Beliefnet
Make Your Relationship Work

None of us are perfect, no matter how much self-improvement reading or therapizing we do or don’t do, but there are a few simple changes you can make that will take your relationships to a new level… friendships, dating and marriage.

1.Observe the Golden Rule and be the kind of person you want to attract.

Think about it from the quality person’s POV… why would they want to “rehab” or “inspire” someone into being the kind of person that the quality person became on their own steam? In order to respect the other person, the quality person needs to be with someone they chose to respect in the first place.

2. Stop taking everything so personally.

Most of the time, its really not all about you. If he makes a comment about mothers being a pain, he isn’t necessarily talking about your mom. If she talks about having had a bad date at the place you are eating, she isn’t necessarily talking about the date she is on at the moment. If someone means to be personal, its their responsibility to let you know that they are talking about you. Otherwise, breathe, let it go and continue to enjoy your time together.

Note: If you are dealing with a passive aggressive type, simply asking them: “Are you talking about me?” Can stop the commentary in its tracks. If they say “No,” drop it and move on. Its their responsibility to be a grown up and tell you if there is a problem.

3.Serve the other person in love without expectation of return.

By keeping tally of who’s done what for whom and counting every ounce of effort you expend on their behalf, you reduce a complex and beautiful relationship between two people to a game of who sunk my battleship. Its important that there is a give and take dynamic, but you’ll be surprised by how quickly things change when you cut the strings and forget about expectations. Not only will you enjoy giving, you’ll likely feel more loved in return.

4. If you’ve picked a good person to be with (because you are a good person to be with,) trust that your friend or partner has good intentions at heart and not plans to do you harm. If you get offended by something they say, see point #2. If it was a personal attack directed at you, simply let them know what they said hurt your feelings. Most people don’t want to hurt or harm the person they care about, but we all have different filters and sometimes what we say just doesn’t come out right.

Note: emails and texts are notorious for misunderstandings. Better by far to either ask if someone meant something the way you took it or know that what they wrote just didn’t come out the way they intended than start nursing a grudge.

5.Remember to have fun together.

If your relationship becomes a string of long DTR’s (Define the Relationship talk), hurt feelings, “discussions,” and general malcontent… you’ll come to hate each other more quickly than you fell in love. If you are in a relationship with someone you care about, nurture that love by honoring your time and communication. Unless you both like vegging out every night in front of the TV, take time away to do something fun together that you both enjoy.

You may not read these and think “simple” changes, but the whole “baby steps” concept really helps. Little changes tend to snowball in a really great way. Have any of you applied these kind of changes to your thinking in the past? How did it change your relationships?