Following is a list of Valentine suggestions for how to be the very best partner, spouse, lover and/or mate you can be.
Don’t use lame excuses to avoid doing your very best in your intimate relationship, such as “I don’t have the time or the energy.” If your mate doesn’t rank up there with your work, your ball games, chores and your favorite TV show, why don’t you simply get a dog for companionship and save yourself the trouble of dealing with another human being?
It’s giving, being affectionate, expressing yourself openly and effectively, listening well, being responsive, and staying lovingly engaged and involved that make relationships work. If you permit yourself to do your very best in your relationship day in and day out, you’ll be a happier person; you’ll keep your love alive; you’ll add depth and meaning to your relationship; you’ll reduce the chance that your partner might cheat; you’ll increase your probability of staying together; you’ll be a great role model for your children; you’ll strengthen your self-esteem; you’ll have sex more often; you’ll stay young at heart; and, you will have achieved something very few have accomplished.
Here are some suggestions about how to be the best intimate partner you can be:
- You must give to your relationship more than you receive from it. Learn this—and form the habits of giving, pleasing, serving, nurturing, being affectionate, romancing. If you take more than you give, the reservoir of trust, good will, generosity and love will dry up.
- Loving isn’t enough. You must also be skilled, tactful, in control of your words, actions and reactions, kind, compassionate and emotionally and physically present.
- That being said, say “I love you” and use endearments often.
- Let your partner know what s/he does right. Most of us are so good at letting our partners know what they do wrong.
- Ask these questions of your mate monthly: “How am I doing as your partner/spouse? Are there ways I can improve? Are your needs getting met in our relationship? If not, what would you like me to do differently?”
- Figure out healthy, positive ways of dealing with grievances, disagreements and past wounds. Learn to work through disagreements with honesty, empathy and compassion.
- Let your partner know s/he makes a difference in your life, and how your life is enriched because of your relationship with him/her.
- The key to doing your best in a relationship is to learn how to take your wall down and to open up your heart—and keep it open. The hardest thing to do in a relationship is to hang in there with a truly open heart—in the face of our partner’s insensitivity, withdrawal, unkind words, inconsistency, anger or hostility.
- Make sure that the positive, kind, supportive, friendly, empathetic, compassionate comments and behaviors that you make to your intimate partner far outweigh the critical, negative, angry, judgmental, unfriendly comments and behaviors.
- Be responsive and take seriously whatever your partner says is important to him/her.
Quit looking at how you could have a better partner—and start looking at how you can be a better partner.