By: Alexis Meads, Regular Contributor
Do you ever wonder why some relationships fail while others are totally rocking it?
I know that I have for a long time. And still do.
Now that I’m recently married, this quest seems more urgent than ever. Having been through the divorce of my parents and many of those around me, this question has burned in my mind.
So I sought answers. This knowledge comes from the relationships of my friends and clients, extensive research, and most importantly, my heart.
I’ve put together a list below of the 10 essential qualities of people who are great at relationships. Maybe you can add on your own.
The good news is that these qualities don’t need to come naturally, they are skills that can be learned.
1. They are able to release the past without allowing it to define their current relationship.
Breakups happen. And sometimes they suck. But the most important thing is to realize they don’t have to define you and your relationships going forward. People who are great at relationships have been able to wish their past lover well and move on. When things come up in their new relationship, they are conscious that this person is not the same as their ex, and they treat the situation fairly without putting past pain onto it.
2. They understand the balance of give and take.
They know that any solid relationship has an equal balance of give and take. For a long time I had trouble giving much of myself. I expected to receive from my partner, but thought that if I gave too much than I’d get exploited or hurt. My husband, on the other hand, was the opposite. In his past relationships he did nothing but give, hoping to win over love and not feeling worthy of receiving. Maybe this is why we were drawn towards one another, but we are now conscious of it and make an effort to have equal give and take.
3. They know when they need some space.
Some people disappear when they enter into their relationship. I’m sure you know them, or maybe you’ve been one yourself. They enter a relationship and stop hanging out with friends, family, or doing things they love. I’ve been there. But here’s the thing: a healthy relationship requires space between the togetherness. It’s okay to do something by yourself if that recharges your batteries. Just make sure you give your partner the same freedom.
4. They learn how to communicate authentically.
Authentic communication is a skill that needs to be practiced, over and over again. It may not come easily to some people who never felt heard as a child, or are afraid to speak up for themselves and say how they really feel. The key to authentic communication is creating a safe, loving environment within your relationship that you can both feel heard. Saying what you need to say can be scary, but not nearly as scary as bottling everything up.
5. They discover their partner’s love language and use it regularly.
Have you read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their relationships. Basically, he argues that there are five primary love languages: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Gift Giving. When you understand your primary language and that of your partner, you can make sure you’re both getting your needs met.
6. They make each other laugh.
Sometimes, it’s best to just let your walls down and share a good laugh. Often when my husband and I are in a fight and I’m being particularly pouty, he’ll crack a joke and I find myself in fits of laughter. Suddenly, whatever seemed so serious just a minute ago has completely dissolved away.
7. They release false expectations for their partner or the relationship.
Our partners are only human, just like us. Anyone who has lived with anyone for more than maybe a few weeks will realize this. It’s unfair to put false expectations on our partner because they have flaws, faults, insecurities and weaknesses just like the rest of us. But that’s what makes them, and your relationship, beautiful.
8. They stop projecting.
This in and of itself can cure 90% of relationship problems. We often project our own insecurities or faults onto our partners without even realizing it, because our ego simply can’t stand to accept them as our own. Often we’re attracted to others that have qualities within themselves that we’d like to develop. But if we fail to develop these qualities, than infatuation can quickly turn to criticism and blame. Maybe when you first met your partner they seemed “fun and spontaneous” but now are just flaky. Understand that relationships are a vehicle for our own growth.
9. They expect good things.
Self-fulfilling prophecies will come true if you expect them to. Period. If you expect for your partner to cheat, or your relationship to fail – than chances are it eventually will. Because when we believe something over a long enough period of time, we start to act in ways to prove it to ourselves. This goes for our relationships and for life. So therefore, why not expect only the best to happen? Believe me…it’s just as possible
10. Above all, they love.
They love themselves. They love their partners. They love others. They know that they are 100% complete and that their partner helps to compliment their already whole love. They’ve learned to let those walls down around their heart, slowly but surely, and open up to great, wonderful love.
Give one of Alexis' tips a try and tell us what you learned here!
Alexis Meads received her M.A. at Harvard University. She is a Certified Wellness Coach and Self-Love Expert. She helps women to fall madly in love, feel sexy and confident every day and create a life full of adventure. For more articles, visit www.AlexisMeads.com or get your FREE Digital Book from Alexis here http://alexismeads.com/gift