Loving relationships are the result of choices; they don’t just happen.
The couples that have loving relationships are taking specific actions that people in unsuccessful relationships are not taking.
Doing these 5 actions is how to have a successful relationship:
1. They treat themselves and their partners with kindness.
Think for a moment about how you go through your day.
Are you focused on what you don’t like in yourself or your partner? Do you spend much of your thinking time judging yourself or your partner? Or, do you make the spiritual attribute of kindness to yourself and others, including your partner, your highest priority?
People in successful relationships treat themselves and their partner with kindness — kind words, kind actions, kind looks, kind listening, and kind thoughts.
It is far more important to them to be kind than to try to control their partner with anger, judgment, criticism, irritation, blame, resistance or withdrawal.
2. They take personal responsibility for their own feelings.
People in loving relationships do not make their partner responsible for their feelings. When they feel angry, hurt, anxious, depressed, resentful, irritated, guilty, or shamed, they look within at their own thoughts and behavior that may be causing their painful feelings.
They don't see themselves as victims of their partner’s choices. Rather, they learn how to manage their own feelings without dumping their upset on their partner.
When they can’t manage their own feelings, they get the help they need rather than dump anger, blame, anxiety or depression onto their partner.
3. They take responsibility for managing their time and space in ways that work for themselves and their partner.
They make sure they have enough time with each other to talk, learn, resolve conflict, play, and make love. The make sure they have time with children, time for chores, time for work and time for relaxation.
They take care of their mutual living spaces in ways that respect their partner’s needs. If one partner tends to be neat and the other messy, they both strive to make their living environment pleasant for both of them rather than either of them complying, controlling, or resisting.
Because their highest priority is showing kindness to themselves and each other, they are motivated to discover ways of living together that meets both of their needs.
4. They learn how to manage their money in ways that don't create stress for themselves or their partner.
Successful couples make sure that they not only earn enough to support themselves, but they learn how to manage their money in ways that do not create stress for themselves or their partner. They decide mutually if both of them will work or not.
Partners in loving relationships do not unilaterally decide to stop working and live off the other person. Nor does either partner make unilateral financial decisions that have a negative effect on the other partner.
In successful relationships, one partner does not spend money in such as way as to create stress for the other person. Loving partners mutually decide on their budget and then both of them stick to it.
5. They strive to take care of their physical health.
When two people care deeply about themselves and each other, they strive to take care of their physical health. Loving partners do not behave in ways that cause their partner to fear for their wellbeing.
They don't take unnecessary risks, such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet. They don’t drink and drive. They eat well, get enough exercise, and don’t smoke.
People in loving relationships do not want their partner to suffer the grief of their loss through premature illness, so they strive to take good care of themselves — partly out of caring for themselves, and partly out of caring for their partner.
Once again, successful relationships don’t just happen. They are the result of each person taking physical, emotional, financial, organizational, and spiritual responsibility within their relationship.
Dr. Margaret Paul is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, and educator. Join her for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day at-Home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul — For people who are partnered and people who want to be partnered."
This article was originally published at Inner Bonding. Reprinted with permission from the author.