How’s your relationship? How’s everything else?
Peculiar questions perhaps particularly since I don’t often write on ‘relationships’… and considering I’ll be the first to admit I’m no Dr. Phil by any stretch! (Believe me! )
With that said, there is a reason I was inspired to write this post actually: As you might recall from my post from a few days ago, I explained how for a few days, I decided to let my hair down and have some fun rather than focus on work.
While at our ‘getaway’ I didn’t have much luck connecting to the internet, so instead I decided to take the opportunity to listen to come of the CD’s, which are part of the personal and prosperity program which happens to be part of my primary business.
When I listened to the segment of the program discussing the importance of a strong relationship, (referring to ‘personal’ relationships, not business) some of the basic common sense suggestions resonated with me differently this time around than they did in the past.
What’s funny is I have gone through all parts of the program many times before, but this time I picked up on some details that hit me square between the eyes as though for the first time. Peculiar, I know … but sometimes things just happen that way!
I can’t say there is a particular reason for this to be honest as my current long term relationship is solid, but what I will say is I sure wish I had gone through this program (and had it sink in) years ago before my before my first marriage went down the proverbial swanny!
Because this section of the program is so in depth, I will just pull out a few key elements as I’m sure most of you will benefit and appreciate in one way or another from the few lessons taught.
What I realized is that almost everybody can always find ways to improve on their relationships, (even if they are healthy) whether they’d be willing to admit it or not.
In other words, these tips are not solely for those who are in need of relationship improvement, there are enough great yet simple tips to improve even when things are going well.
I also found it interesting to realize that the condition of your relationship impacts all aspects of your life
I had never thought about it that way before, but just think about it for a moment: if your partnership is less than optimal, there is a good chance other aspects of your life are in the same boat. for example: problems at home, more often than not, result in the deterioration of job performance; Outlook on life is affected, energy levels can sink to an all time low and life can feel pretty much flat.
A healthy relationship on the other hand can do miraculous things to your well being: Your outlook is bright and positive, little things don’t get you down, you feel supported, enthusiastic and have more energy and your sense of self esteem is elevated.
I guess that’s why they say that a healthy relationship = power and that “love” is the highest vibrational state.
I found it interesting also to hear that according to a study; a strong relationship, when measured against a financial equivalent is equal to $115,000.00 pay raise, while a painful divorce has the emotional equivalent to over $200,000 loss. That’s because ‘bonded and connected couples cruise through life and do much better together as an in sync unit.
WOW to me that’s pretty powerful, and to be honest I totally ‘get’ that and based on personal experience it doesn’t surprise me at all.
So what can you do improve your relationship?
Well the first step in the right direction is to prioritize. Place your relationship first above all, including work. So often in this day and age, people find themselves in such a trap that work and financial matters come before everything else.
We tend to get so busy and focus on getting through each day that without realizing it, many a time take our partners for granted.
We don’t always look at one and other when talking; we seldom hold hands or spend quality time together. We don’t laugh enough and sometimes don’t listen or even ‘hear’ each other the way we should when conversing.
We forget about all the nice things we did for one and other in the beginning and simply get too comfortable ‘existing’ to the point the excitement wears off and our vision becomes blurred.
We stop seeing our partners for who they are and forget all the wonderful things we saw in one and other when we met.
What’s worse is most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing these things. In other words, we may ‘get along’ just fine and live a friction-free life… but our routine habits do little to actually nurture of strengthen our relationships.
Furthermore, we sometimes start to let small things irritate us, like not putting socks in the hamper or squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle instead of the bottom.
We bicker about daft things without thinking about it and let these silly idiosyncrasies build up to become festering focal points of irritation.
At the end of the day allowing ourselves to sweat the small stuff instead of what really matters affects everything from finances to health and moral. (And for what?)
When in this state, we can also tend to lose the ability to communicate to a certain degree, and often the things we say to each other seem or sound confrontational instead of conversational.
Arguments start over meaningless things, and at the end of the day often boil down to ‘defensive’ arguments rather than things that hold any weight.
What I found particularly obvious and interesting is the fact that when these ‘defensive’ arguments occur, more often than not, we’re not even arguing to be right… but most of the time we are truing not to be ‘wrong’ simply because that’s how we’ve been made to feel.
I know this to be true. I’ve seen it in relationships of my friends and family… and sadly in many ways in my first marriage.
I’m not saying we all live in a ‘loud and harsh’ environment, I’m merely talking about ‘silly bickering’ and how it’s common for it to become habit.
I’ll be the first to admit that my own divorce had traces of these issues. I also know it could have been prevented very easily if we’d have taken our blinders off to just a few of these simple truths.
Problem was, we lost the ‘glue’ and in some ways the respect for one and other. Ultimately we no longer saw one and other for the great people we were/are and in essence we took each other for granted.
Without really recognizing it at the time, we let things fester and lost the ability to communicate ‘kindly’. Instead we were so busy all the time that we spoke while “in motion” instead of taking the time to sit down to communicate properly and express our feelings with kindness.
We no longer spoke to one and other, instead we spoke AT each other and at the end of the day the spark and ‘butterflies’ that used to exist had dwindled and died and become a distant memory.
It’s a shame indeed and unfortunately I know it happens all the time.
How sad it is, that it’s so easy to avoid these situations if we are just willing to take the time to recognize them. Sadly, so very often we don’t.
So what can your do to rebuild a strong relationship?
