If you’ve ever wondered what steps can be taken to help repair and revitalize relationships, then you’ve come to the right place. After several years of counseling and coaching couples back to a healthy, happy and loving relationship here are my top tips for success in relationships.
1. Is There Love?
This is the first question to ask yourself. It’s a simple answer of either yes or no. Don’t make it any more complex than that. Yes, you might be pissed off at them, hurt, angry, scared or whatever but underneath that, is there still love. If not, then it’s probably time to move on.
Without a foundation of love, then all that’s left is staying with someone out of fear. Fear of being alone; fear of the unknown; fear of what others will think; fear of the future. It doesn’t matter what the fear is, the fact is it is still fear… And in life we either get to choose to live with love, or fear.
This is a question that can only be answered from your heart. If it comes from your head then it is not going to be right anyway because your head can go from love to hate in seconds depending on what’s going on. But your heart either has love for someone, or it doesn’t.
If you don’t know what’s in your heart towards your intimate partner, then this is the first thing you need to get in touch with. It may require that you give yourself some space for awhile to get in touch with your heart and feelings, especially if there is a layer of pain in the way.
2. Any Type of Abuse is Not Okay
If you are in an abusive relationship, or if it escalates to this level frequently or at all, then that is a deal breaker. It’s never okay for someone to be abusive towards you, or for you to tolerate it by trying to convince yourself that they didn’t mean it, or it will get better – it probably won’t.
Unless that person takes full responsibility for their aggressive and violent behavior, and actually takes steps to change it, then they are not sincere about doing something about it either. I have worked with many people who justify staying in abusive relationships because they were afraid of what would happen if they left.
This is often a very real threat and in some cases, especially for women, they need a tremendous amount of support to help them end the relationship without being further abused, or violently injured or worse. There are women’s shelters and groups of people that can help out in these instances.
The reality is though that it is never okay to settle for being abused in any relationship. Not from your lover, not from your friends, not from a family member, and not from workmates, or anyone at all. To do so is to reinforce that you don’t deserve to be treated with love and respect.
3. Get Help As Soon As You Recognize You Need It
As soon as you are aware that your relationship is in trouble, then swallow your pride and do something about it. Seek professional help before it’s too late. Once a certain amount of damage happens in a relationship, there’s typically no going back.
Seeking help is not a weakness. It is an acknowledgement by two people that they do not have the necessary skills or tools to be able to resolve their differences without the help of a third party that has no inverstment in either sides story abnd can see things from a more objective perspective.
Healing always happens as soon as responsibility starts to happen.
What I mean by this is that you accept and acknowledge full ownership over your contribution to where the relationship is at. Anything less is to stay stuck in the ‘blame’ game.
4. No Blame, No Shame, No Pain.
This is the real secret to happy and fulfilling relationships. Simply stop placing blame or accepting blame for what’s not working in the relationship. All blame does is remove you from any responsibility and then you both lose. The moment you stop the blame game, then healing can happen.
The other thing that is also crucial to a healthy relationships is to NEVER make your partner feel ashamed about who they are. This does psychological and emotional damage to a relationship, and creates a chasm of mistrust and resentment that can often never be overcome.
By shame, I mean putting others down or making them feel like they are not okay in some way. The only reason anyone ever put’s other’s down is because they have a need to feel superior, or right. It doesn’t matter which as the result is the same.
5. Do You Want To Be Right or Happy?
This is the most powerful way to heal any relationship challenges. Simple give up your need to be right, or to prove the other person wrong. What’s the point? All that does is strengthen the gap between you and means that you’re more concerned about ‘winning’ than creating peace and happiness.
It’s really simple to reverse this behavior. Just let your partner know that you understand where they are at and don’t try to make it better or worse in any way. It’s not your job to fix them, just the same as it’s not your job to continue to try and hurt them.
This means that you have to put aside your need to be right, or understood for the moment, and take the higher ground by letting the other person at least feel seen and heard. Just applying this strategy will help to immediately start to dissove any conflict that may be brewing.
I call this the power of ‘agreeing’. Even if they are calling you names and telling you what a loser you are, then instead of attacking back, put the fire out by saying, “You know, you might be right!”
The fact is they must think you are whatever they are calling you anyway, so by agreeing with their thoughts and feelings you are standing on their side of the street looking back at you – rather than looking in the opposite direction.
This is so incredibly powerful that it can instantly diffuse even the most heated of encounters.
6. Know Your Needs
At the core of any disagreement or unhappy relationship you will always find that one or both parties are not getting their needs met. This requires you to sit down together when you are in a calm place and one at a time let your partner know what your needs are and if they are willing to meet them.
If there are any needs that your partner is not willing to meet, and you are not willing to drop or change that need, then you will need to decide if you can be with someone that is unwilling or unable to meet one of your primary relationship needs.
- This can include things like:
- The needs to feel safe
- The need to feel valued and respected
- The need to be shown love
- The need to be accepted for who you are
- The need feel desired
- The need to feel that you are both close and care about each other
- The need to feel wanted and needed
- The need for honesty, trust and forgiveness
… Just to name a few.
7. Keep It Fresh
Last, but not least, treat each new day with your loved one as though it’s your first, and your last. Who know’s if you’ll both be with each other tomorrow because tomorrow is never a certainty.
When you wake up in the morning give thanks that they are in your life and think of at least 10 things that you love about them and are grateful for. Then, plan one thing you will do with or for them on this day that you have never done before.
When you look at them, look at the with the eyes of newness, as if you have never seen them before. Fall in love with them all over again, even if it’s just because of the way they smile, or anything at all that touches your heart.
Keep your heart open at all times and take at least 5 minutes each day to spend quality time with your partner where you just be together without any distraction. This can look like sitting opposite each other gazing into each other eyes; giving each other a sensual massage; going for a walk hand-in-hand along the beach; or anything at all that helps you to connect with each other physically and emotionally.
Most of all, remember that relationships are a privilege and not a right. Keep your relationship fresh and alive and learn how to quickly diffuse any tension that arise between you as this will help you both to not get stuck in negative patterns.
Intimate relationships are a very special part of life and are meant to be enjoyed and rejoiced, and not look like two countries at war. The only war that ever happens is the one inside you. If you have peace and joy in your heart, then you will have a peaceful and joyous relationship – it really is that simple.