After working with so many couples, I am convinced there are 3 Golden Rules essential for building and maintaining a great relationship.
Would you like to know what they are?
Okay then, listen up, pay close attention and when you’ve finished reading…
Put them into action in your relationship.
Golden Rule #1 Build an Appreciation Bank Account
When was the last time you told your partner how much you appreciated them taking the bins out? Or told them what an awesome parent they are?
And how frequently do you let them know you love them? That you’re proud of them, and that you feel so lucky to be with them?
Listen, your partner wants to hear you say you love them. They want to know you’re proud of what they’ve done. That you admire they way they handled that situation. And that you like it when they do the dishes before you get home.
All of these small appreciations add up.
Like a bank account.
In fact, let’s do a little thought experiment.
Imagine you’ve got a very healthy bank account. Your boiler breaks and the plumber tells you it’s going to cost £3,000 to fix. Yeah, it sucks, but you can easily cover it without hardship, so off you go.
Now imagine your account is on zero, or even worse it’s in the red. Suddenly £3,000 is a massive body blow to your finances and you’re going to struggle to cover it.
Appreciation in a relationship is the same.
Let’s say you constantly give each other appreciations for all the little things you do for each other and that you’re consistently telling your partner how much you love and admire them.
As a result, your Appreciation Bank Account is loaded with good feeling.
And then one of you does or says something stupid (you are human right?), but like the boiler example, because you’ve got such a huge buffer, that little resentment or hurt you caused barely makes a scratch in the relationship.
But if your Appreciation Bank Account is empty, there isn’t a buffer and it doesn’t take much for you to get quickly fed up with each other over relatively small things.
In my work, I regularly hear couples mention how they constantly feel like they’re walking on egg shells or through a mine field in their relationship.
And I gotta tell you, creating a healthy Appreciation Bank Account by regularly and consistently giving your partner praise and appreciation for the things they do is a powerful antidote to this.
Golden Rule #2 Truth
When you’re talking, you’re sharing your truth, not The Truth – Imagine you and I are sat in a room facing each other and in between us there’s a statue.
And we both decide to draw the statue.
You wouldn’t be surprised when we compared drawings to see that they were different.
Yes, it’s the same statue, but we’re seeing it from different perspectives.
And we wouldn’t start fighting over who’s drawing was the right drawing would we?
Because they both are.
And it’s the same when you and your partner are talking. You’re two people, describing the same situation, but from very different perspectives.
And it’s vital you understand that your perspective is your reality. But it isn’t ‘Reality’ – whatever that is.
And you need to listen to your partner so you can hear their perspective and get a glimpse into their reality.
And if you do, you might learn something. Something that stops you blundering into another argument.
So when you talk… Remember, you’re sharing your truth. Not The Truth. Your truth. And when your partner talks… They’re sharing their truth.
Or as my mum would put it…
“…no matter how thin you slice it, there are two sides.”
To which I’d add: And you’re both right.
Golden Rule #3 H.O.K.
I’ve written in depth about the value of Honest, Open and most importantly Kind conversations built upon Safety and Trust. You can read that blog post here: ‘Communication Problems? Why HOK Is The Solution – to recap…
…Honest – You’re sharing your truth, not the truth…
…Open – Don’t keep things bottled up…
…Kind – You know what kind looks like, so if you can’t be kind be quiet. Until you can be kind.
When you weave these 3 Golden Rules together, you create a really strong blanket which you can wrap around your relationship and keep you both safe, warm and snuggly.
In A Nut Shell
1. Appreciation – If you feel or think something nice about your partner, or if your partner does something you like… Tell them. Appreciation is the lubrication that keeps relationships running smoothly.
Like one of my clients put it:
Feel It, Think It, Say it!
2. Truth – No matter how thin you slice it, there are two sides and you’re both right.
3. HOK – Honest, Open and most importantly Kind conversations. Built on a foundation of safety and trust
Call To Action
If you’d like my help with your relationship here is a list of the services I offer, click the links to find out more:
Face to face couples counselling
Online couples counselling
Intensive two-day sessions click here
Bye for now
P.S. And like so many posts I write, this topic doesn’t just apply to your partner, my Golden Rules apply to everyone you love and care about.
Always remember, we’re connection forming creatures and a powerful way to strengthen those connections and to keep them healthy is by making certain those we love know:
They are loved by us
They matter to us
And they’re enough for us