What are the keys to a successful relationship? In my twenty years as a couples counselor, I’ve narrowed it down to five basic ingredients that need to be established. While there are many more components to a successful relationship, these five form the basics.
So here they are, the Five Keys to a Successful Relationship:
1. Create & Live Your Shared Vision:
I’ve written about the importance of creating a shared relationship vision in a previous article ( Do You Have A Shared Relationship Vision?). Each partner enters their relationship with their own preconceived notions of what the relationship should be like. This is usually based upon the early modeling of relationship by their primary caregivers and extended family and friends. Since we each grow up in a different environment, we have different requirements and assumptions. These need to be identified, shared and negotiated early on in order to have a successful relationship.
2. Consistent Communication:
The need for good communication in a successful relationship has almost become a cliché, yet it is critical. We need to identify our feelings and our needs and share them with our partners as appropriate. Pent up feelings can lead to resentments and resentments can drive a wedge between partners.
In addition to GOOD communication, it must be CONSISTENT communication! Get in the habit of communicating regularly with your partner. If you wait until something HUGE happens to communicate, you may find that your ability to share it effectively and lovingly has become impaired or has atrophied. Communication is a skill that must be practiced regularly to keep the lines of communication open and to ensure a successful relationship.
3. Make Your Partner Your Priority:
Couples enter counseling with me because they have lost their connection, lost their passion and take each other for granted. You MUST make your partner and your relationship a top priority in your life. You must not only THINK this, you must EXPRESS it in words AND actions to your partner. Make having a successful relationship your priority and you go a long way towards achieving this.
4. Practice Appreciation Daily:
Daily appreciation is one way to demonstrate that you are making your partner a priority. I have a specific Appreciation Exercise that I teach to all of the couples in counseling with me. I’ve written about it extensively in a previous article ( Passion Tip: Appreciation) and I hope that you will add it to your daily routine to create a successful relationship.
5. Take care of yourself:
Finally, self-care is essential to any successful relationship. If you don’t take the time to nurture yourself in mind, body and spirit, how can you possibly nurture your partner and your relationship. As they say during the pre-flight message on every airline, “put on your oxygen mask FIRST prior to helping others.” Do what you need to do to be healthy and happy and you will be able to contribute much more towards having a successful relationship.
There you have it, the Five Pillars of a Successful Relationship.