The Essential Relationship Primer | The BridgeMaker

The Essential Relationship Primer

By on Aug 17, 2011

Love is saying, ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘you’re wrong.’ – Unknown

What’s the one thing that makes your relationship work?

I recently asked this question to The BridgeMaker community on Facebook. The answers were honest, heartfelt and sincere. Each response is a reminder that being connected to your partner takes work, persistence and sometimes it takes a leap of faith.

There are no shortcuts to a mutually fulfilling relationship.

Here are some of the replies:

    Tracie Hoenig > Respect!
    Tara Crawford Roth > Accepting the other person just as they are.
    Mwende Philip > Open line communication
    Lana Tappy > Being FRIENDS first!
    Lyn Chen > Trust
    Shabir Hussain > Love makes it happen
    Jani Thurman > Dealing with the faults of others as gently as you do your own.
    Traci D. McClure > Understanding that we are never done growing in our relationship! Never stop trying!
    Farnoosh Brock > Kindness…. and humor ?
    Lisa Wilson > Knowing when to say “Forgive Me” and when to say “I’m Sorry”
    Joy Christin Detor Holland > Gratitude…
    Ijeoma Justice Ohaka > Earning your partners trust and too much care, and understanding
    Myra Richard > “Boardroom” time

The Essential Relationship Primer

Love, like life, is dynamic – it changes every day. What works one day can lose it effectiveness the next. Bill come due, circumstances change and love’s intensity can ebb and flow with the current of daily life.

After building a 26-year marriage with Mary Beth, I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t. Through my experiences and by listening to the experiences of others, I’ve created a primer that helps me remember the power of love on the days when it feels like I’m wandering without a clear path back to it.

This primer doesn’t have all answers, but it can be an essential compass to point you back to the one thing in your relationship on the days you feel lost, too.

I share it from my heart, to yours.

    Listen, really listen, when your partner is speaking to you.
    Listen without judgments or criticism. Try to avoid any self-referencing and be fully present for the times when your partner needs it most.

    Say “I Love You” everyday.
    Tell your wife “I love you” every day. Do so with heart-felt sincerity. Love her as if this were her, and your, last day on earth. Don’t wait; tell her today.

    Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.
    When relationships end it is typically because of unmet expectations or one person is not feeling love or cherished by the other. For relationships to grow and last both members have to be equal with the love they give; and both should do it, not because they think they have to do it, but because they want to do it.

    Unrequited love is painful but not romantic.
    Love is meant to be shared. When you give your heart to someone who is uninterested, it will only result in loneliness and disappointment. Instead find someone who will share love with you. When you do, you will feel the real power of love.

    True love is the apple of Eden.
    “When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was beautiful, surpassingly beautiful, enchantingly beautiful; and now it is lost, and I shall never see it any more. The Garden is lost, but I have found him and am content. – from Mark Twain in Eve’s Diary. True love is fair compensation for the obstacles and burdens of being human.

    Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing.
    To be clear, the purpose of forgiveness is not to let the person who harmed you off the hook, the purpose of forgiveness is to end the grief it has cost you. Don’t just let go, forgive and truly surrender the feelings of anger and pain. This may seem difficult, almost impossible, until you attempt to do it.

    Show appreciation.
    A simple “thank you” in response to a trivial or ordinary item can make a significant difference. It only takes a few short moments to utter these two words, but the impact can be felt for a very long time.

    Be happy, not right.
    Here’s a question for you, “Would you rather be right, or happy?” Too often our pride and egos can keep us from enjoying intimate relationships. We stew over what we think are injustices, but are perhaps only misunderstandings.

    Be aware of your thoughts and feelings.
    You own your thoughts and feelings. These make you unique and keep you grounded with who you really are or growing to become. By doing so, you are in a much better position to love freely and honestly.

    Try to see the best in others, not the worst.
    When you expect good things to happen, good usually does happen. When you expect the best in someone, you often receive that, too. Bottom line: You usually get what you asked for in life.

    Celebrate the love in your life.
    Love is a miracle. When you are able to share your love and become love you have something worth treasuring and celebrating. We should never take love for granted – it can be snatched away in the blink of an eye.

What’s the one thing that makes your relationship work?

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The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Joe, you are right. Good relationships just don’t happen – they happen when effort and love are placed behind them. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  • Hi Alex,

    Nice post! I believe communication, forgiveness, and personal responsibility are some of the most crucial attributes for making a relationship work. We all have our part to play and we have a choice how to respond in any given situation. We must overcome resentment and realize that relationships take effort and compromise. Thanks for the reminder to take responsibility for myself, this can be easy to forget. 😉

  • David, meeting her needs has created more happiness than I ever expected – for us both!

    Your support is amazing. I appreciate it more than you know Joyce.

    Spontaneity is a good touch Barbara, thanks for the reminder.

  • Your writings are always so full of truth because they never run out of love. 😉