August 22, 2008

10 Keys to an Awesome Relationship


Everybody wants to have a happy and successful relationship. We must remember that good relationships don’t just happen – after all, we’re not living in a fairy tale. We have to work at it.

Here are my 10 most important keys for relationship success:

1. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. We all know that men and women use different languages – learn to speak your partner’s language. Learn to listen – God gave us two ears and one mouth. Eliminate distractions so that you can focus on one another’s conversation.

2. Resolve conflicts or disagreements respectfully
It is a myth that happy couples never disagree. You are two unique people – of course you’ll think differently about things. Learn to resolve conflicts when you are calm and can think things through rationally. And always try to maintain the other person’s dignity and self-esteem. That means no name calling!

3. Have goals for your relationship
It is always a good idea to set goals together as a couple – whether 3-month, 6-month, 1-year or 5-year goals. And don’t be intimidated by the word goal. All we’re saying is that the two of you should agree on what you want from or out of your relationship. When you do this, it helps to keep both of you united with a common vision.

To give you an example, your goal this year might be to have more fun together as a couple. And how you’ll do that is to schedule two date nights every month and maybe take a fun class together, like a dance class. This is exactly what one of the couples I worked with last year did and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to go on and take their dance exams.

4. Stop keeping score
This is a biggie. A successful relationship is one where each party gives 100%, not 50-50. “I did this so you must do that” does not make for a happy time! We women are particularly good at keeping score and this can be really bad for our relationships because we give from a position of expectation instead of out of love.

5. Keep the romance alive
Get out of the habit of only taking about mundane things like if your phone account has been paid or who needs to collect the kids from ballet or soccer. Remember when you first fell in love? How you spoke for hours on end just staring at one another? Start flirting again – use SMS, email, phone, notes on pillows, etc. Have a specified date night at the very least once a month. Even if you only go to the Wimpy for a coffee, it will give you a chance to reconnect romantically.

6. Ensure that each other’s needs are met
Men and women have very different ideas of what is most important to them. I come across this in my coaching work all the time and it never ceases to amaze me. If you don’t know what your partner’s top five needs are, ask them! It will help you understand why they behave the way they do. Just to give you an idea of how needs differ, women usually rate security in their top three while men usually rate sex in their top three!

7. Decide to be happy rather than right
I know I’m going to tread on toes now BUT you need to continually ask yourself, do I want to be happy or right? Please understand that I’m not saying you should become a doormat. But sometimes you have to ask yourself this really hard question. You may win the argument but have you won in love? Learn to admit when you’re wrong and say sorry.

8. Focus on your partner’s strengths
Sometimes we forget why we fell in love. On my workshops and when I coach couples, one of the first things I make them do is write a list of things they love about their partner. I do this because when we take our eyes off the negatives, we start to appreciate our partner’s unique gifts and characteristics. When you’re focused on what a good father your husband is, it’s hard to keep remembering that he leaves the toilet seat up, or forgets to change the toilet roll.

9. Make time for fun
Notice I said “make time”. You have to schedule it because if you wait until you have time to do fun things, you’ll be waiting forever! Take the time out to laugh at silly things, go see romantic comedies, leave silly notes in his lunch box, in his car or on his pillow. My husband and I regularly flirt by email. It sounds like a small thing but it really does add a lot of fun to the day.

10. Say “I love you” often
Those three little words mean such a lot. Don’t assume that he/she knows it so you don’t have to say it. Don’t worry - you won’t wear the words out! Besides saying it, think of some other ways that you can show your love. For me, nothing says I love you like a clean kitchen sink! (In fact, I was quoted in Shape magazine recently for saying that a clean kitchen spells romance for me).

The good news is that you don’t need him or her to be a willing participant to see a difference in your relationship. Of course, it is nicer if both of you decide to change your relationship for the better.

Remember, you can do it! Here’s to your awesome relationship!

© Marcia Francois, http://takechargesolutions.org

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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Teresa

Suzanne said...

He he he, I LOVE the picture! You two look so cozy! :)

ClutterControlFreak said...

Great post, Marcia - My hubby and I do all these things. That's why we've been married 22 years!

:)Eva

HDMac said...

These are very good directives! :)

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