What makes relationships great?

In the course of my counselling career, I have often reflected on what makes relationships great.  Is it luck? is it good management? or does it all come down to consistent, loving effort?  Here are some things that I know will help:

  • Be conscious and present.  Focus on your relationship, and everyday be conscious of trying to make that person happy.  Little things mean a lot……………………………………
  • Make your home a happy, positive and emotionally comfortable living space.   Even if you are not feeling particularly upbeat, move into a positive gear when you get home.  It will rub off on others.
  • Create meaning within your relationship.  What is the purpose of your relationship?  Do you have a mission statement?  Discuss join short and long term goals.  Create a family mission statement and strive towards those values.
  • Reliability and responsibility go hand in hand to keep your relationship on an even keel.  Do what you say, keep your promises.  Brainstorm the “relationship rules” and commit to them. Don’t ignore your cellphone if your partner calls and you are out having a good time. If you can’t be home at the agreed time, send a sms to advise that you will be late.  It only takes a minute and puts your partner’s mind at rest.  If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and apologize.
  • If you make a commitment – keep it.  Even small lapses of “forgetting” erodes the trust and causes doubt.  Tell the truth.
  • Try to be understanding with regard to your partner’s stress and work concerns. Have conversations about motivation and the future.  Take time to listen, help him/her to grow and learn.  Give praise freely and often.  Respect their efforts and give your partner the space to grow within the relationship.
  • Balance your work and home life.  Do not allow your work to intrude upon your private space. If you need time to unwind after a stressful day, ask for it.  When you are at home, be fully present with your partner.
  • and finally -Make time for fun – surprise each other, keep a secret stash of small gifts that will raise their spirits.  Keep being spontaneous and your relationship will remain fresh and alive.


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