You’ve probably heard the joke about ‘having to get in the habit’ to be a monk, but in that moment of levity is a serious truth few people recognize.
The significant relationships in your life require commitment, discipline and loyalty if you want them to thrive. This is going all‑in, just as monks do when they devote their lives to their beliefs.
And while most of us would never consider spending our life in a religious order, there’s a lesson here.
A while back, on Guided Minds, this article illustrated 12 habits of happy couples. The truth was plainly stated: if you want a happy relationship, you have to work for it. No more fence-sitting.
And each of those 12 habits requires a decision, followed by action.
Message from Guided Mind: Heal any Relationship with the Help of this Guided Meditation album.
Here’s the detail you need to make those decisions and take those actions. You can start creating an amazing relationship today.
1. Aim to end all disagreements on the winning side.
If you’re determined you want a good relationship, you must fight for its right to thrive. That means the relationship must be the winner in any argument.
You ensure this happens by putting the relationship first.
- What does your partner value?
- What is the common ground you have?
We argue because we feel we aren’t being taken seriously, or because we feel our values don’t matter. How can you show your partner that those things do matter?
You might solve the next disagreement before it happens.
2. Schedule regular time with your partner’s mind.
You might work together; you might shower together; you might serve your community together. And yet **you might eat together every day and still feel disconnected, if you don’t schedule time to talk and reflect consistently about what’s important
More importantly, you need to schedule time to listen, with a goal of understanding your partner’s values. Not their goals; their values.
Your relationship will deepen as your understanding of its importance to your partner grows. And when your mind is connected, your body will often be connected too.
3. Be there to set up the targets.
When you understand what drives your partner...
- you can help them aim;
- you can help them focus;
- you can help them achieve.
But you won’t be on the same page if you haven’t taken time to understand why they seek the goals they do, and you won’t be able to really celebrate any successes, either.
Encourage your partner to keep aiming high, to fulfill themselves. Help them set up their targets.
4. Honor your partner’s values.
Make room for the things that matter to your partner, and have an expectation that this action will be mirrored.
Trust builds when we are allowed to be, and do, as our heart desires. An amazing relationship results when both partners give priority to each other’s values.
What could you do today, (for actions mean more than words), which demonstrates you understand that thing your partner values most?
5. Continually recommit to each other.
Some people keep a gratitude journal in which they record the blessings they’ve gained through their relationship.
You might do this, or meditate, or simply spend a few moments a day in reflection while doing something mundane.
Loyalty is a key aspect in any amazing relationship. There are many temptations to draw your attention and time and heart away, but you’ll stay committed if your values demand you do.
Have you demonstrated your commitment today?
Message from Guided Mind: Here's how to be more Grateful right now.
6. Put yourself first.
People will love and respect you to the extent you feel worthwhile. That feeling happens when you’re upholding values you consider important.
Give priority to achieving your goals and building your self-esteem. The quality of any relationship, and particularly the one with your partner, depends on how you view yourself.
Amazing relationships with others are built on the relationship you have with yourself.
7. Show belief in your partner.
Much of the time, and especially when your relationship is young, it feels like summer. You and your partner seem to agree on what’s important.
Life’s fun on sunny days.
But in the winter seasons that all relationships go through, your values get questioned when others have different priorities that impact you. But a relationship built strong in good times will support you when doubts and challenges threaten, if you trust it to do so.
How have you demonstrated your faith in your partner today?
8. Rejoice and celebrate your relationship’s advantages.
You’re in this together because... ?
If you continually keep in mind the uniqueness you have, there will be no driver to look elsewhere, staleness won’t develop into dislike and your love will grow.
Will you make a habit of doing this? Most people will not take time to do the small things. But small things continually repeated will change lives.
Imagine yourself in the future. If your relationship was still wonderful in 25 years, would the few minutes you spent today, to celebrate its advantages, have been a worthwhile investment?
9. Ensure your communication connects.
I’ve mentioned the importance of understanding your partner’s values. It’s also important to communicate your own.
I think the most successful relationships are ones where the partners really ‘get’ each other.
- How much, of your communication with your partner, is about something you want to get or don’t like or want to avoid?
- How much is about what you’d like to give? It’s this that strengthens and develops bonds.
10. Actively work to fix any fraying in your relationship fabric.
Improving your influence and effectiveness, in life generally, is usually more easily done by building your strengths than trying to fix your weaknesses.
But in a relationship, negatives can eat away at the bond between you like cancer. If your partner gets upset over a habit you have, such as lateness or inattention to detail, give their feelings some thought.
Detail does matter. This is where understanding your partner’s values will help you to see the things that are negatively impacting the space between you. Misunderstandings over what may seem to be minor things will escalate into big issues if not addressed.
Just fix them.
11. Be a certainty in our uncertain world.
- Do you know your partner’s preferred connection channels?
- Does your partner seem to crave touch, or thoughtful words?
We all want to be thought about, on some level, even if it’s only by having our workload eased a little. Reflect on the effort you make to be the rock in your partner’s life.
Even in a partnership where one leads most of the time, and the other follows, all have moments of struggle or vulnerability.
How can you hold more than 50% of the load today?
12. Understand that accepting reality brings strength.
Romantic ideals are the hopes that launch an adventure together. But the strength of any relationship is built on the attributes you both actually bring, not any that are imagined.
During the course of any average day you might experience doubts about many things; delight at an achievement; dismay at a failure; the discovery of something new. Some days might deliver all of these, plus other things.
You’re standing on supportive ground if you have a realistic image of your partner’s body, beliefs, fears, and fighting qualities. And when you do, you can genuinely celebrate good times together, and marshal your strengths against trying ones.
But it’s only possible if you unconditionally accept your partner, good and bad.
Do you have amazing relationships? Which decision and action would make the most difference to your principal relationship today?
Anthony is the author of Inspiration Language. Right now he lives on a small island in the Aegean, and writes about how people can use their values and dreams to make a difference in the lives of others.
His website is here: http://aretezen.com/blog