This is the one test you definitely do NOT want to fail.
Here are 5 simple ways to earn an A+ grade in relationships:
1. Awareness. The first step toward any kind of change is awareness. You have to know who you are and where you are before you can move forward. You must have a good sense of who another person is before you know if you want to be with them. You have to know where your relationship is at before you can discover what isn't going well and what you need to change.
Becoming more aware often means slowing down, removing extraneous, unimportant thoughts from your head (clean out your hard-drive), and reducing your responsibilities and activities to reduce your stress levels. This frees up more attention so you can see what's really going on and determine what's important.
2. Assessment. Once you realize what is going on you can decide what your priorities are. Become clear about what you like and what you don't like; and what you need to change, and how. Take a personal inventory, do some soul searching, maybe take some workshops, read some books, and take some evaluative tests. This is a good time to have heartfelt discussions with your partner. The support of an impartial third party—a therapist—can be helpful at this stage.
3. Adjustment. Making changes requires a period of adjustment. It can be difficult, whether it's an individual transformation—changing your diet and exercise regimen to changing your beliefs—or two people in a relationship learning to make adjustments with each other. You will likely often feel like you're taking two steps forward and one step back. We are creatures of habit. Change takes time; be patient with yourself and others.
4. Acceptance. We are human; we all falter, we all remain imperfect no matter how hard we try to improve ourselves. Accept your own weaknesses and imperfections; Accept the same in others; Accept that some things will change—some for the good and some for the bad—and some things will seem to never change. You will make concessions and compromises and sometimes you won't get what you want. That will keep you striving for more while learning to appreciate where you are.
5. Appreciation. Appreciate yourself, your circumstances, and your partner as much and as often as you can in your thoughts, words, and deeds. What you focus on expands. Focusing on the positive goes much further to enhancing a relationship than criticism and negative thinking.
Put an A+ on your relationship report card for your effort.