Good vs Great Relationships

I love you wall ConstantineD

Men hunt and women nurture right? The concept of the man who hunts for his prey, spreads his seeds and conquers while the woman is looking for a caretaker, and a healthy and providing father is a story we’ve all heard many times.  While in this day in age, “hunting” may not be as aggressive as back in the day, the modern day hunt can be seen more along the lines of wooing the female during the courting phase.

A common complaint from my female friends is that a man puts his best foot forward during the chase and courtship.  In the beginning, they have all the time and attention in the world for you, they may wine and dine you, pay compliments and their words are nothing but sweet and complimentary.

But after time, when the relationship is solidified, and the man has “conquered”, something changes. Perhaps the man gets more comfortable and feels that there is no longer a need to keep up with the chivalry and extra effort, perhaps it’s just a natural progression of the different stages of love…

Of course, often the woman changes too. Whereas the first few months were full of lace and lingerie, easy going hangouts and late nights, fast forward a year and there then floods an influx of demands, routine, and sweatpants. Case of bait and switch?!

It seems as if sometimes, when you reach the stage where you’re comfortable in the relationship, there is a sense that “cruise control” is good enough. There is an idea that the relationship will maintain organically and subconsciously, and the amount of effort and energy once required to get the relationship started tapers off. This may work for some couples, however, what makes the difference from being just a “good” relationship and a “great” one, requires more than maintenance and reacting to issues. Instead, it’s being proactive and consciously making a daily effort to invest in the relationship. And in this day in age where your “I have no time” has become your mantra and you have more face time with your blackberry than human interaction, the choice to not let laziness or the excuse of the day take hold of your daily commitment is just that – a choice and a priority.

My friend told me, “relationships are like gardens.” – BV. They need to be trimmed, groomed, and occasionally, you see a plant or a fountain that just doesn’t fit anymore, and you move it, remove it or even replace it. The point is, the garden just grows wild and perhaps even with full of weeds if you don’t put the attention, love and care that is needed to keep it beautiful.

I couldn’t’ agree more. There are a few things I think are simple yet often overlooked when you hit the “comfort” zone of a relationship. Here’s some traditions I think make for great relationships and help harvest a beautiful garden.

Quality time – Make the effort and choice to provide undivided attention when together. While this may not be possible all the time, being distracted and non-present should be exceptions, not common occurrence.

Both people must be on the same page when committing to growing and investing in the relationship. If both people, everyday, think about how they can build the relationship and make the other person happy, the relationship will balance and flow.

Be polite and courteous. Never be derogatory or condescending even when joking around.

Give more than you take. Think of the other person before yourself. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes is the seed to compassion and empathy.

Don’t go to sleep upset.

Treat each other with respect, love and care.

Say what you mean. Do what you say. The minute you break a promise, even a small one, you lose trust. If you really want something, you’ll find a way. Excuses for not delivering mean you just didn’t want it badly enough.

Greet each other in a loving and excited way. I learned this from Tony Robbins. He made the comparison to how the excitement of when a dog greets you and how that increases happiness. I see how that really can set the tone. Imagine every time you walk through the door your partner greets you with the biggest hug and smile? What a great feeling.

And of course, communicate. Even the strongest love won’t prevail if there isn’t a healthy exchange of communication that is based in love and honesty, not pride and ego.

3 Comments

  • Reply May 17, 2010

    Jackie

    Love your articles. Keep it up!

  • Reply May 24, 2010

    anna

    you inspire me!!!

  • Reply December 7, 2010

    Ana

    I really love reading your blog. Keep up the great work.

Leave a Reply