Relationships can be rocky but there are ways to keep them strong.
Relationships and love. Everyone says, and, I think, truly believes, that without love the world just doesn’t go round. Love is a powerful thing that makes everything a little shinier. We all want it.
And yet, ironically, it is relationships that are usually the first thing we set aside as we live these chaotic, jam-packed, exhausting lives. Work, kids, exercise, they all come first, leaving love sitting on the sidelines, lonely and neglected.
Doing the work that I have done for years with clients, and living my life, has given me a tremendous amount of insight into the damage we do, more often than not unwittingly. I want to share that insight with you today.
What relationships need to stay solid when you have a lot going on are these 5 things:
1. Keep your promises.
Promises. They're usually made with such good intentions but when they're broken, there can be disastrous consequences.
Promises have to do with trust. If you make a promise and don’t keep it, then trust is lost. It’s better not to make a promise that you can’t keep than to continue breaking ones that you do.
I have a client whose boyfriend kept promising her that she could meet his kids. And yet, every time a meeting was set up, there was always an excuse about why it couldn’t happen. Eventually. she stopped wanting to meet his kids, and, ultimately, she stopped wanting to be with him.
Her trust in him was lost. And without trust, what else is there?
Make your promises carefully. Remember how important they are for maintaining trust. And love.
2. Make your limited time quality time.
Yes, we are all busy, with plenty on our mind and all sorts of pressure. But it is important to take a few minutes to really connect with your partner. Not a quick phone call between meetings, talking about yourself and your worries, but real connection.
Next time you're together, take a moment and look at your partner and ask them how they are doing. Listen to them without interrupting. Don’t try to fix anything, just listen.
Listening without judgment is very powerful. Letting your partner know they are cared about, and being heard, is a powerful way to express love. And knowing how your partner is doing will only make you feel closer.
3. Use your words.
How many times has a client said to me "I don’t have to tell him I love him. He knows"?
Thousands, I'm afraid.
Think back to the last time that your partner told you that you were beautiful or sexy or that they loved your laugh. Even if you have heard it from them a million times, didn’t it make you feel great?
Words are very powerful. Use them for good and for love.
4. Touch, touch, touch, touch.
One cannot underestimate the importance of the power of touch. I am not talking about sexual touch (although its power should not be discounted) but simple affectionate touch.
A hug, holding hands, a kiss, a light pat on the butt. These are all examples of physical affection that keeps you bonded to your partner every day.
Did you know that a hug produces oxytocin, a chemical known to enhance mood? A pat on the butt can make someone feel sexy and wanted. Holding hands as you walk down the street makes you feel like you can take on the world. Don’t even get me started on kissing…
So reach out and touch your partner today. Don’t make them ask for it. It’s quick, easy and fun, with huge payoffs.
5. Don’t take anyone for granted.
Let me state that one again: Don’t take anyone for granted.
When we first fall in love, our attention is completely focused on that one person. But as time goes by, we get distracted by life and we start neglecting the one we love. We know that they're there, and we assume that they will always be there, so we stop tending the relationship. And the consequences can again be disastrous.
I can tell you this from personal experience. My husband, no matter how awful I was to him, always promised me that he would never leave me. I didn’t mean to but because of this, I took him for granted and while I planned to make changes to my behavior, I never quite made it happen.
And, guess what. He left me.
So pay attention to that person in bed next to you. One day they just might be gone and where would you be then?
"There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved," said George Sands 100 years ago. And nothing today has changed. We can have success in our careers, be as fit as a 20-year-old and have the perfect golf game but without love what does it all matter?
I know that if I had followed my own advice (if I had known it then), my marriage might have had a chance. I certainly regret not working harder at changing those behaviors.
So don’t let love live on the sidelines. Bring it out to center field, into the sunshine, where it can be all that it can be. You can do it.
Mitzi Bockman is a New York City-based Certified Life Coach. Look for more help tending your relationship? Contact her here and she can help.
This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.