Friday, April 29, 2011

10 Relationship Do's

Let me start by saying that it was really hard for me to just choose ten things, but I'm winging it.  Get it?  Because I'm the Chicken Wing.  Har-dee-har-har.  Let's get to it!

10 Relationship Do's:

1. Respect your partner.

Respect takes a lifetime to gain and a second to lose. It's important that you think about what's great in your partner - what makes you proud of him/her? What makes you proud that he/she picked you?

2. Be someone your partner can respect.

If you want to be treated like a child, act like a child. If you want your partner to be proud to be with you, be a living example of that type of person. Act like a lady or a gentleman. Be kind to other people. Take the high road when others upset you. Be the type of person that others can look up to.

3. Be honest.

Even "truth hurts" brutal honesty is better than no honesty at all. There are few things that hurt worse than a lie or omission, and you should be able to trust your partner to be able to handle the truth. The truth always comes out one way or another, so you want to be on the right side of that truth.

4. Be faithful.

Cheating is a touchy subject. Clearly there are trust issues and respect issues where cheating is involved. I've been in situations times before where I could genuinely understand why people cheat. (Reference the 80/20 rule clip in the last post). The bottom line is this - cheating is taking the easy way out. If you don't communicate that something is missing and that you're having a hard time with temptation, your partner never has a chance to fix the problems. You're beating yourself before you even begin.

5. Make fun a priority.

Let's be honest - life is hard. It's hard to be light and cheery all the time when gas prices are about to hit $4.00 per gallon and everyone is suffering financially and the kids/pets are driving you crazy and you're always pulled in a million directions. It can be overwhelming, that's for sure. It is your responsibility, though, to stop the world for a minute and schedule some fun time for you and your partner. Reconnect, laugh, and be silly. If you don't, you're going under. Or you're destined to be miserable for the rest of your life, and that sounds about as fun as swimming in the ocean in a steak bikini.

6. Communicate often and thoroughly.

Communication has always been pretty easy for me - heck, I'm a talker to beat all talkers who was born to a talker who beats all talkers. Sometimes, though, communication is hard. Sometimes, there are things that need to be said that you don't want to say. Say them. Nothing can help your partner get a better insight into who you are and how you think than you telling them. Take the guesswork out. If you want something, say you want something. If you are unhappy with how a situation was handled, talk it out. If you are not having fun at the moment and you feel like you need to have fun, say so. I hate to be the bearer of devastating news, but men and women don't think the same. They also don't communicate the same. The sooner you realize that, the better it will be for everyone involved.  Oh, and don't forget that listening is one-half of communicating.

7. Be open-minded.

There have been several times in my relationship where I've been introduced to new things.  Comanche has multiple interests that are the same as mine.  He also has multiple interests that I either a) knew absolutely nothing about or b) thought I wasn't cut out for (read: had no interest in at all).  I've learned through my relationship with him that by being open-minded to new experiences and ideas, I've become so much more well-rounded!  I now like new foods that I'd never tried before, and I've attempted to do things I never really wanted to do before.  Take camping - I always said it wasn't for me.  Comanche asked nicely (and purchased all of the things we'd need, therefore making it impossible for me to say no), and I loved it!  I now want to camp at least once every year! 

8.  Compromise.

Wow, this is so important.  I actually don't like the word compromise as much (because so many people use it with a negative undertone), so Comanche and I take a different approach.  We call it "The Game Plan."  We lay out our options on the table and then pick and choose what we think will be best and we listen to one another's sides.  From there, we make our game plan, and the trick to this is to stick to the game plan.  For example, if we have an event that one of us really wants to go to, and the other has to be up to work early the next morning, we devise a plan that will satisfy both of us, and then we stick to the plan - no exceptions.  That makes it a win-win for everyone, we decided in advance, and we communicated the entire time.  Talk about teamwork!

9.  Make sure your partner knows how much you love him/her.

It really does not take more than a few seconds to look your partner in the eye and say, "I love you."  It also doesn't take more than a few minutes to write a cute note, make a Valentine, construct a text message or email, or leave a voicemail.  There are so many opportunities to make your partner feel loved and appreciated.  Make him/her dinner one night.  Or, if your partner makes you dinner, clean up without discussion. Kiss them a lot.  Hug them a lot. Have a dance-off.  Watch their favorite show with them.  Plan a date night.  Go for a walk and hold hands.  Have a picnic (in the park or on the living room floor). Give him/her a massage.  Heck, buy him/her a massage.  I happen to be dating a flower ninja, myself, and that works for me!

Literally on my windshield when I walked outside yesterday morning.  Love that man!
 10.  Participate presently.

This one is huge.  What I mean by this is be present in your relationship.  Don't put things off for tomorrow - none of us are promised that, anyways.  Don't say, "I'll make time for this later."  Also, just remember one of the fundamentals - participate.  There is nothing worse than a one-sided relationship in which one person does all of the work and all of the trying.  It is so un-fulfilling and unhealthy.  Resentment and disappointment are two words that are detrimental to any relationship, so head them off by participating and pulling your own weight.  If you notice that it's been awhile since you've done something nice for your partner, step it up. 

Be dependable - be there when your partner needs you. If they call, answer the phone if you can.  If you are supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, be there.  If you've told your partner that you will do something, do it.  Meet deadlines if there are any.  This feeds the trust that is necessary in all relationships.  Don't get into a rut where you're constantly being asked to do things.  If that's happening, it could be one of two things.  Either your partner is going through a needy spell, or you're severely dragging.  Either way, it needs to be addressed, and you can look back up to #6 for tips on that.  The bottom line is that ALL relationships take work, and it takes work from both parties involved.  Participating means you're doing the work, and that is more than half the battle. 

*Footnote:  Again, I am not a therapist. I'm actually not qualified to give relationship advice to anyone, but I get asked relationship questions all the time and decided to provide my opinion.  Just wanted to throw that disclaimer out there!  I also don't claim to be good at all of these things.  In fact, some of these tips I learned the hard way - I was the one who wasn't living up to my potential.  Others were things I wish had been done for me in relationships.  That's why they say relationships take work and you learn something new every day.

Up next:  10 Relationship Don't's.

Until next time,

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