Celebrating the Milestones
It’s exciting when you get to celebrate smalls wins and those lovely sweet moments in life!
As of writing, I get to celebrate my 23rd Anniversary with my husband, business partner, and lifelong best friend. I can say lifelong because we’ve been together for over half my life on this planet! And yes, we did meet at a gym and eventually fell in love. That my friends are what gym mirrors are for (wink).
Since 1997, we have been traveling through life and exploring the world together. Over the last 10 years, we’ve lived abroad in Canada and the USA. Visited 14 countries (a total of 171 places worldwide) and have explored 117 locations throughout the USA. Our couple’s goal is to explore all of the States in the USA.
Which brings me to this.
Travel the Ultimate Relationship Test
Guys, if your relationship can survive the travel test you have a good one!
From my experience (and failures over the years) I’ve learned that it’s super important to work on your own personal development and growth first.
“The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you. “Now I say, I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.” – Jim Rohn
If you have some fractured parts and you expect others to fix them (tip: it’s not their job) you’ll be in for a rough brutal ride.
Rather you want to do the personal work, move through your emotional junk – so that you can bring the best value to the most important person in your life.
Here are my top relationship tips, they’re simple, but they are not easy. It’s here that your personal development and growth comes into play.
My Top 15 Tips (spanning 25+ years)
I hope that these ideas serve you. When I use the generalizing word “never” I really do mean it.
Tip 1. Treat the most important person in your life as exactly that. Important.
When your partner speaks, be fully present with them, look at them, study their eyes. Put down your cell phone and be with them 100%. If you are unable to do so – tell them. Don’t attempt to multi-task their importance. Instead, follow-up or re-connect with them as soon as you can – distraction-free. Honor their presence.
Tip 2. Treat your partner as though you may never see them again (do this every day).
This changes your outlook on everything. Bad moods, arguments, disagreements seem superficial through this lens. Even during arguments. It’s so important. Don’t let them or (you leave) without telling or screaming (if you must lol) that you do and still love them!
Fact is: People die. And you have no control over the timing of this.
You never want to have to deal with the neurotic-guilt-grief of: “If only I had of (insert neurotic guilt)….”
Instead, adopt life through the lens of finality. It’ll make you love deeper and relish every moment (good and bad) with them.
Tip 3. As mentioned traveling together keeps stuff real. When all you have is each other in a foreign country you’ll soon learn what’s valuable and important and what’s not worth stressing or arguing about.
Tip 4. Know your relationship deal breakers (and be prepared to walk away). Have aligned personal values and couple goals. Have these decided upon before marriage and more importantly before having children. It’s not romantic! And, yes you will quickly learn where you stand and to whom you stand with. But it will save you a lot of heartbreak, sunk costs and more importantly your life and your precious time on this planet.
Tip 5. Personal integrity. In situations – would you conduct yourself in the same manner as though your partner were standing behind you? If not, then don’t do it. Simple.
Tip 6. Be prepared for the cycles and seasons of life. Reaping and sowing, highs, and lows. Enduring the daily grind all the while finding the fun and joy in it together. That is life baby!
Tip 7. Find a way to make each other laugh (daily).
Tip 8. Never leave it hanging in the air. If you see, hear or feel something in-the-moment that your partner is doing – address it right there and then – and vice-versa. Never wonder about it, start making up stories, or assume their actions or motivations. Instead, address the facts head-on, without accusation or drama. Leaving “things” unchecked can fester into mistrust, insecurities, or unnecessary worry.
Tip 9. No one is a mind reader. It’s unrealistic and immature to think that others can read your mind or tend to your needs if you don’t communicate exactly what you want from them.
(Straight-talk: Psst…Women you are responsible for your own orgasm).
Tip 10. Don’t ever try to change the other person. Let them be who they are. If their behavior is detrimental speak your mind, so they know exactly where you stand, your boundaries, and the consequences you’ll enforce. If they are violent or abusive. Leave.
Remember you teach others how to treat you. Whether they choose to change is their responsibility – not yours.
Hounding or nagging the other person to change only brings up more feelings like resentment, rebellion, and shame. No one likes to be told what to do or how to be. It’s not your role to play parent or to be the “improver” of your partner (vice-versa). Its the quickest way to be a turn-off, dull intimacy, and respect.
Tip 11. Never issue threats or ultimatums. It only causes resentment and unhappiness and will tend to backfire on you in the long run.
Tip 12. During arguments, your partner is not the enemy – you are both on the same side. Take the big picture view and ask yourself in a years time will this really matter? You can be kind or you can be right. Do your best to choose kindness – it’s also a great way to work at harnessing the ego (simple but not easy).
Tip 13. Avoid sleeping on an argument. Walk away, take time out but get it sorted – go to bed as friends (hopefully lovers) but not enemies. Keep point 2 in mind. People die.
Tip 14. Never criticize or condemn. People don’t deliberately set out to make mistakes or screw-up. You telling and reminding them (or others) of their failures is a great way to destroy any trust, respect, or loyalty. Build them up when the world wants to rip them apart.
Be the wall they can lean on when they need to rest. Always have their back and protect their six e.g. your partner is taking an important call on a busy street, be situationally aware for them.
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” — Oprah Winfrey
Tip 15. Always catch the bus. Over the years I’ve seen friends achieve great heights of wealth and success. I’ve also seen the cost of their success and the types of people it can attract e.g. the fair-weather-friends, the sycophants, the remoras (suckerfish that latch on to big fish), the “party” people.
Because of their courage to swing big, to battle in the arena of life for their goals, I’ve also witnessed their soul-crushing defeats. It’s painful, there is nothing you can do, its like watching a slow-motion car crash. If the million-dollar homes, cars, and lifestyle go, you still want to be the person that will catch the bus with them and think nothing of it.
The same applies to the most important person in your life. You want them to know that no matter what happens – you’ll still ride the bus with them. You’ll still eat canned tuna if it helps to save a little money.
No one is immune to those soul-sucky, stormy moments of life. They will come and as a couple, you better have a “Deal with it” plan.
Relationships, much like a beautiful, flourishing, hardy, garden requires work and maintenance. They need to be protected, and nurtured with constant weeding and pruning. Occasionally they might require a burn-off to enable new growth.
Remember it’s simple – but it’s not easy and that’s life.
I hope these tips offer you some value in some way.
To happy days and long life adventures!