Last post we discussed 2 actions we could take to help us live an amazing life. If you haven’t read that, I highly encourage you to do so. Today we are going to focus that even further. We are going to look at 2 things you can do to have an amazing relationship. People often ask Margie and I what the secret to our amazing relationship is. In a nutshell, we tell them lots of hard work. That may turn some people off. “I don’t want to be in a relationship that is hard work.” We hear them say. If you want any relationship to be the best it can be, even the relationship with ourselves, it takes work. That work can be some of the most enjoyable and enlightening work you will ever do in your life. The payoff? It is more valuable than gold. The question then becomes what kind of work should we be doing? Let us look at just 2 things you can do daily that will have a huge positive impact. There are endless ways and actions you can take to improve the quality of relationships, but let us start with just 2.
Before we jump into the first secret to an amazing relationship, let me ask you a question. If you worked really hard to get in the best shape of your life, and got there, then stopped working out, what would happen? Would you maintain that physique? Of course not. If you work really hard to create the relationship of your dreams, and you even get there, what would happen if you stopped working on it? Would it remain the relationship of your dreams? If you learned all there was to know about computers, and then stopped learning, where would your knowledge be 2 years from now? Computers are a rapidly changing and advancing field. You would be little better informed that someone who has never turned a computer on. Do you know what changes more rapidly than a computer? People! Specifically, in this case, your partner. You need to grow and develop in this field just to maintain the love that you had, not to mention, growing it to new heights.
The first secret to an amazing relationship may sound basic, but it is not. That first secret is to listen. Not just to formulate a response to what your partner is saying, but to learn. Ask yourself, “What is my partner sharing right now?” or “What is my partner really feeling right now?” Do what is called ‘active listening’. Do not just passively absorb words, but really listen to understand. In an age where everyone is looking to get noticed, how valuable of a gift is it to help someone feel significant and noticed? Why would you not want to do that for the most important person in your life? When we listen to our partners with a desire to increase our knowledge about them, there are so many gifts that come with that. We learn what makes them happy. We learn what does not make them happy. We learn what would make a good gift for them. We learn their hopes and dreams. If we put effort into our listening, we will end up making our life easier and our relationship better.
That leads us into our next secret for an amazing relationship. That is to learn something new about our partners everyday. You may think that you have been together so long, there is nothing left to learn. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many ways to learn about your partner. You can do so by listening with the intent to learn. Keeping the question in your head, “What can I learn about my partner from what they are telling me?” will help you listen intently. You can also learn by observing. When you are out at the grocery store together, notice what brand of ketchup they like. What kind of tortilla chips do they like? Are they the same kind you do? (this is a big one in our house and I can tell you the answer is no.) When you are out celebrating together, notice what dishes they like to order. What do they like to drink? All of these bits of information can serve you and your relationship later. Here is both the gift and the frustration. Once you learn all of these things, a lot of them will change. People learn and grow and their tastes change. That means you will never have your partner 100% figured out. This sounds frustrating, but it is a good thing. You always have an opportunity to learn.
There you have it. Two little things that will make a big difference in your relationship. Imagine learning one thing a day about your partner. In a year you will have learned 365 new things. Even if they are little things, that will make a huge difference in your ability to be a good partner and to create a loving relationship. Many people may think this sounds like too much work. They think they can’t be so disciplined everyday. It is a lot of work, but it will be fun and enjoyable work. Unwrapping your partner and relationship is much like solving a great mystery. When you don’t feel like putting in the work, think of our fitness and computer analogy. Even if you have an amazing relationship at the moment, if you don’t continue to put in effort, it will not stay that way for long. As for being disciplined to work on your relationship everyday? I will just leave you with the quote below.