What are you practicing for a great relationships?
When we conducted our study, “Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love,” these are the practices that respondents told us had held them in good stead as they grew their relationships.
As you read through the list, assess your own relationship’s strengths and weaknesses, and congratulate yourself for the areas where you shine. The list can also help you identify where work may still be required from you and your partner.
1. Cultivating vision by asking yourself, “What’s available? What’s possible here?”
2. Risking by growing courage and assertiveness.
3. Showing up for what’s happening.
4. Accepting/letting go/surrendering to what is.
5. Staying on top of incompletions.
6. Flexibility: Being able to change channels.
7. Being able to distinguish truth from imagination.
8. Letting go of guilt and seeing its source.
9. Allowing yourself to receive help and be supported; being a gracious receiver
10. Creating a community of support by accepting physical and emotional support and connection.
11. Practicing gratitude, especially when you’re resentful or feeling self-pity.
12. Practicing compassion for yourself and others when there is mistreatment or unkindness.
13. Being open and vulnerable.
14. Having trusting relationships with others who can see what you can’t.
15. Telling the truth.
16. Refusing to lie, and refusing to lie to yourself.
17. Practicing patience when you are tired of waiting.
18. Regularly checking in with yourself and with your partner.
19. Setting boundaries and stopping before you get to your limit.
20. Not withholding love.
21. Willingness to feel the pain.
22. Creating a close primary relationship through giving and loving abundantly.
23. Living with authenticity.
24. Being willing to feel.
25. Letting others know how you feel.
26. Acknowledging vulnerability, fears, needs, and desires.
27. Dis-identifying with the ego/body.
28. Taking solace and comfort wherever you find it.
29. Creating work that you love, which heals you as you do it.
30. Being involved with your kids’ friends.
31. Outgrowing the need for others’ approval.
32. Not taking on others’ projections.
33. Practicing acceptance of the little pains and losses.
34. Using all experiences in life to deepen spiritual practice.
35. Staying current and complete with everyone in your life, all the time.
36. Trusting the truth of your experience.
37. Refusing to accept a victim identity.
38. Taking responsibility for everything in your life.
39. Refusing to engage in blame of self or others.
40. Staying away from bad therapists.
41. Staying out of the mainstream.
42. Making a big space for the dark shadow, to include your craziness, weakness, helplessness, vulnerability, hatred, ignorance, and prejudice.
43. Taking care of your body.
44. Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance.
45. Practicing humility.
46. Knowing how to replenish and refuel—and doing it.
47. Trusting your body, not your mind.
48. Knowing what feels right, and going after it.
49. Continuing to give no matter what.
50. Working if you can; if you can’t, don’t.
51. Doing whatever it takes to get you through the night.
52. Practicing generosity of spirit.
53. Finding something to be grateful for always.
54. Accepting love from others, even if you doubt you are worthy or deserving.
55. Avoiding comparisons.
56. Reducing attachments to preferences.
57. Finding the teachings and blessings in everything.
58. Saying “yes” to everything life brings you.
59. Living in such a way as to be worthy of trust and respect.
60. Participating fully in grief work.
61. Experiencing feelings and emotions; expressing and acknowledging feelings through journaling, group work, and/or therapy; and looking for opportunities to communicate feelings.
62. Living with mindfulness, presence, and/or meditation.
63. Finding your courage, so you can risk challenging yourself and pressing the edge.
64. Going outside of your comfort zone.
65. Asking for help and requesting support.
66. Containing or holding feelings, which is not the same as repressing or suppressing them.
67. Expressing spontaneously.
68. Checking in with self and other.
69. Stating your intention and checking your intention.
70. Taking downtime.
71. Living a life of service, contribution, volunteerism, generosity, and giving.
72. Committing to compassionate self-care.
73. Drawing boundaries.
74. Saying “no” without explanation, justification, rationalization, or excuses.
75. Uncovering and recognizing the fear.
76. Making requests.
77. Only making agreements you are committed to keeping.
78. Going on a “should” fast.
79. Checking in and only doing what you can do without feeling obligated.
80. Doing only what you want to do, rather than acting from a sense of duty or obligation. If there isn’t a desire, don’t do it.
81. Playing—doing activities for no reason other than they provide fun or pleasure.
82. Looking at your motives and intentions with keen self-examination.
83. Witnessing in the state of non-judging awareness.
84. Allowing yourself solitude.
85. Spending time in nature.
86. Forgiving when you’ve been wronged or wronged another. Forgiving everyone.
87. Breathing consciously.
88. Identifying, cultivating, and strengthening talents.
89. Setting goals: What do you want to experience? How often?
90. Slowing down, and examining the fear of slowing down.
91. Holding the tension of the opposites.
92. Withholding opinions, advice, and philosophy unless it is solicited.
93. Taking timeouts and saying things like, “I need a moment to think about that.”
94. Declining requests and invitations.
95. Finding and honoring your own pace and rhythm, rather than going along with others.
96. Practicing non-judgment by going on a “blame fast.” This will prompt learning to distinguish the “judge” from your authentic self.
97. Building strength, both physical and intellectual.
98. Discovering the gold in the shadow, and befriending it, rather than resisting it.
99. Look for the growth opportunity in each breakdown—any situation which involves a disappointment in the expectations of self or others or circumstances. See it as a means of strengthening specific character traits.
100. Becoming a better, more loving, stronger, more whole person.
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Written by Linda and Charlie Bloom
Originally appeared in Psychologytoday
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