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The Good Relationship Guide (part two)

July 22, 2009

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6. Trust me, I’m your soulmate

In part one I talked about how respect and consideration are the cornerstones of a healthy relationship. Intrinsic to these cornerstones are the qualities of trust and loyalty. Trust is often talked about as being a key factor in a good relationship and most people tend to think of this as being able to trust that your partner will be faithful to you. However fidelity is just one facet of the kind of trust which is necessary in a good relationship.

Whenever we care about someone, we are giving away some power over our feelings and our wellbeing. It is impossible to love without giving away some of your power (though equally important that that you do not give away all your power, as discussed in part one). When we choose to love someone and share our intimate selves with them we are giving them the power to make us happy and the flipside of that, of course, is that we are also giving them the power to hurt us, or instil anger or fear in us. It is therefore vital that you are able to trust your chosen loved one with your deepest feelings, and trust them not to abuse your love for them. Loyalty to the relationship is also important and again, this does not just mean being monogamous, but that you also see the two of you as a team. You need to be able to trust in your partner to stand by you, to back you up and to not diminish you in front of others.

Of course, trust does not always come easy if it has been severely damaged in the past. Someone who genuinely loves you will understand and respect that and will be happy to work with you to gently build the trust in your relationship. However, if you are the one who is struggling with trust issues, it’s also important to remember that all men/women are NOT the same, and just because your previous lover/s let you down, it does not mean that your current partner inevitably will. If you have followed the advice in part one and are listening to your inner guidance, then you will know in your heart of hearts if this is someone you can trust. However if you continue to lack trust for your partner, with no real evidence for your negative beliefs, then perhaps you need to take a step back and do some more emotional healing work on yourself.

7. Communication

This is the one that all relationship experts bang on about and for good reason. If you can’t communicate with your partner, then what are you actually getting out of the relationship? We’ve all seen those couples in pubs and restaurants who sit there staring into the distance with grim expressions, barely uttering a word to each other. Maybe occasionally one of them will say something, only to get a contemptuous grunt in response. Who in all honesty wants a relationship like that?

As I said in part one, your partner should be your best friend. For instance, when something important happens to you or you hear some significant news, who is the first person you think of to ring? If you are in a good relationship, then it will probably be your partner. Sharing the day-to-day stuff is also important. When you care for someone, then you will quite naturally be interested in their life and will enjoy hearing about their day, sharing amusing anecdotes perhaps or giving them a sounding board to vent any work frustrations. And remember that sense of humour – not all communication needs to be serious and true soulmates love to play, have fun and laugh together.

8. Conflict resolution

Finding a conflict resolution style which suits both of you is crucial to the success of your relationship. If one of you becomes abusive or contemptuous, stonewalls or prefers to blame the other for any problems, then this does not bode well for your relationship in the future. Occasional fights are inevitable in any relationship, but if you learn how to handle them in a mature and just manner, then your intimate connection will reap the rewards.

When Diane and David first got together, David struggled to deal with conflict – his family background meant that he felt threatened by any kind of confrontation, so he would simply say ‘I’m leaving’ and walk away if an issue arose which upset him in any way. He soon realised that this hurt Diane deeply and was counterproductive to their relationship, so he learned to bite the bullet and to stay and discuss any issues between them. In turn, Diane respected the effort David made for the sake of their relationship and ultimately working through this – and other conflicts – brought them closer together.

However, it’s also important to pick your battles. If your partner begins to feel harangued because every move they make seems to be wrong, then your relationship will not last long either. Save up the intense discussions for the issues which you feel could genuinely damage your relationship. For example, if your partner stays up late watching TV once in a while, then it’s not really a big deal. However, if your partner is doing this every night when previously you both went to bed at the same time, then you have every reason to address this and share your concerns with your partner.

And remember, unlike the myth perpetuated by the film ‘Love Story’, love does sometimes mean having to say you’re sorry. If you’ve messed up and you know it, then admit your mistake and apologise. Sometimes an apology is all that’s needed to thaw the cold war between you and allow a more open and healthy discussion of your dilemma to take place.

9. Let’s get physical

The one factor which distinguishes your relationship with your partner from your relationships with everyone else in your life is the physical intimacy you share, so it’s  essential that you fancy each other like mad.  As we already discussed, being best friends with your partner is  important but if your relationship lacks that vital spark – also known as ‘chemistry’ –  then however much you like each other, things will fizzle out pretty quickly.

On the other hand, love-making has been trivialised in our over-sexualised society (sex is portrayed as a selfish act – something you do for a quick buzz, like drugs or alcohol) to the point that many people seem to develop their relationships backwards these days. Rather than spending time building a close friendship first with a potential lover, they leap into bed together only to realise – usually as the passion wanes – that they’re not that keen on this person after all.

Love-making with someone you genuinely love is truly amazing and once you’ve experienced this, then the ‘backwards’ approach to relationships will no longer hold any interest for you. Sharing your whole self with your partner, body and soul, is one of the best gifts you can ever give to them – and it’s a gift which will make both of you feel special and loved.

And of course, physical affection does not need to be restricted to the sexual. Holding hands as you walk down the street, cuddles and kisses as part of your daily communication, a loving touch and a smile as you pass each other in the hallway – this is all love-making too and helps to keep the intimate bond between you strong.

10. Nobody’s perfect

Even your one true love and soulmate will irritate, frustrate, anger or disappoint you sometimes. No-one – no, not even you, dear reader – is perfect. We all have our quirks, flaws and bad habits, we all have differences of opinion in some areas, and we all have bad days where we just feel plain cranky and ready to pick a fight with anyone for no reason at all. If your partner only gets on your nerves about five percent of the time, then you can rest assured that your relationship is normal and healthy and you don’t have much to worry about.

A couple who really care for each other will also probably do what they can to reduce that five percent. If you know that it irritates your partner when you don’t tidy up after yourself when you’ve made a sandwich, then teach yourself a new habit of clearing everything away when you’re done. Your partner will be delighted that you’ve made this effort for them, you’ll be happy that you’ve made them happy and your relationship will benefit enormously from a small effort and simple action on your part.

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2 comments

  1. Very interesting — I just printed out a copy of this two part series to read over with my wife. You’ve got a really rich blog here, I’m glad I found it!


    • Thank you, Scott! Just knowing that my work is bringing something positive to someone else out there makes it all worthwhile 🙂



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