I feel it’s only right to disclose the fact that, as the writer of this article, I am a woman. I will do my absolute best to withhold bias, but men, also note that with my bias comes great insight into the woman’s mind. Which, from what I can only assume, would be of great value to you. We won’t tell your girlfriends or wives that you are reading a relationship article, if and only if, you promise to take it to heart and trust that what I’m relaying to you will really help. This is what it’s all about, well this is the abridged version, because as most women can attest to, we could create a 50 item list of important things in a relationship. And for those women looking for a bit of insight as well, I write this from my heart, filled with gratitude for my amazing marriage and wanted to pass along some of those really key things that have played a big role in our daily happiness and growth together.
1. LAUGH: This is our source of energy. We are always laughing. Everyday, every night. We just have a way of being our true, ridiculous, geeked out selves and we laugh. I think it’s that freedom to be who we are, the good, the bad and the ugly. Because as a good friend once said, “Being perfect isn’t funny.” So being your imperfect self allows that space to be goofy, to make mistakes, to tell horrible jokes, to act like a kid again. We laugh when we see an old man with a pipe. Why? Who knows but over time we’ve somehow landed on the same vibration, in rapport and totally in sync. Laughter is the quickest way to get that connection with a loved one. Laughter tears through pain, it stomps down adversity and blows past uncertainty. Just BE. Trust me, your weird self, being exactly who you are, is probably hilarious.
2. LISTEN: We know we talk a lot, we know sometimes it doesn’t always make sense or it’s not always that important, but it’s so cool when we see that you are actually listening. To some of us, listening equates to caring. This goes for us women too. Listening to our partners talking about football or the latest recruit on their college team, well it just shows you care. Now I’m not saying we always have to be there listening to eachother, but what we can do is make an effort. Stay checked in when the other is talking. The last thing I’m saying is to pretend to care, authenticity is huge in any relationship. I think it’s all about stretching ourselves for the sake of our loved one. Listen when it’s important. Guys often say, “as men we just don’t understand women.” So when we explain the ins and outs of our emotions and hormones and all of that, that’s the time to listen.
3. LEARN: Piggybacking off the last answer, we don’t expect you to know and understand everything. This goes for both men and women. The key is to be willing to learn. To listen to what your partner is saying, take it to heart and learn from it. It’s learning what works and what doesn’t. Simply this, if you’re partner hate mushrooms, and you make them dinner full of mushrooms, have you learned? Nope. Take the messages you are both communicating and use that as a tool to move forward. The information you gather from listening is super valuable in the success of your relationship. Why? Because it’s something we can learn from.
4. LOVE: This may seem obvious, but there’s a lot more to it than most of us realize. First, we must love ourselves. That’s right, we must love ourselves before expecting someone else to love us. Until we are a whole person, it is difficult to feel secure in a relationship. Those who don’t love themselves first, [believe me, we’ve all been there] tend to always be seeking approval and acceptance. And when we are so focused on ourselves, it’s a little tougher to love the other person. Now once you are in that relationship where you love yourself and you are ready to fully love the other person, remember it’s about fully loving the other person. It’s easy to get frustrated or annoyed with our partners quirks and habits, but when you learn to love all those little things, not only is life easier for you, but you also give your partner a great gift. The gift of having the space to freely be themselves. Love is a lifestyle. It’s the lifestyle that can embrace the whole person, a lifestyle where your partner’s needs are your needs, where you look at them with acceptance and look at yourself with acceptance.
5. LIVE: Sounds a bit basic and simple, I get that. Living is continuous, it’s this growing and progressing process. Living in a relationship means, don’t press the rewind button because something goes wrong. Don’t live in the past, allowing that last argument to weigh you down and close up. Live openly. Live continually. Live presently. You’ve probably heard someone say “Life’s too short to ______” fill in the blank with a behavior you’d like to avoid. “Life’s too short to hold grudges.” “Life’s too short to be angry.” “Life’s too short to be ungrateful.” You get the idea. And this is the basis of LIVE. It’s about moving on, living on. My husband and I like to remind ourselves of a saying we heard, “Leave no stones in the basket.” Have you ever had that heavy, hard to breath, stressed and upset feeling right in the center of your chest? Imagine there is a basket right in there, and every time something goes wrong, or every time you are hurt, frustrated, upset, it adds a stone into that basket. Can you see how quickly that would get heavy if we held on to every little thing that didn’t go as planned? So leaving no stones in the basket means, deal with the stress or the feeling and then move on. Don’t hold those grudges and don’t keep a list of what your partner has done wrong. Everyday should be a clean slate.