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It’s easy to fantasize about your relationship to be amazing but we all know making it that way takes effort.  Some say it’s hard.  I say having a shitty relationship takes just as much effort.  What makes the best relationship ever is the every day interactions that might not seem to matter.  The little glances and comments that either build or tear down.  Here are 4 cornerstones to build a great foundation for a beautiful, strong castle of a relationship.

1)  Take responsibility for your love and desire for your partner

It’s no one else’s job to make you be in love with them or make you desire them.  It’s 100% your job to create love and desire in your relationship. If you are not experiencing these things then you can speak up about what you need.

Here you find those who expect their lover to make them attracted.  You find those who point fingers of entitlement, blaming lovers for not reading their minds and fulfilling unspoken desires.  If your lover doesn’t know what you want, they can’t give it to you.  NEVER assume they know and aren’t doing it.  That is a cop out.  Many people want, but don’t know how to have.  And if they have, they find more to want.

Skill: Learning how to own what is yours and let your partner own what is theirs.  

2)  Communicate about what you need with compassion

If you are not in desire and love with your partner it always feels worse to come forth with it then to suffer silently but the silent suffering is what kills many relationships that could have otherwise made it.

Here you find martyrs who don’t think their partner can handle the truth.  When in reality it would be the best thing for both involved to air out the issue EVEN if it means it would be the end of the relationship.  Many times the one withholding is actually the one most afraid of losing their partner and their partner would be hurt, but happy to know the truth and move on.  The truth must be told.  A house of cards will always come crashing down.

Skill: Learning how to deliver sensitive information in a confident yet empathetic manner.

3)  Listen to what your partner needs without taking it personally

Every need and desire is valid in the world of the one who has it, even if it makes no sense in the world you live in.  Through listening to the deeper need of your partner the worlds can be merged and co-exist.  Compromises can be made that work for both of you.  Nothing that exists in their world is personal to you, and making it so takes away your partner’s experience and makes everything about you.

Here is where you find people who take communication personally and manipulate their partner with their emotional reactions.  And in turn partners who don’t speak up because of how their partners will react.  This cycle can be broken by either party.  How do you get a child to stop throwing tantrums?  Listen, respond, and don’t let them manipulate you.  If you are the one taking it personally, remember this is a need your partner has and NOT a personal attack on your character.

Skill: Learning how to listen to triggering information without making it about you.

4)  Be willing to put effort in to adjust behavior patterns that don’t serve

This is ‘the ring that rules them all’ so to say for anyone who is a Lord of the Rings nerd like me.  If both people aren’t willing to do their own personal work AND relationship work it won’t have the potential that it could.  Relationships that function the best contain two people working toward the common goal of mutually shared joy, peace, love and passion.  If one isn’t willing to do their part to take responsibility, communicate, and listen, then cohesive relationship can be elusive.

You can work something out as long as both people are willing to.  If it ever becomes all one persons fault it’s a sign that the one who takes no responsibility isn’t ready for a relationship.  It’s never about one person doing the work and the other person being perfect.  It’s about both people being willing to create the relationship they want.  If you don’t want to do that, maybe you don’t really want to be with this person or with anyone.  Remember, if you run away from something, you will find it in the next, and the next, and the next, until you face it.  If it seems your partner is running away from you, let them and see if they come back on their own. You deserve to be with someone who will meet you half way.

Skill: Giving your all or not at all.

If your relationship was a house, what kind of house would you want it be?   A beautiful castle with lots of space and air or a dingy shack in a swamp.  It’s the little things that make a house a home.