Relationships, especially intimate ones, require work, dedication and patience. Great relationships just don't happen "“ they happen because both people are willing to commit time and energy to it. Although building and maintaining a mutually gratifying relationship does require effort, the ideas and concepts are simple ones. In fact, the following three ideas provide a proven roadmap for relationship success:
1. Keep the relationship a priority
2. Learn to embrace differences
3. Focus on what you love and appreciate in your partner
In the beginning, you and your partner were strangers to one another. After meeting and agreeing to a handful of dates, passion and curiosity soon developed. Think back to the time early in the relationship. There were probably frequent and romantic dates; long telephone calls where your life stories' were shared; and a hunger for one another when you were apart.
Then, something happened. Life got in the way. Although not very noticeable at first, the novelty worn off even though the relationship became more serious. Work, bills and the needs of the children began to trump the needs of the relationship.
If your relationship is lacking the spark it once had, consider getting back to the basics. Plan dates, call one another just to talk "“ not just to exchange information, and make your love a priority. Imagine what your life might be like without this person, and then begin to live each day as if it were the last day with him or her.
Learn to embrace differences
The clichÃ© that opposites attract is especially true when it comes to maintaining a quality relationship. Chances are very good you are in a committed relationship with someone who is completely different from you. Typically, we seek people who are not like ourselves, because we don't always like what we see in ourselves.
It is often the differences in the relationship that provide the foundation for conversations and dream sharing. Take advantage of being close with someone who does not have the same life experiences as you do. There is tremendous value from gaining the perspective of someone you trust.
Yes, your partner may not do or say everything in the same way you would, but by sharing a mutual respect and appreciation will strengthen your relationship and place it on a very sturdy foundation.
Focus on what you love and appreciate in your partner
Over a period of time, there is always the temptation to begin taking each other for granted. Sometimes we get so busy trying to impress everyone else in our lives, we forget to save our best energy for the person who we have chosen to share a life with. Refrain from "picking" on your partner, and instead focus on what he or she does well. Tell your partner what you respect and admire in him or her.
Focus on more of what you love about your partner, not on what you don't like. Take the time, in your thoughts, words and actions, to be appreciative of the other person and watch how your relationship improves.
About Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell is the author of The Next 45 Years. The purpose of The Next 45 Years to share meaningful ideas, strategies and stories to improve relationships, sustain happiness and create lasting success for the next 45 years of our lives and beyond. After all, it's not about how you started in life, it's about how you finish. To read more inspirational stories and articles, please visit: www.thenext45years.com