The first things you have to do is develop yourself. It’s absolutely necessary to fix your own insides before you can even think about fixing anyone else.
I’m not saying you’re a bad person if things have slipped or the spark has faded. Usually it’s the stresses of staying behind the eight ball and keeping up with the almighty routine treadmill that numbs us to what is actually happening.
The bottom line is we fall into the trap of feeling there is no time to take the time needed to ensure a strong relationship needs to stay afloat.
Once we realize this and become open to making the changes within ourselves first, we can then start to lead by example.
It’s amazing how developing a new attitude and positive mindset towards the relationship will create the desire to rebuilt, tweak or just strengthen, and even more so how it is so easily picked up on and recognized by our partners as well. When they notice changes, they follow suit.
Furthermore, once we put effort back into communication ‘gently’ and not speaking to each other in a ‘blaming’ tone, the walls and barriers start to come down and things become much easier easy and relaxed.
You find that when positive energy is poured into the relationship and for the sole sake of it, it’s definitely contagious.
If you are serious about making some changes to really focus on improving your relationship, it might be a nice idea to share your thoughts and plans with your partner so he/she knows you are committed to making things even better!
***Another neat suggestion I thought was a lovely exercise is to quietly observe your partner from a distance when out in a public setting.
Sit back and watch them interact with friends, family, etc and think back to what first attracted you to them. Take yourself back in your mind as though you were seeing them for the first time and remember how you felt.
Usually you will realize they are still the same person’ and while I do believe people ‘change’ you can look at that change as growth… but still pay close attention to the heart of your partner as it’s likely still the same as it always has been.
If you consciously put effort into seeing the ‘good’ in one and other instead of being quick to pick up on the tiny irritations as we often do, it’s good things happen!
Another suggestion would be to sit down and make a list of everything wonderful about your partner. Then focus on those and not the things that can so easily bug us.
Now I know there are only two ways you could be taking this post.
You may be reading it and thinking “oh gosh, yea…. I guess we do take each other for granted…. Hmm… didn’t realize it…”
Or “Oh, naw, our relationship is great, this post isn’t for us”…
If you are thinking the latter … huge congratulations, keep it up for sure… but if down the road things start to slide every so slightly, do me a favour and think back to this post.
The unfortunate reality is the Divorce rate hovers well above 50% and it’s climbing and like it or not things can just ‘happen’ out of nowhere if we don’t place our focus on nurturing our relationships on an ongoing basis.
What I mean is that even if you are happily married, sadly, you still you have a 50% chance of things going sideways if you don’t stay on top of things.
I for one can assure you that I never ever thought my marriage would end in divorce and furthermore, I’m not only convinced, … I KNOW that the main reason for our failure was because we overlooked these simple pointers, didn’t take the time for one and other, got so wrapped up in our business and fast paced lifestyle that somehow we both got lost somewhere along the line.
You might also be reading this as a happily married person… (For the second time… or more) which means you are already a statistic and likely concur with what I’ve written here. Its funny how we often learn to do things correctly the ‘second’ time around!
The bottom line is the grass is not always greener on the other side so if you have a good partner, look after them!
It’s also important to ignore when people say that the honeymoon eventually comes to an end. The truth is it doesn’t have to.
In my opinion if you take the time to respect your partner and always focus on communication and compromise, the flame doesn’t have to go out.
There are SO many benefits to maintaining a strong relationship; in fact even the degree of success we achieve is often linked to the condition of our home life.
It has been said that couples who are bonded and connected always achieve more and get further in life than those who go it alone or have dis-connected or dysfunctional partnerships.
Feeling supported elevates our feeling of self worth and personal confidence which in turn pumps our motivation and mindset and ambition.
It’s very comforting to be on a team with someone who worships you, supports you and has always got your back so it makes sense in more ways than one to nurture the relationship to keep it in its optimal state!
Here’s a recap on how to build and maintain a strong relationship:
Take the time to sit down and listen ‘carefully’ and ‘thoughtfully’ to the words being spoken by your partner all the time; don’t assume what they mean, listen openly instead.
Speak to and not AT your partner.
Look at one and other when you communicate. (In the eye!)
Spend some quality time every day and try to have a date once per week, even if only dinner and a glass of wine in the back yard!
Joke and have a laugh!
Smile at each other.
Hug for no reason.
Remember all the wonderful things you saw when you first met. Don’t forget the same person still exists even if you’ve been together for a long time.
Praise each other often. Verbalize your thoughts to let your husband/wife/partner, kids, friends and family know how wonderful and special they are. After all it’s no good just “thinking” it; it does so much good to share it.
Look for the good, not the irritating. We can all find things that irritate us if we want to. Why bother? We are who we are and if the ‘irritation’ needs addressing, pause, think it through, and find a ways to suggest or discuss the issue nicely, not ‘blame’ cruelly.
Acknowledge random achievements and show gratitude and support. (Regardless of how small or big)
Tell your partner of your intentions to make these small changes and see if they are willing to get on board. (I’ll bet they’ll be more than happy to and quite impressed by your efforts!)
Making time to bond even for a few minutes per day makes a huge difference in staying connected.
Why not try something similar yourself. Implementing these suggestions is not difficult at all; in fact they are so pleasant and easy to do. I’d be willing to bet the changes you will notice in one month’s time would be quite uncanny
Give it a try there’s nothing to lose here, after all, don’t you think there are more benefits to a strong relationship than not?
If you are interested in learning simple ways to improve on your relationships, mindset and lifestyle, contact me at any time.