I stumbled upon an article from Psychology Today titled 10 Basic Truths About Keeping You Relationship Healthy and as I was reading it I felt that it needed to be expanded upon. (Although the 10 basic truths they list are all very true.) So I decided that I would share my ideas on how to go about practicing these in your own relationship.

1. Successful relationships take work. They don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur when the couples in them take the risk of sharing what it is that’s going on in their hearts and heads.

  • Ladies this does not mean talking your spouses ear off with all the happenings of your day. He loves you but doesn’t care that you didn’t like the color of your dr. office’s waiting room.
  • Share the important things, good or bad, and discus them with an open heart and mind. A closed mind has no room in a working relationship.

2. You can only change yourself, not your partner. If you love someone and think that after a while he or she will alter behaviors you find uncomfortable, think again. If you want changes, put them on the table, so your partner knows what you need.

  • This is a huge new relationship misconception. And also one of the many reasons why I am wholeheartedly in favor of living together before you are married.
  • We can not change people they can only change themselves. If you are hoping that your spouse will stop leaving their clothes all over the floor because you nag them three times a day you are in for a rude awakening. You may have to learn how to deal with things that get under your skin.
  • If the issue is bigger then where the dirty clothes fall then there is a discussion or five to be had but don’t expect your words alone to do the trick.
  • Remember that you are living with your spouse not a child. You can’t just tell them what to do and expect obedience.

3. All arguments stem from our own fear or pain. When upset occurs, check out what’s going on inside you rather than getting angry with your partner. Truth is that we usually aren’t upset for the reasons we think we are.

  • I don’t know that I agree with this completely. I think that a lot of arguments between couples stem from not being able to let the little things go. If I am ticked-off that I have tripped over my husbands shoes three times (and they are not small shoes) I may pick a fight about it but I don’t think that comes from my own fear or pain. It is my problem though. If I can’t get past the fact that he isn’t moving something as quickly as I think he should be then I should shut my mouth and do it myself of just shut my mouth! HA!
  • I also think that it is very unreasonable to think that you are going to spend the rest of your adult life with another human being and not get into arguments from time to time.
  • Don’t people please in your relationship!

4. Understand that men and women are very different. We’re not from Mars or Venus; we’re not even in the same solar system. Understanding and celebrating our differences will make living together more peaceful, interesting and fun.

  • This is huge and I don’t really have much more to say about it except DO NOT assume that your better half knows what you are thinking. Unless you are living with a psychic (right!) you better speak up!
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh together at yourself! Neither one of you are perfect!

5. Honor each other in some way every day. Every morning, you have the opportunity to make your relationship sweeter and deeper by recommitting to your mate. Feeling respected and cherished by the one you love makes life much nicer.

  • Choose everyday to take part in your relationship. A quick text out of the blue or a favorite meal on the table is a great way to let your love know that you cherish them and you are paying attention.

6. Anger is a waste of time. Anger also is a relationship killer because it makes you self-absorbed and won’t allow you to see the good. If you are annoyed with your mate, give yourself some time to calm down and then gently discuss what’s going on for you.

  • This needs a little clarification. Anger that is not expressed but rather held inside is a relationship killer.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.

7. Get regular tune-ups. Go to a couples workshop, talk with a counselor or read a relationship book together at least once a year. Even if you don’t think that you need ideas, and the process alone will strengthen your connection.

  • You have to find what works for you. For us getting away for a weekend every six months is our tune-up time.
  • Disconnecting from your everyday routine and really talking to each other are both great ways to restrengthen your bond.
  • Even just reading an article on relationships and discussing where you both agree or disagree with the author or one another can bring on a very enlightening conversation.

8. Find a way to become and stay best friends. For some, this sounds unromantic, but for those who live it, most say it’s the best part of their time together.

  • As far as I’m concerned this is #1. You have to like each other or you are doomed!
  • A great way to do this is to learn together. Take a cooking class or go to a museum. Find something that you have in common and learn more about it. In my relationship it’s history! We love to learn more about history. Washington D.C. is a great place to play and learn together (and you will walk a few miles too! So much time to chat!).

9. Be responsible for your own happiness. No other person can make you happy. It’s something that you have to do on your own. If you feel that it’s your partner’s fault, think again, and look within to find out what piece may be missing for you.

  • This is a very common relationship issue. We look to our partner for our happiness and it is a huge mistake.
  • Looking to your partner for your happiness means that your anger will grow out of control each time you get a little annoyed and it will become unmanageable and that is when relationships fall apart.
  • If you are happy with you and where you are in your life (not in your relationship “life”) then even when your partner gets under your skin (and it’s going to happen) you will be able to deal with it and move on. If your unhappy with yourself then every little thing your partner does will be another reason your unhappy.

10. Give what you want to get. Our needs change with time. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. If you want to feel more love, try giving more. It’s a simple program that really works.

  • It’s called the golden rule and we have been learning it our whole lives. (Do they still teach that in school?)
  • Do unto others as you would have them done to you. This should be multiplied by 10 in an intimate relationship. You certainly can not ask something of someone if you are not willing to give it in return.

I think that remembering to not take your partner in life for granted and reminding them often that you cherish and respect them and communication are the three main keys to a healthy relationship. Just love the hell out of each other and laugh as often as you can! Laugh till your face hurts and you can’t breathe! <3