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The ABC’s of Relationships

I spend a lot of my time talking to people about their relationships, but all too often by the time they come to talk to me things are already desperate! The fact is most people have never been taught some basic principles of how to build and repair relationships. In some respects it is a simple as ABC… OK it is a little more complex than that, and in my grab bag of tricks I probably have hundreds of suggestions I can make! But here are just 26 for you to think about:

Adaptable! Not everyone is like you – get used to it and learn to adapt to your partner’s view of normal.
Best friends! You need to learn to be friends before you become lovers.
Complements! Learn to say nice things to each other – stress the positive NOT the negative.
Develop! Keep growing, seeking to be a better person, a better lover, a more caring person.
Express your feelings! Share what is really going on for you – your partner is NOT a mind reader.
Fun! Make sure that you have got time to have fun together – don’t take yourself or each other too seriously.
Goals! Make sure that you are planning for the future, and that you both know what you are aiming for.
Honesty! Truth and trust is the very foundation of any relationship, so make sure that you are honest in all you say and do.
Integrity! Character is what counts.
Justice! Do what is right, be just in all your actions, remembering that there must also be room for mercy.
Kindness! Go out of your way to treat your partner as special, honor them any way you can.
Listen! The highest complement you can give anyone is your undivided attention, so don’t just pretend to listen – really listen.
Memories! Be always on the lookout to celebrate anniversaries, affirming your past history and get concrete symbols to help you to remember.
Needs! Be aware of your partner’s physical, mental and spiritual needs, and be prepared to share what your needs are as well.
Openness! This requires vulnerability, sharing the real you, taking off the mask and being real.
Positive! If you are naturally negative and pessimistic, change your attitude – you can do it and you will be much easier to live with.
Quietness! You do not have to fill all the spaces with words, be content to just be together, and enjoy each others presence.
Reflect! Don’t be so busy that you have no time to stop and reflect on what is really important and who you are becoming.

Sorry! Learn how to apologise, recognise what your partner expects from you to show that your “sorry” is real.
Time! If you are not spending enough time together it will degrade the relationship – show how much you value it by giving it a priority.
Unexpected! Get out of the rut, so something spontaneous to spice up your relationship.
Vision! Talk about our hopes and dreams, get concrete symbols of your visions so that you don’t lose sight of them.
Wisdom! This comes from not just knowing about our partner but really knowing them and applying those lessons to the relationship.
X-rays! Look below the surface of your relationship, go deeper and the effort will be rewarded with greater insight.
Yield! Be prepared to give up your rights, give sacrificially so that your partner knows that they are the most important person in the world.
Zest for life! Don’t accept mediocrity, give it all you have got, aim for the stars and refuse to accept second best.

Don’t just sit there, think about one of those and how you can apply it today. Now go and DO it!

2 comments to The ABC’s of Relationships

  • shaun

    this is really good advice! i feel like these would be the perfect things to help a relationship grow and flourish. i feel like i try to do a lot of these things, but how do you help your partner to embrace these guidelines without making them feel like they’re doing something wrong?

  • Ian

    Women tend to be fairly perceptive, and if we are open and honest about our intentions and motives they will accept them in the spirit in which they are given. The key is to then keep it up for the long term.

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