If someone were to ask you to rate your own relationship, in its current standing and condition, what would you give it on a scale of 1 through 5; 1 being dreadful and just want to run away and 5 being fantastic and fulfilling and want to showcase it to everyone?
If you scored less than a five, I encourage you to read on and consider ways to improve. This article will ask some questions to help us think about the current standings of our relationship, why it matters, and what we can do to improve it.
It is important to note that a score of five is highly uncommon. A four is even pushing it, if we are being brutally honest in our evaluation. When I asked you in the title, “How would you rate your relationship, right now,” what instantly came to mind? It’s amazing? It’s great if such and such would improve? Maybe some habit of our partner instantly came to mind that you just wish would change?
If something instantly came to mind that wasn’t “your” ideal, then there is need for improvement. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is good that you can point out an issue because it gives you a starting point.
Many couples won’t do such an activity. Day after day the couple will simply exist. They will have kids, and the kids will simply exist, too. I am all about quality time together watching a movie or something, but we can’t simply just exist in front of a TV or video game system. We are given the gift of life and we must do something with it.
We thrive in attitude and character when we are progressing, not when we are on cruise-control or auto-pilot.
I think my relationship is on Cruise-Control
If there is a chance that a couple is just cruising through life, going to work, coming home and eating, going to sleep, and then doing it all over again, the relationship is likely to stagnate. Couples can live a long time this way. If each person’s most basic needs are met, and the bills are paid, then what’s the issue?
As stated above, we thrive when we are progressing. This is true for our relationship and our careers. As long as there is forward movement, all will be happy and satisfied. So, if we don’t strive to improve, we stagnate. This means that we lose momentum. Lost momentum in one area can start to affect other areas. Progress and forward movement in one area will start to affect other areas.
Instead of living a stagnated life on cruise-control, let’s consider what we might be missing.
Did you know that there are couples doing fun, exciting things right now? There are literally couples out there that are enjoying pleasant conversation with each other, and not kicking and screaming and clawing as they struggle to get distance from the other.
I say this because there are many couples that might be constantly bickering with each other, denying each other intimacy, and can’t see their relationship as anything but what it is right now.
So, for the couple who is experiencing love and joy and progress in their relationship, what is it that allows them to do this while we are stuck fighting and avoiding each other?
Priorities, I suppose.
What is important to us? Is it important for us to get on the other’s case for something they did? Is it important for us to give the other the silent treatment so they can learn a lesson?
When is the last time you and your partner did something to improve the relationship?
If the relationship is stagnated, and is on cruise-control, then the mood will be very bland at best. Our showcase couple, who is out enjoying their relationship right now, living the relationship dream, is experiencing happiness and excitement and romance. Why?
Because the activity they have engaged in promotes this kind of emotion. If you do boring things, your emotional state is going to reflect that. This means, low energy, slow quiet conversations about nothing of importance; especially not of future relationship goals, vision, and progress.
But in the relationship where getting out and doing something exciting happens, the couple is constantly seeking to “one-up” the experience. “What will we do next time?” is the question they ask each other. They are already preparing for next time.
With this constant drive for adventure and togetherness, the couple inevitably grows in love and pleasure for each other. By seeking out the best experiences they can have together, they are literally lining themselves up for even greater opportunity to progress further.
If you want to improve your relationship starting today, then it is vital to put the past behind you; both of you. Make a choice that from this moment on, we will move on from what happened yesterday, and seek out what we can do for fun and adventure, together, from this point forward.
Work is work; we still need to go. But when we aren’t working, what can we do with our partner for fun and adventure?
What would your best relationship look like?
In planning what we as a couple might do for adventure and fun, we should ask ourselves and each other, “What would our best relationship look like if it could be anything?”
This is where it is necessary to start seeing our partner as a vital part of making this possible. Both of us must choose that we want to improve, and both of us must get involved and put in effort.
Say, our ideal best relationship would be one where there is no debt, some good investments, and a lot of travelling together creating memories while experiencing new cultures and new foods and making amazing friendships across the world.
Maybe it just includes having dinner together each night, cuddling on the couch, dreaming of the future, and some regular romance and intimacy.
By agreeing together what it is that would make the relationship great, there becomes a goal, or a target, to aim for. Now we can start working together to figure out what needs to change or improve to make this ideal relationship possible.
We must evaluate any habits or mindsets that might prevent us from moving forward. Forward progression involves a vision of where we want to be, backed by continuous focus on the end-goal.
If anything comes to mind that would prevent this, or slow progress, that is what must be addressed promptly.
What are 3 things you and your partner could improve on?
When we analyze ourselves, we can often come up with a list of things that we would love to change about ourselves if we could just find the time.
Now is that time. Ask your partner out for a nice dinner and bring a notebook and pen. The location isn’t important. If a restaurant isn’t in the budget right now, consider making a nice dinner and asking them to show up on time.
During dinner, in pleasant conversation, ask each other to think of 3 things that each of you do personally that, if changed, would help to improve the relationship. We aren’t telling the other what we believe they need to change; we want to dig up what we need to change about self.
Telling the other what they need to change will only lead to defensive behavior. Instead, this criticism is for ourselves to offer up some things that we currently do, that we agree is stumping up progress.
It might be things like, “I like to watch my shows at night and I believe there is probably something better we could be doing,” or “I know I have a bad habit of overspending when shopping and if I would just stick to the budget, we would probably climb out of debt faster.”
Whatever it is that comes to mind is helpful. Any improvement here is progress in the relationship, and promotes movement towards a better future.
If we can only come up with one thing each right now, then great. Can we imagine for a moment, how much better the relationship would be if we each changed that one thing for the better?
It would make a difference indeed. Anytime we can change poor habits for good, we improve our chances for success.
Treat your relationship like business; do evaluations regularly to monitor growth
I realize the relationship isn’t business. But just like in business, we want to see growth in our relationship.
Everyday we are given the opportunity to go out and explore and learn. We are wise to make use of everyday. If we do this over the course of our life, how much wisdom would we acquire? How many skills would we have?
Our relationships are similar. Instead of going it alone, we are now able to venture out each day together and explore and learn. Again, we are wise to make use of this privilege each day. By learning a new relationship skill, and practicing it together each day, and constantly working on self-improvement for the betterment of the relationship, what would that relationship look life over the course of life?
There are many couples who will never see the potential of their relationship. Many who will never understand the power of two, and what they can achieve together when they have a common goal.
Don’t be a common statistic. Look for ways to improve starting today; not only to improve on self, but also to improve the rating of your relationship.
I am having much more fun these days with my wife now that we are learning and improving. Our relationship was literally at a one in the past. But, through consistent improvement of self, and by learning and implementing some healthy relationship habits, we have surely moved somewhere between a three and four. We are seeking to bring it to a five, but still have some obstacles to get past.
Make this a fun thing for you and your mate. Ask them to clear their mind of all past resentments and regrets and any negativity for a few moments and explore the questions I have asked in this article.
Get excited together about possibility and potential and look for things to do to enhance the emotion of the relationship. The more fun and exciting the activity, the more fun and exciting the emotion. Do this together regularly, monitor progress, and keep learning and seeking adventure together, and watch your own relationship climb towards a five.
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How to get your spouse to hear you, by Mort Fertel.