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This mystical question is commonly asked by my clients: “How do I create a good relationship?” Well, this is easier said than done. Film, TV and novels bombard us with idealistic images of romance and the “perfect” relationship, and these things set us up to fail.
If we think back to the classic sitcom “Friends,” the on-again, off-again relationship of Rachel and Ross had us tuning in for years, as did Monica and Chandler’s series of mad cap setups.
However, relationships aren’t that easy. We don’t all live in spacious apartments, with no real money or work worries, where we can just focus on our friendships and relationships.
So, what’s the answer? One answer is to dedicate time to each other.
Here are a few top tips to work on. If a relationship is on the edge of a cliff, and you think one or both of you are going to topple off, try these simple exercises.
Thank your partner a minimum of three times a day, paying them a compliment by saying, “Thank you for making me dinner. It was delicious.”
Or you could try, “Thank you for putting petrol in the car. It saved me some valuable time getting to work this morning.”
Get your partner to buy into the “Thank You” exercise. We all like compliments, and when it becomes second nature and a new behavior pattern to thank someone, the other person feels appreciated and valued.
“Relationships work with
healthy time spent together.”
If you are living with your partner, have a minimum of half an hour a night to discuss each other’s days, ideally over dinner.
Do this without distraction — computers and the TV should not be within proximity.
Have a date night once a week, where the two of you do something together.
Take a walk or go out for a meal, coffee and cake at the local coffee shop. Don’t have your mobile phone switched on or with you. Alternate who chooses the date each week.
Plan mini breaks, renovate the spare room or do small projects. The more projects and fun things you have on the horizon, the more it gives you both something to look forward to or work on as a team.
This could be a trip to the pub or simply curling up on the sofa with a book while your partner makes dinner. Even picking a video to watch or having control of the TV remote will help.
Relationships work with healthy time spent together — healthy time spent pursuing separate interests, communicating effectively and sharing goals and ambitions.