Need a few tips (guaranteed based in personal experience) to help take your relationship to the next level? You’ve come to the right place. Please keep reading.
1. Do something unexpected for your partner
This is such time-tested, invaluable advice I thought I should put it at the top of my list. How big the gesture is, or how small it is, doesn’t seem to make all that much difference. It works wonders either way because it’s the thought that is crucial in this step. And of course, the follow-through.
For example. Yesterday afternoon — as I was getting ready to leave home to conduct important business at the gym and the coffee shop – my wife asks: “Will you be going anywhere near the library?”
I was on it like a hawk. Questions like this are a no-brainer. “Is there something I could do for you dear?” I ask. JoAnn says there is a book waiting for her at the library and would I be able to pick it up. “Only if you have time,” she says.
Are you kidding? I love this woman. I made stopping at the library my first order of business. I got a parking ticket in the process, mind you (managed to talk myself out of it) but I came home with the book in my hands. A tangible beam of love passed between us that nourished both of us.
2. Keep your mouth shut when necessary
Oh dear. This is so hard to do sometimes. I admit it, I’m still working on this one. But there are times when for one reason or another JoAnn and I run into a difficult situation and the simple truth is she needs some space. A bit of time to herself to sort things out before she is ready to engage on whatever it is that has come up between us.
“Silence is golden,” someone once said. And it is true. There are times when not saying anything is the most constructive, creative thing you can possibly do to nurture your connection with another human being.
3. Don’t hold on to a misunderstanding or grudge
At the back of the townhome complex where JoAnn and I live is a creek. It’s like a mountain stream the way it bubbles and gurgles down from the Denver foothills (or wherever it comes from).
It’s a poor analogy perhaps. But I have often thought that a happy relationship – or a happy life come to that – is very like a mountain stream in some ways. If you run into a rock – a difficult patch – don’t let it stop you. Find a way to keep your relationship flowing around whatever seems to be in the way.
4. Be quick to change your mind
This brings me to one of the biggest secrets of a successful relationship. Be quick to change. Be willing to change. Don’t hang on to old self-images or old ideas or habits or prejudices. It not only makes you look old before your time, it deprives you of one of the greatest blessings of a relationship — the opportunity it gives us to grow and be a more accurate and fuller expression of our own unique self and potential.
You can be strong but still be humble. When your partner knows in her (or his) heart that this is true of you, you will indeed have a solid foundation beneath your feet.
5. A relationship must work for both people
Last, but not least — a relationship must obviously work for both partners.
How many relationships and marriages have failed or descended into misery or abuse because one partner or the other stepped into a dominant role? On the other and, how many relationships have prospered – have continued to grow and mature and become increasingly beautiful and meaningful – because care was taken to maintain an “equal” status that enabled each participant to express their own unique gift and potential?