Ten Keys to a Great Relationship:
“The magic is gone.”

"The Kiss" by Mimi Stuart © Live the Life you Desire

“The Kiss” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

1. Avoid Polarizing

When you find that your partner differs from you in behavior, attitude or opinion, make an effort to moderate your position or you will both tend to become polarized, each partner becoming more one-sided.

For instance, if you are more of a pursuer and your partner is more of a distancer, hold yourself back from always trying to gain attention and more intimacy. It tends to push the other person into the position of seeking distance or needing more space.

Here are some other examples of opposite characteristics that couples often polarize in if they are not careful:

• the spontaneous person, the responsible one
• the talker/ the listener
• the intravert/the extravert
• the inner critic/ the judge
• the pleaser/the receiver

2. Respect

Research by John Gottman shows that if couples don’t show respect for one another at least 80% of the time their relationship will deteriorate and end up in divorce.

So show respect to one another. Pay attention to the following:

• How you speak: respectful tone of voice
• How you listen: with interest
• Value the independence, needs and desires of your partner
• Bring the best of yourself to your partner and the relationship, which includes staying healthy.

3. Self-respect

Self-respect is a gift to yourself and those around you. When you show self-respect, others tend to respect you and desire your company.

Avoid frequent self-criticism, self-contempt, or tolerating contempt or belittling from others. Turn negative self-criticism such as “I’m a loser,” into positive self-talk, such as “Next time, I’ll do it this way….”

Value yourself, your needs and desires. Stop others—respectfully—when they are disrespectful to you. In a respectful tone say “Excuse me?” or “That is not helpful.” Again, you’re doing both of you a favor. No one feels good about themselves when they treat you badly.

4. Differentiation

Emotional independence allows for deeper caring without controlling others. It is important that you:

• Stay emotionally separate

• Remain calm

• Avoid being reactive

• Don’t walk on eggshells

• Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by others’ moodiness

• Don’t allow anxiety to become infectious

• Don’t try to control others or fix all problems

The key here is to learn to tolerate the discomfort of someone else’s emotions.

5. Independence

When you remain capable of being emotionally and financially independent, you choose to stay with someone out of desire not fear.

Avoid becoming completely dependent on someone else for the following:

• Emotional support

• Financial needs

• Friendships

• Decision making

If you feel incapable of something then learn it – you will be better for it – and more desirable.

6. Caring

Find joy in being thoughtful, giving and doing kind things for another person. Particularly if you are the type who takes care of yourself, you will find great reward in being appreciative, considerate and surprising your partner with your caring and helpfulness. But do not deny them the pleasure of doing it themselves.

7. Pursue your Passions

When you pursue your passions and stay connected with your friends and family, you become more alive and connected with the different parts of who you really are. Similarly, it’s important to encourage your partner to pursue his or her favorite interests, sports, and hobbies, and to stay in touch with their friends.

People who restrict their lives to their partnership often lose vitality and end up having little from the outside world to bring to the relationship. Venture out, your partner should enjoy the fact that you’ll have more to bring to the relationship.

8. Shared Enjoyment

Make time for each other daily and include all or any combination of the following:

• Passion
• Laughter
• Fun
• Romance
• Adventure
• Conversation

If you want the magic back in your relationship, cultivate fun and romance. It may not come naturally at first. But daily laughter and adventure together will change a boring relationship to a passionate, loving one.

9. Effective Communication

Effective communication means:

• judgment
• blame
• criticism
• contempt
• manipulation

• calm demeanor
• facts
• respect for the other
• respect for your own needs and desires

10. Growth and Transformation

When we find a weak point in our relationship that we need to work on, we need to exert all effort into changing our own habits. If, for instance, you tend to be critical of your partner, it’s important to be mindful on a daily and hourly basis of your automatic tendency to criticize. You need to pay attention to that need to criticize and stop yourself by remembering that it will not enhance your relationship or make the other person feel good.

Good relationships are the result of two people’s effort to improve themselves and nurture the relationship on a daily basis. The rewards are well worth the efforts.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Pursuing passions or partnership? ‘You should spend time with me instead of going fishing!’”

Read “Overfunctioning and underfunctioning: ‘If I don’t take care of things, nothing will ever get done.’”

Watch “Effective Communication and getting what you want.”

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2 thoughts on “Ten Keys to a Great Relationship:
“The magic is gone.”

  1. jiya

    hi alison, hope you are doing great. I wanted to know how i can manage my anger when i am not convinced by the explanations of my partner. My partner and i are very happy together, enjoy each other’s company and stand by each other. But at times, when i find my partner being diplomatic or not being able yo convonce me by his explanations i get angry. My angry reaches a point where i hurt myself. Thos hurts my partner a lot and i am always embarrassed by my behavoor. I plan not to do such things next time but it happens again. I know that i need to be stro g enough so i dont make this mistake again. Bit wanted to know thw psycholpgical side of my behaviour….

    1. Alison Post author

      Hello, It’s hard to know what’s going on for you without knowing you or the situation better. Whether people lash out against others or themselves, they need to be able to get more in touch with their own needs and desires and to express them more clearly, neutrally, and with some self-empowerment, not abusively toward the other person or oneself. Sometimes when people over-react, whether through anger against someone else or self-harm, there is a desire to get a reaction in the other person to show that they care. When you realize this, it’s easier to simply be straightforward and ask for what you want. Good luck. And let me know if you can provide more details of a particular situation. Otherwise, I am just guessing. Take care.

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