We just cruise along, day after day, week after week, without any hint of friction or tension. It’s a wonderful experience, and one that we still marvel at each day. We’ve explored this by writing blogs and books that share what is involved in having a peaceful relationship because we feel so strongly that this experience is available to most of you. We’ve discussed what those factors are for us; a key part of this is the way we process disagreements by talking personally. By clarifying each person’s wants and needs we can always find a mutual solution.
It’s not often that we even do that. Our relationship is like riding a bicycle. The adjustments necessary to stay in balance are often so automatic that we don’t even see what they are. But there’s one big difference from riding a bike. A beginning cyclist sees lots of people riding successfully; it’s obviously a skill that can be acquired. That’s not the case for relationships, where a falling-out is seen as such a normal occurrence that relationships without them are presumed not to exist.
Except that ours does. One black swan disproves the assumption that all swans are white. Therefore you, too, can have this experience. In reflecting on Phil’s question, we’ve come to realize that although the two big rules are to believe it is possible, and to practice it all the time (what we’ve called belief and intention), there are also many little things we do that help keep us in harmony.Little things you can do in your relationship that make all the difference #relationships #quote Click To Tweet
- Regularly acknowledge each other and show appreciation in words and deeds.
Here we are referring to things that can make you feel loved and all warm and fuzzy inside, even though they may be the littlest of gestures. We do some small thing that we know our partner needs or wants but just doesn’t have time for (with no crowing loudly over doing it); we toast each other when having wine with dinner; we get a card when there is no occasion and write something sweet and personal inside; one of us plans a surprise activity that we know the other wants to do; we can put our selves aside to do something that’s not at the top of our list, but our partner wants to do it together; we stop what we are doing when our partner comes toward us and spend a moment or two just hugging or smiling at each other; we share life’s small events without having to work out a solution and can just enjoy knowing we are being heard; the list goes on. These are some of ours, and each couple will have their own. The important thing is to have them!
- View your partner positively.
How we see the world depends much more on our internal beliefs than how the world actually is. Several studies say that 80% or 90% of our perceptions are self generated. So take a charitable view of your partner. If you see them in terms of their flaws, you will never be satisfied. There will always be something to complain about, whether directly or to your friends. Something could always be better.Don’t go there. Resist it by listening and looking at the good features. Are they honest? Do they spell correctly? Do they buy you flowers? I bet you could make a list of 50 good things about your partner. If not, aim for 20. If you can’t find 5, call your travel agent.
- Be consistent.
Although each of us has our ups and downs, healthy days and sick days, happy days and sad days, still, never once does one of us turn into a different person entirely. Many of you will probably recognize what we mean here, but just to clarify, both of us have been in relationships with people where you come home and an almost totally different person greets you. Someone who is moody or angry, hostile or distant seems to have replaced your partner while you were gone. We believe that our constancy comes from each of us having spent time learning about ourselves and who we are. This reflects in a consistent behavior and an ability to be who you are at all times no matter what else changes. This leaves both of us feeling relaxed, safe and secure in the knowledge that our partner is always going to be the person we know and not a stranger inhabiting their body!
- Learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant.
Do this by checking in with your core values and remembering that the two of you are matched in this area. Really, how important is it that your coffee is served in that special mug you got on that trip to New York? Don’t be that special snowflake who has a meltdown because the salad dressing wasn’t served on the side or the muffins are over-toasted. Life is too short to waste time on such things.
- Take time to laugh and play together.
We spend time together just for the sheer pleasure of it and not to accomplish something. All too often the time mates share with each other becomes all about taking care of life’s business, and we all have piles of that. It is really important to just play together in whatever way you both enjoy, and to do this for no other reason than you want to be together.If you think you are too busy for this, think again. No relationship can survive peacefully without time away from taking care of business, spent on just plain being together.
- Find ways to have regular moments of physical contact.
We like to hold hands while walking, greet each other with an embrace in the morning, sit with our legs touching and hug every now and then. Maintaining regular non-sexual physical contact is an almost magical way to keep joy and peace in your relationship. There is something very powerful that gets exchanged on the non-verbal level and it strengthens and supports togetherness.
Remember, it’s the little things that really count. Pay attention and make sure you don’t miss this critical part of successful and peaceful relating!