs met. At it’s worst, we are resentful to another person for not meeting needs – they don’t even know about! The more you share what you want, the more likely you are to get it.
7. Practice Radical Listening
Radical listening is a version of listening where you do one thing. Listen very closely.
i) Listen without interrupting. ii) Let her/him express what’s on their mind. iii) Repeat back what they said. iv) Try not to take it personally. If you are a problem solving kind of guy like me, ask, “would you like any feedback on that?” Be totally okay for them to say no.
Being understanding is a powerful way to create intimacy, in any relationship. Getting truly heard can be a new experience for many people. Be a ‘radical listener’ and request that you be heard on what’s important to you too.
8. Avoid Contempt In Communication
Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couple studies, concluded after over twenty years of research that the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship.
Contempt can be expressed via negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual. It comes across as being “tough on the person” and “soft on the issue.”
This is huge when effectively communicating with your partner. Know how to separate the person, from the issue (or behavior). Be soft on the person and firm on the issue. Avoid getting personal and stick to the facts.
Ask yourself the following: Does your partner’s communication lift you up? Does your communication lift your partner up? Are you too firm on the person? Are you soft on dealing with the issues?
Jeremy Walker’s background is in Hypnotherapy. He created the WARP (Walker Addiction Removal Process) and is located in Brisbane QLD. Confidential appointments are available for quitting smoking, weight loss and anxiety related issues. Jeremy enjoys nothing more than seeing others make a positive shift!