12 Keys to a Successful Relationship

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1. Make friendship your number one priority. When you choose friendship with each other it’s easier to navigate through the tough times in your relationship. Get to know each other’s likes dislikes, wishes, dreams, hopes, values. Make a conscious decision to focus on the good qualities of your partner as this will grow your intimacy.

2. View challenges life brings from your wise self. Relationships like individuals go through different stages and challenges that two people must overcome to stay together. Challenges come from the outside world and/or inside oneself. When you see all problems and challenges in your relationship as an opportunity for your growth, your view of the issue takes on a new meaning. Asking “what am I to learn from this?” “What does this situation require of me?” will create openness within yourself to see the challenge as a potential to access the qualities of your personality you wish to embody, e.g. respect, tolerance, compassion etc.

3. Acceptance of yourself, your partner, life. When you can let go of resistance and relax into your life, you will notice that things will improve for you. Acceptance means the ability to tolerate a difficult situation. This does not mean you have to like it, just come to terms with it and let go of the resistance to it. When you accept yourself in the fullness of your experience you build your tolerance muscles and relax more to create an open space within. In this open space, new potential and creative ideas will emerge that you had not thought about before because of the old familiar reaction to issues.

4. Forgive yourself and your partner often. Forgiveness keeps the heart open to experience more love in your life. When you hold on to the past, your heart closes and you cannot move forward to embrace what your heart truly desires. In forgiveness you are invited to surrender the past. When you hold on to the past, you are reliving it and its stealing you of your present and future life – your happiness, peace, joy etc.

5. Honour the differences. There are some things that your partner may never change. When you see your partner as someone different to you, with different personality traits, you can learn to accept him/her as a unique person with unique qualities. Remember that everyone has strengths and weaknesses just as you do. Contemplate on your partner’s strengths often and watch your heart open. Contemplate on your strengths too as these may be complementary.

6. Focus on the qualities you admire about your partner. When you focus only on what’s not right in your partner, distance and conflict grows. Shift your focus towards the good things you notice and express these often. As you train your mind towards this new awareness, you will notice more good things and tolerate the things that irritate you about your partner. Remind yourself of the value your partner brings into your life. The value you bring to each other’s lives.

7. Respectfully communicate the effect your partner’s behaviour has on you. When you need to communicate what you need or something you are not happy with begin with a soft start up. Using ‘I’ statements, stating how you feel, what you see and the effect this has on you. Avoid blame and criticism as this causes your partner to become defensive. The intention is not to change your partner but to raise their awareness at the effect the issue has on you and the relationship. When you do this with an open heart your partner is more likely to listen because they feel safe.

8. Spend time alone to self soothe and connect with yourself. After a conflict, spend some time alone to calm down and understand and process how you are feeling and what limiting negative beliefs have been triggered and are reoccurring. Find tools that will bring you into balance (e.g. breathing, walking, writing, drawing), then proceed to speculate how your partner may be feeling as well. Remember that your partner has also been triggered by you even if you think you are right – there are always two sides to a conflict – then reconnect as soon as possible with your partner.

9. Reconnect as soon as practical for both of you. This is the healthiest option as the goal is to stay connected in your heart and mind. The longer you stay disconnected from each other, the more pain you will experience from the temporary disconnection. Reconnecting does not mean you are giving in to your partner, instead you are choosing the relationship over the argument.

10. Prioritize the relationship over being right. It’s only the ego that wants to be right. When one partner is right and the other is wrong, you both lose. When you agree that the relationship is more important, you see your partner with your heart open and not from your ego mind, and you are on your way to a healthier relationship and a healthier you. Saying you’re sorry is not a sign of weakness nor is it an admission that you’re wrong – you’re saying sorry to your partner for feeling upset, hurt, angry. “I am sorry you are feeling…” is a bridge to reconnect.

11. Practice loving kindness every day. It all begins with your intention. When you hold a loving intention about your life, relationship, partner, it will invoke feelings of compassion, gratitude, affection, respect, and these will be reflected in your actions. Choose these feelings for you to experience them and then others will receive from your experience because you express what you feel. Whatever feelings you wish to experience create that intention so that your relationship can be enriched.

12. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner. Vulnerability is the part of us that is precious, tender and gentle, and we often keep it well hidden. Some of us keep it hidden from ourselves as well because we judge that part as weak, however it is this vulnerable part that we need to uncover and express to deepen and grow in a relationship. When you allow yourself to communicate from your vulnerable place, you are inviting your partner in behind the barriers and walls to create more intimacy and fulfillment in your relationship .

To establish a deeper and more regular practice please read the 7 Steps to Inner Connection.

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