Relationships are hard, when the honeymoon period ends they can get complicated and confusing. And when you add children into the mix it is easy for the relationship to start to spiral downhill into resentment, anger and daily frustration.
However, there are a few simple rules which anyone can follow to get their relationship back on track, rebuild the connection and rekindle the love.
These rules may be simple, but walking the walk when it comes to relationships can be tricky and require real dedication and commitment. So it is important to keep the end result in our minds and keep revisiting the rules when things get tough so we keep on track and build that perfect partnership of our dreams.
Here are my simple rules for building the perfect partnership.
Rule 1 - Make your Love Unconditional
So often relationships descend into a 'bartering' phase, when love or effort within the relationship is given in return for something else and life becomes a competition of who has given more, who's the most tired and who needs to 'step up'.
Especially when households are filled with children, noise, chores and chaos. Once a relationship is in this 'bartering' phase, it becomes harder to go back to unconditional love and the bickering and arguing starts to take hold of everyday life.
By making the love you have for the other person unconditional, it means you are putting that person first. The 'bartering' stops and your partner's happiness is put above everything else. Life is not about us, life is about them. Making sure they are happy, supported, cared for and listened to.
It is only when you have 2 people, each living for the other, that you have the perfect, unstoppable relationship.
Rule 2 - Developing the Belief of Positive Intent
By committing to a relationship with another person we are believing that this person, no matter what happens or how they may sometimes behave, always has positive intent. There is an understanding of no blame. Even if sometimes we cannot understand or agree with the behaviour we see (and therefore interpret in our own way), we must shift our focus to believing there is no negative intent and that whatever has happened it is just two individuals who may have seen and interpreted things differently.
We need to shift our inner story about these situations to help us see things differently. "He looks angry" becomes "He just doesn't understand me right now" and we take the breathing space needed to let the situation calm down so the conversation can be explored fully at a later time when our minds are more open to differing opinions.
When we do resolve an argument, we must explain things from our own understanding of what we meant so 'I'm sorry but you...." becomes "I'm sorry but I...." and we try to explain that we know the intention was pure but we just couldn't understand the different elements which upset us.
We need to remember that no matter what someone has done, this is not who they are. People can act in a range of different ways when overwhelmed, scared, angry or hurt, but this doesn't reflect on them as a person, only the way they have been taught to respond to different emotional triggers in their past.
Rule 3 - Vulnerability and Honesty
One of the most difficult parts of a long term relationship is being completely honest. Being totally honest makes us vulnerable and this can be scary for people, especially if they have been hurt in the past. But to have an unbreakable relationship we must show courage and vulnerability to the other and tell the truth with kindness. This is how we grow and learn to be the best partner we can be.
Just as we must be honest with any negatives in our relationship, we must also live in the moment with our partner and love, admire and praise them frequently. It is only by giving information with true emotion that our brains learn to link and connect in a bond that stays true with time.
Rule 4 - Providing Freedom and Framing the Magic Moments
Whilst providing physical freedom is an important part of a relationship, what we are really talking about here is providing emotional freedom by forgiving, forgetting and by framing.
Forgiving and Forgetting is vital to being able to grow and nurture a relationship and as with everything in life, the more we put into each person we spend time with, the more we will get back in terms of love and connection.
A relationship is something that grows with us. It is not something to commit to and then expect to remain perfect for eternity with nothing more from us, it requires constant effort, dedication, and focus.
We also need to celebrate the successes and capture them using language to record them in our minds. By remembering and reliving the magic moments of our relationship, it makes sure we know what we are fighting for and gives us the constant reminder of why we are working so hard when times get tough.
By using and revisiting these 4 Connection Rules on a regular basis, we can build relationships that remain strong for an eternity and create the dream partnership, the stuff of fairytales.
We just need to take responsibility and gain the Focus and Commitment to make it happen for ourselves. We also need to remember, life doesn't happen by magic, life happens when we shift our Focus to defining and creating what we want most.
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