Relationships require effort. No joke huh. Real world relationships are certainly not as breezy as Disney movies would have us believe.
That being said, a successful relationship should not be ‘hard work’ either.
If it feels that way we probably need to make some adjustments on how we are showing up with our partner.
Love is meant to be fun, something that supports and nurtures us.
Our relationships should be like a launchpad from which we can go out into the world and explore then come home to when we need nourishment.
In order to create a successful ANYTHING, some effort is going to be required of you.
So how does one create a successful relationship, and how do you even measure that?
I guess the simplest measure for how successful your relationship is, is how you FEEL when you are with your partner. Sure, there are going to be times when your partner drives you crazy and they won’t feel good to be around at all, but overall you would hope that the person you are choosing to spend your time with gives you a feeling of safety, love and joy when you are in their presence.
If that is not the case, don’t worry, you don’t need to end your relationship (at least not yet). Instead, consider employing some or all of the following practices to help your relationship bloom:
1. Choose your partner
Be wise about who you choose in a partner and don’t ever settle. Be intentional about who you are deciding to spend this precious life with!
In the challenging moments remember why you chose them in the first place. This is so simple yet so powerful. Choose your partner, every day, in every moment.
2. Mind your expectations
We all hold expectations of people, and our closest partner is no different. In fact, we often hold very high expectations of our partners because they are meant to know us the best, right?
This is true but expectations are a breeding ground for resentment and misunderstandings. Communicate your needs instead. Check out this article for greater insight into this practice.
3. Don’t be mean
Relationships can be challenging. When we love someone and let them into our hearts we leave ourselves vulnerable to being hurt. This can make us show up with some pretty average and unconscious behaviour if we don’t keep an eye out.
Try your best to avoid yelling, swearing or making nasty personal comments to your partner. This kind of behaviour only puts cracks in the relationship and they can be very hard to mend.
We have all heard or read about how important communication is in a relationship. And truly it is the cornerstone of being able to grow in love together.
Communicate your feelings, your needs, even the painful and icky stuff. Don’t shut down or play the silent game. Don’t talk to others when you haven’t spoken to your partner first. Be brave and speak up.
5. Don’t keep score
Relationships are not a game of golf. That’s deep. But seriously, you cannot keep score in love. You are going to make mistakes. So is your partner.
Don’t keep a scorecard of who did what and when and certainly don’t keep bringing up stuff that happened hours, days, weeks, months or even years ago. This kind of tit for tat is toxic and only breeds anger and frustration.
6. Give each other room to BE
Space is a wonderful thing. When we love someone we tend to want to spend all of our time with them. This is a beautiful thing but can also be suffocating. Don’t forget to allow yourself and your partner the space to do the things that you love.
The more you take care of yourself and your needs, the better you will be at relating and being able to show up fully as a partner. Remember, those things your partner did regularly when you met were part of the reason you fell in love with them in the first place!
7. Choose Intimacy
Sex is important. Your sexual compatibility with your partner is a big deal. There is no right or wrong for what YOUR sex life looks like, as long as it is fulfilling for both parties. Talk about your sex life regularly.
Learn what your partner likes. Learn each others’ love language. Practice non-sexual intimacy too. Hold hands. Cuddle. Touch and contact is a fundamental human need, let your partner be the one who meets it for you.
8. Practice forgiveness
It’s such a bittersweet thing, love. When we love someone, they are going to hurt us. They may not do it on purpose but the nature of intimacy is that you will be wounded. You will also do some wounding. This is why forgiveness is so important.
Practice learning to forgive. Learn to apologise, the willingness to make up after an argument is integral to every successful relationship.
Creating a successful relationship is not easy, but with a little effort and a lot of love, it can be one of the greatest gifts you can experience. Do you have any practices that help your relationship to be healthy and happy? Share them in the comments!