All relationships have their own unique challenges.

Relationships come and go, and within them, they have natural ups and downs. They can be a primary source of pain for a lot of people. Sometimes it is hugely rewarding to work through issues, and grow and heal together. Other times we need to acknowledge that the relationship has served its purpose, lessons have hopefully been learned, and people both need to move on.

We need to be real and show up as our true selves for a good relationship to have a solid foundation.

We need to have shared values, most of them at least.

We need to respect the other person as the separate being they are, and not see them as an extension of ourselves. Or a source to have our needs met – they’re a partner, not a parent. Or a child.

In a marriage or partnership, no one wants to feel like a child who constantly needs to be corrected, reprimanded, or controlled.

Make requests, not demands.

Express your feelings, rather than declare your opinions as fact. Ask your partner about their feelings on the subject. Reassure each other that it’s not your intention to hurt them, or make them feel wrong in any way.

We all have issues and baggage. The reasons for this are not as important as knowing that they exist.

An essential ingredient in all healthy relationships is the need to show up for each other in ways that are meaningful to them, not what we would like, – what they want and need.

Not showing up, or showing up the way we want someone to show up for us, leads to resentment, which is ultimately what destroys a genuine desire to respect, trust, support, encourage, serve, and love.

What’s Important is How You Show Up

Know Your Partner’s Love Language and use it, not your Love Language.

Which one of these makes you feel most loved and cared about?

  1. Kind words – when your partner speaks kindly to you, encourages you, gives you an unexpected and genuine compliment, or tells you that he or she cares about you.
  2. Quality time – when you and your partner spend quality time together.
  3. Gifts – when your partner surprises you with a gift. The cost of the gift is irrelevant. You feel cared about because he or she spent time thinking about you and what you might like.
  4. Acts of service – when your significant other does things that make your life less stressful or more enjoyable. Like the feeling you get when you’re tired and hungry after a long day, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that the dishes are already washed, the recycling has been taken out, or there is a nice meal waiting for you.
  5. Physical affection – when you and your partner hold hands, hug, and share physical contact that reflects how much you care about each other.

Learn How to Sincerely Apologize

The first step is to recognize when an apology is in order. My general rule is:

If ___ is upset with me over something, I probably have something to apologize about.

I mean this sincerely.

When someone close is upset about something, if I dig deep enough within my memory of things I said and did and didn’t do recently, I can almost always identify something that I can take responsibility for. And I think the same is true the other way round. It really does take two, and usually both people have something that they can take responsibility for if they really honest.

How to apologize? Really feel it. Put your feelings aside for a moment, and do your best to feel the others hurt or pain. Practice this, it’s not so easy, but I guarantee you’ll be happier and less stressed.

If you keep your focus on your partner’s pain, it shouldn’t be too difficult to say you’re sorry.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m really sorry.”

“I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you.”

All fine, as long you’re genuinely sorry. And please don’t say, “I’m sorry if you were hurt by what I said (or did).”

This sends the message that you’re not fully convinced that your partner is justified in feeling hurt. Some people hear this as you saying. “I wish you weren’t so weak, but I see you’re hurt again, so I’m sorry for whatever it is that you’re feeling.”   And what’s “Whatever.”?

Focus on your partner’s pain until you can say sorry from your heart. Then say it without qualifying it.

Like, apologizing and then making an excuse for your behaviour.

Learn How to Accept an Apology

If you’re lucky enough to have a partner who knows how to take responsibility for his or her behavior and genuinely apologizes, don’t dismiss it by getting self-righteous.

For a real apology, he or she has to have some humility. Be kind, and forgiving.

The magic of being mature and willing to own your apology is that the hurt on both sides usually dissolves, and increases your compassion for each other

So apologize from your heart. Even if you still feel hurt, try not to make your partner feel any worse than he or she already does. Don’t punish your partner, let it go.

Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude

I believe that you can use the power of your thoughts to lift yourself, your partner, and your relationship into high vibration. It’s difficult and you can indeed get there.

Do this by regularly giving silent thanks for all that you’re grateful for in your partner.

If it’s helpful, keep a picture of your partner as a baby nearby and meditate on all of the good qualities that the baby in the picture came to possess as an adult despite many decades of getting hurt and disappointed by life.

When you start to take each other for granted, it becomes easier to have a fight over nothing.

Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

-Mahatma Gandhi