1. Love is not Enough:
One of the biggest misconceptions is that love alone should make a relationship work. Love is the easy part, building strong partnerships--that’s where the work comes in and all parties involved have to stay committed to it.
2. Practice Self-Love and Self-Reflection:
No one else's love can fill the space in ourselves where self-love belongs and it is a constant work-in-progress. When one partner isn’t actively practicing self-love, it is energy draining for the other. If neither partners are practicing self-love—you’ll often find co-dependent, destructive relationships. These relationships tend to insatiably seek outside sources and substances for fulfillment.
3. Self-Love Starter Tips:
Sleep until you feel rested.
Eat and drink what nourishes you.
Drink more water than anything else.
Eliminate or limit chemical substances and negative influences that don’t serve your highest good.
Turn off the electronics, especially at night.
Go outside, stretch, move your body and play.
Create. Do what you love with the people you love.
Engage in activities that you are passionate about and give you purpose.
4. Get to Know Each Other in your Natural States:
Beware of replacing authentic connection with alcohol and other intoxicants. If you only enjoy the company of your partner when you're under the influence or when you both are, that's not sustainable. Try taking a month or longer to be clearheaded and not influenced by intoxicants to get a baseline of whether you really are compatible in your natural states. You'll develop a deeper, more honest and healthy relationship this way or you might realize that these substances were the only thing keeping you together and it might be best for you both to seek outside help or part ways. Be courageous enough to explore this.
5. Show Respect:
Make requests, not demands or threats. Say “please" and "thank you”.
Give each other the option to say “no” or compromise without holding a grudge or becoming volatile.
Listen to each other’s ideas and genuinely respect one another’s intellect and feelings.
Honor each other as equals and give each other space to learn, experiment, and grow.
Exchange knowledge with each other without being condescending.
Consult each other when making decisions that affect both of you.
Never speak ill of one another, especially behind their back.
6. Make Time:
Yes, life can get busy. But for any relationship to flourish, we have to spend quality time with each other. And when you’re spending quality time, be present! Put your phone down. Turn off the TV. Look at each other. Get a babysitter every once awhile. Remember why you choose to have this person in your life in the first place and remind them why they’d like to have you in theirs.
7. Look Out For Each Other’s Best Interest:
Without shaming or blaming, speak up if you feel like your partner is doing or saying something that is harmful to themselves or others. This is especially important when it comes to physical, mental, and spiritual health. We are not doing any favors for our loved ones by silently watching them inflict pain. And if your partner is harming you or someone you love—get help and/or get away. There is no shame in protecting yourself. You deserve to feel safe.
8. Share the Load:
Your partner is NOT YOUR SERVANT. Take equal shares of responsibilities. In living partnerships, when possible, split the bills and finances and take turns cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, child/pet care, doing dishes, taking out the trash, yard work, etc. or do them together. This is 2020, not 1920, “women’s work” and “men’s work” does not exist.
9. Be Open and Honest:
Passive aggression is low vibrational communication; there is no need to stoop to that level. Share thoughts, feelings, fears, fantasies, truths even when you know the other might not want to hear it. Be clear with what you need and feel about actions or inactions you are observing. If you want an exclusive relationship, say so. If you want to explore an open relationship, say that too. There are a variety of relationships that work, but they all require honesty. Don’t expect the other to know what you are thinking or feeling if you aren’t expressing it.
10. Show Affection:
Smile warmly. Look each other in the eyes. Give tender touches, kisses, hugs just for waking up, for coming home, before leaving home, before going to bed, or just for standing in the same room. Tell each other how much you appreciate them and why. Those little moments add up to be the biggest and most important elements of a relationship.
Encourage one another’s childlike curiosity and sense of play and wonderment. Start a pillow fight. Make funny faces. Go on spur of the moment dates/picnics. Play dress up. Playfully undress. Take morning or evening walks. Read to each other before bed. Play games, puzzles, crosswords. Make art. Make up weird songs or your own language. Experiment inside and outside the bedroom. Go on road trips. There is ALWAYS room for play, fun, dancing, and jokes and if you can’t find it, make that space!
We recommend both of the following books and trainings.
Don Miguel Ruiz’s, The 4 Agreements
A practice that embodies these 4 agreements is
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s, Non-Violent Communication