Love and You: Top 10 Tips for Loving Relationships

You asked for them; here they are….

These indispensable tips were written with romantic relationships in mind, but with a little modification you can apply them to your friendships, family and even work relationships.

1. Create a safe environment where you can trust and share openly without being afraid.
This means: don’t interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself. Learn to fight fairly. No name-calling. Don’t make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you’re too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe, and “calm down.” Remember: your partner is not the enemy.

2. Separate the facts from the feelings.
What beliefs and feelings get triggered in you during conflicts. Ask yourself: Is there something from my past that is influencing how I’m seeing the situation now? The critical question you want to ask: Is this about him or her, or is it really about me? What’s the real truth? Once you’re able to differentiate facts from feelings, you’ll see your partner more clearly and be able to resolve conflicts from clarity.

3. Connect with the different parts of yourself.
Each of us is not a solo instrument. We’re more like a choir or an orchestra with several voices. What is your mind saying? What is your heart is saying? What is your body saying? What is your ‘gut’ saying? For example: “My mind is saying ‘definitely leave her,” but my heart says ‘I really love her.’ Let these different voices or parts of you co-exist and speak to one another. In this way, you will find an answer that comes from your whole self.

4. Develop Compassion.
Practice observing yourself and your partner without judging. Part of you might judge, but you don’t have to identify with it. Judging closes a door. The opposite of judging is compassion. When you are compassionate, you are open, connected, and more available to dialoging respectfully with your partner. As you increasingly learn to see your partner compassionately, you will have more power to choose your response rather than just reacting.

5. Create a “we” that can house two “I’s.”
The foundation for a thriving, growing, mutually-supportive relationship is to be separate and connected. In co-dependent relationships, each person sacrifices part of him or herself, compromising the relationship as a whole. When you are separate and connected, each individual “I” contributes to the creation of a “we” that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

6. Partner, heal thyself.
Don’t expect your partner to fill your emotional holes, and don’t try to fill theirs. Ultimately, each of us can only heal ourselves. Your partner, however, can be supportive as you work with yourself, and vice versa. In fact, living in a loving relationship is healing in and of itself.

7. Relish the differences between you.
The differences between you and your partner are not negatives. You don’t need to be with someone who shares all of your interests and views. We may sometimes fear that these differences are incompatibilities, but in fact, they’re often what keeps a relationship exciting and full of “good fire.”

8. Ask Questions.
All too often, we make up our own stories or interpretations about what our partners’ behavior means. For example: “She doesn’t want to cuddle; she must not really love me anymore.” We can never err on the side of asking too many questions, and then listen to the answers from your whole self—heart, gut, mind and body. Equally important is to hear what’s not being said— the facts and feeling that you sense might be unspoken.

9. Make time for your relationship.
No matter who you are or what your work is, you need to nurture your relationship. Make sure you schedule time for the well-being of your relationship. That includes making “playdates” and also taking downtime together. Like a garden, the more you tend to your relationship, the more it will grow.

10. Say the “Hard Things” from Love.
Become aware of the hard things that you’re not talking about. How does that feel? No matter what you’re feeling in a situation, channel the energy of your emotions so that you say what you need to say in a constructive manner.

An extra tip for you:
Make a regular appointment to share appreciations and resentments on a regular basis. Be concrete. For example: “Last Thursday night, when I asked you to take out the garbage, you made a face and once again avoided doing it.” Think of this like cleaning the gutters, as well as planting new seeds.

Your tip:
Do you have a great relationship tip of your own? If so, please share it with me. I look forward to reading your comments here on the blog.

There you have it. Be kind to yourselves. Remember: change takes time and every step counts.



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6 responses to “Love and You: Top 10 Tips for Loving Relationships

  1. Rivkeleh

    Have your partner’s back. If you’re in a public situation where your partner has made a command decision, and if you have trust for your partner’s ability to make a well-reasoned decision, back them up. You can discuss your misgivings once you’re off the stage, or ask for additional information.

  2. I would go even farther-or use an additional technique-on points 2, 3 and 6. I would use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), readily self taught through the internet and videos, to de-sensitize one’s self to issues around the argument, to connect to and again de-sensitize areas easily triggered that are lingering from past hurts, and to heal one’s self rather than expecting one’s partner to fill the need for healing in specific areas.

  3. Assume goodwill. In other word, if some conflict arises, always assume that it originated from a misunderstanding on somebody’s part, rather than out of any desire to be unkind. 99.9% of all conflict begins with some kind of misunderstanding.

    Use ‘I messages’. “When you said I was overweight I felt sad, because I’ve tried so hard to lose weight lately” (rather than accusatory/retaliatory ones like “How dare you tell me I’m fat? You should look in the mirror some time!)

    Read J and M Paul’s marvellous book ‘Do I Have to Give Up Me to be Loved by You’ and Sharon Eliis’s ‘Taking the War out of Our Words’.

    And for a deeper understanding of what intimate relationships are really all about, read this amazing article by John Welwood:

  4. Emotional truth doesn’t have to make sense – if it’s a concern for both, it’s “real” enough. Often expression is all it needs. Think about what you want, rather than focusing on what you don’t want. Imagine what you can do that will bring the positive thing about. Go farther than assuming goodwill – assume love. Teasing can be done playfully, but contempt is a killer.

    But don’t let the negative fears and worries run the entire relationship. A relationship needs vision and positive hope to survive the long haul. One person having to be “pleasing” another will eventually become a battle of control. An interesting virtual question: who gets who’s way, who doesn’t and how long do they wait to get what they want/need – and does it ever happen? Everyone should get what they need; a little a the right time is worth more than a lot of effort too late.

    Accept responsibility for joint decisions and refuse to play the blame game. Stand on the same side of a problem in parallel thinking, as a team effort. Apply different points of view at the same time – together. If one solution doesn’t work, try another until you get an agreement that is working for all. Apply the same standards in tacit agreements to each other. Negotiation of tacit agreements become fun as you realize it’s a way to communicate.

  5. Lynda Klau

    I appreciate your comments and references and tools.
    Love is a topics we are all learning about and how good!


  6. Just a few tiny thoughts on this subject.
    How To Please A Woman From A Male’s Perspective

    I know I probably want get many men to agree with me after reading this little discourse, if they read it at all. First of all, there are no seductive pictures or ads for male sexual enhancement product. Sorry guys.

    Now I’m sure many ladies reading this ebook are nodding their heads right now and saying, “OMG,it’s about time!” There should be a deep fulfillment that comes from knowing you are truly pleasing the woman you care about.

    Now lesson up!

    Ah, What a Thought, and a Feeling.

    To know that as a man you spoil, spellbound, impact, impart, saturate, and permeate,
    amour, woos, and loves your women.

    Hold the door, slide the chair, zip the dress, massage the feet, rub the back,
    listen to her, lay her on satin sheets to hold her (without having sex) they sometimes
    like that you know. And anything else your mind can think of.

    Let me take you a little deeper into the water…

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