zuzi en ikHow do you want to behave towards your partner? Most people treat their partner without any conscious thoughts about their attitude towards their significant other or the relationship as a whole. If we are not careful, we probably just copy the relationship our parents had, or we try and emulate couples’ behavior in movies, series and novels. Decide consciously: what kind of relationship do you want to be in? What kind of partner do you decide to be?

What makes your partner happy? Are you happy when your partner is happy? If you aren’t, that could require some serious thought.

What are the top 5 interests, pass times, passions of your partner?

What’s your partner’s biggest goal in life? Is that something you can get on board with?

Which interests do you share? Do you have activities you love doing together?

What are the 5 things that attract you most to your partner? Let your partner know TODAY what you find so attractive about him/her. We live in a society that is frugal when it comes to genuine compliments. Our partners should be the first to boost our self-confidence and help us cultivate a healthy self-image.

During which activities do you connect the most as a couple? What does connection mean to you? Sharing a bottle of wine in the bathtub, having a great conversation about the future or jumping out of an airplane together? Sometimes what makes us feel close to someone, doesn’t make them feel close to us. Explore what intimacy means to your partner.

What are topics you really feel you need to talk about to your partner? Write down what you really want to tell your partner. If you can’t tell your partner, at least write it down. It will help you find a moment to eventually share what’s on your mind.

What are the things your partner could do for you that would increase the quality of your relationship? Have you told him/her?

What are things you could do to spice up your sex life? Unless you and your partner are asexual, meaning that you have a natural disinterest in sex (which is fine of course, some people are simply like that, take Rowan Atkinson, the actor who became famous as Mr. Bean, for example) it’s going to be an issue that’s bound to play an important role. And in our monogamous, or serially monogamous culture, it’s often a very big thing. The way to click in the sack is to A) Get a lot of practice (preferably with each other) B) COMMUNICATE.

Are you secure enough to share your vulnerabilities and weaknesses with your partner? Your relationship, above all things, should be a safe harbor where both of you can share ALL of you.

Regularly plan a weekend together away from everything, just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the other side of the world, it doesn’t need to be expensive. Just take a break from it all, together. New surroundings, new inspiration.

Give your partner the freedom to explore something you simply can’t muster the motivation for. If you partner wants to take a both down the Amazon river for three weeks, but you get nightmarish sweat at the thought of going anywhere near the Amazon, let them go. The reunion will be steamy.

Do you and your partner have the same communication style? Often we misinterpret messages our partner sends out, because they put the message in a different form than we would do. Become aware of this and communicate open about this, find a communication style that works for both of you or at least be aware of the fact that your partner is Italian and simply uses lots of hand gestures that can come off as aggressive, but really aren’t.

Quite often small things can lead to huge irritations over time. Even if it’s a small thing that bothers you, communicate about it with your partner. It’s not silly if it really bugs you. Talk about it.

Work towards a 70/30 percent ratio in authentic compliments versus pointing out what could be better. If over half of the time a partner is critizicing, this really makes the relationship go sour. The opposite is also true: if you are always going to smooth things over, you’ll end up with an inauthentic relationship. We don’t want to be there when all the pent-up tension finally erupts like a hidden volcanoe of ignored frustrations. That’s when -in the worst cases- 911 gets a call.

Don’t keep secrets from each other. Even if you are very succesful at keeping something a secret, the effort of keeping it a secret will always undermine the quality of your relationship, because you can’t be fully present in the moments you share, if you are harbouring secrets. The mental drain of holding a secret you fear to disclose to your partner is enormous.

If you forgive your partner, then don’t bug them about it every day. If you decide to forgive, move on, don’t keep holding it exist him/her. Also if you’re on the receiving end of the forgiveness, make sure you acknowledge you did something wrong, and accept that your partner will want to talk about it for some time to come, but don’t let it go on forever, of course.

Don’t keep score. Don’t seek revenge. And don’t turn the other cheek either, you’re not a door mat. Set clear boundaries. A relationship functions better if both of you have clear boundaries, relationships where one partner makes himself or herself completely subservient to the other’s needs, are bound to end or to fossilize.

Cheer your partner on. His/her successes rub off on you. If you are close there’s no ‘I’ in accomplishments. I couldn’t be writing so many blog posts if my wife didn’t cover my back in many areas of life. Thanks, Laska.

That being said, don’t forget to thank your partner. Don’t take what they do for granted.

Push them to raise their standards and aim higher. Don’t be afraid of their growth. Just grow along together.

You don’t have to agree on everything, sometimes you just have to agree to disagree.

Never threaten the continuation of the relationships itself. During arguments don’t bring up the possibility of ending the relationship. This is like throwing a nuclear bomb on an ant hill. Always work towards solutions. Of course, if you really want to end the relationship, don’t let the final decision drag on for months or even years, if the relationship consistenly brings you more trouble than joy, end it. It gives both of you the opportunity to find a partner that is a better fit.

Don’t put up with any physical or verbal abuse.

If you can easily name 5 things that you really detest about your relationship, then perhaps you shouldn’t be together. Don’t rush into anything without openly communicating with your partner, if needs be with a therapist present.

What are the 5 aspects you love most about your relationship?

For me:

-My wife values the small joy of life, something I find extremely hard, her attitude about life amazes me every day.

-She’s ambitious, without being obessive, and she’d never backstab someone to move towards her goals.

-She’s hot!

-We always tell each other everything. Yes, everything. My wife understands me better than an international all star team of the best shrinks alive today, or risen from the grave for the occasion, ever could. And I enjoy making her happy, just because her smile is so damn endearing.

-We laugh A LOT 🙂

Live an authentic day,

Peace & Carrots