10 Guiding Principles for a Successful Relationship
1. Respect each others individuality.
Forget about changing the other person. Accept the fact that there may be things you don’t like or agree with that your mate thinks or does.
If the things you don’t like, outweigh the things that you do like, then perhaps you need to rethink why you are in this relationship.
2. Avoid restricting each others freedom.
Just as you need to allow individuality, you must also allow each other the freedom to make his or her own choices, providing those choices are not harmful to your health or anyone else’s.
The main point here is that you are in a relationship by choice and neither one of you has the right to tell each other what s/he can or can not do.
3. Negotiate agreements regarding shared responsibilities such as cleaning duties, money & spending, decorating, time alone, noise levels and so forth.
The idea is to discuss and agree on the rules and boundaries of the relationship.
Negotiation is not about winning or losing, it’s about agreement and compromise.
4. Recognize that both are equal and therefore have equal rights.
You are both equal partners. You both have equal say on how things are and what needs to happen.
Traditional titles and roles do not apply unless you both agree to them.
5. Treat each other with kindness.
Remember you are friends and partners. You have a special relationship, one that holds the elements of love and caring. Treat him or her with love and respect and you’ll find that things go a lot smoother.
6.Remember that you are together by choice, not obligation.
There is nothing forcing either one of you to stay in the relationship and at any time you are unsatisfied, you can call it quits.
Why on earth would you want to keep someone with you against their will. Regardless of how hard you try, you cannot make anyone love you – they either will or will not.
7. Your mate does not have to be your everything.
Each person should have hobbies and friends of their own. It’s unreasonable to expect that your mate do everything with you.
8. Be supportive of your mates goals, dreams and aspirations.
Instead of finding fault with what they want (unless it is harmful to another) help them find ways to make it work.
After all, if you hold someone back from their dreams, it will only hurt the relationship in the long run.
9.Learn your mate’s love language and make an effort to ensure that they feel loved.
Love language ideas:
Affirmations: Be ready with a genuine complement and words of encouragement. Tell him or her how much you love and appreciate them.
Acts of Service: Take a few extra minutes and do something nice for your mate. Clean the snow of his or her car. Make him or her lunch.
Quality Time: Engage in a conversation or activity with your mate. Watching TV or going to a movie doesn’t count.
Touch: Massage, sex, holding hands, etc.
Gifts: Anything from a card to something you make. It doesn’t have to be expensive, only thoughtful.
Of course, we all want a bit of all of these, so why not do them all?
10. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
Your mate does not make you sad, happy or mad – you choose to feel a certain way in response to his or her actions or inactions. You are in control of your emotions.
No one can make you happy but yourself. Just as no one can hold you back unless you let them.
You are also responsible for how others treat you because you allow it to happen.
If you are finding yourself constantly in adversarial positions, look within yourself to see how you are provoking it.
If you find your self constantly in abusive situations, look within yourself to discover what you are doing that enables someone else to believe they can get away with doing that.
This is perhaps the toughest step for anyone to master, but it is possible.
References: Love Languages by Gary Chapman (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 1992)