How to be Happy and Create a Rewarding Romantic Relationship
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia, American Author, Professor and Philosopher
Relationships. Most people want one, yet few people seem to have mastered the art of sustaining one.
Perhaps because creating a long-term relationship with a partner depends on having a long-term relationship with yourself.
For many people, the first three months of any romantic relationship are the best. Why? Because during this time your attention is on all the good things you appreciate about your partner and their attention is on all the good in you. Who wouldn’t love that kind of romantic relationship?
The 3 Long-Term Relationship Killers
But when you move in together and little things start to bother you, then the three relationship “killers” begin to raise their ugly heads. They eat away at the love you once had for your partner until you can’t even find that love anymore.
1) Blame – “If you just weren’t __________, then we’d have a great relationship.” “Why don’t you _________? You’re destroying our relationship.” “When will you ________? I can’t take this any more.”
Blame is all about the other person. It’s their fault, if they’d just change, if they weren’t so this or that, then you both would have a wonderful relationship. Blaming is putting attention on all the things you don’t like about your partner. What do you think happens when you do that? You see more and more of their faults and the things that bother you about them. Sooner or later the relationship just isn’t any fun anymore or even worse, it becomes a daily torture.
2) Shame – “I’m a disaster when it comes to relationship.” “It’s all my fault, no wonder he/she doesn’t want to be with me.” “I’ll never have the relationship I dream of.”
Shame is blame directed at yourself. Now instead of blaming your partner, you’re blaming you. Blame is just as destructive no matter who it’s aimed at. When you see the worst in you, where do you think your partner’s attention goes? That’s right. To all the worst in you. Not the basis for a loving, long-term relationship.
3) Justification – “We don’t have enough money to be happy.” “His/her work keeps him away so much we can’t have a good romantic relationship.” “He/she lives too far away for the relationship to work.”
Justification is another form of blame, but now you’re blaming your situation or circumstances. If things were different, then the relationship could be wonderful. Just like blame and shame, justification is a subtle way of putting attention on what you don’t want and it’s a very effective long-term relationship destroyer.
All of these long-term relationship “killers” arise from our culture’s focus on looking for things outside of us to make us happy. Impossible.
How to be Happy in Your Romantic Relationship
Happiness only ever arises from within. Want to have a great relationship? Create a great relationship with yourself.
When you are in love with you, with who you are, how you show up in the world, when you love spending time with yourself, then a partner becomes an additional joy added to the joy you are already experiencing.
Yes, the right partner can help you through the tough spots. They can help you grow and overcome your own internal demons, but for that to be true, that relationship has to be based on what’s right in each of you, not what’s wrong. Your partner then becomes the one who reminds you of who you really are when things are tough. They are the one to nurture you when you’re beating yourself up.
Want to know the 4 legs that make for a stable, fulfilling, long-term relationship? Here you go:
1) Self-referral awareness – This means you look to yourself for the love, the appreciation, the caring, the nurturing that makes for a fulfilling relationship. If there are problems or obstacles, you look within for the solution and strength to deal with them. When you are able to do this, then whatever love your partner gives you becomes frosting on the cake of your own fulfillment. Self-referral awareness doesn’t mean you don’t need your partner. It simply means you are not dependent on them for your happiness and fulfillment in life. From this place, your love for your partner can truly be unconditional. You want for them what they want for themselves.
2) Finding the gift – This is just another way of saying that you consciously put attention on what you appreciate about your partner, about your relationship and about yourself. Rather than blaming them for things that bug you, you look to yourself to discover what you can learn from the discomfort you’re feeling. Playing the Appreciation Game with your partner regularly is a great way to culture your ability to find the gift.
3) Make the commitment – Romantic relationships are for your growth. They are for the purpose of your evolution, to discover who you really are, at the deepest level. Because of this, anything that is not loving will come up to be healed. The amount of growth you experience in a relationship is directly proportional to your level of commitment. The more committed you are, the more you will grow, and vice versa. So does that mean making a lifelong commitment is the key to maximum growth? Who can do that? How can you possibly know what you will feel or what will happen one year, two years, five years, ten years or 20 years from now? You can’t. So the question is, can you be fully committed to your partner right now, in this moment? When you commit to this moment, then string those moments together for 10, 15, 20, 50 years, then maybe you will look back and say “that was a lifetime of commitment.”
4) Design your rituals – Rituals are the means to organize your time, your energy and your thinking. It is through ritual that parents can spend time together, lovers can create ecstatic love-making, partners can resolve their challenges together. Structure ritual into your relationship so you and your partner get time alone on a regular basis, you have regular sessions to discuss challenges, you structure quality, loving time with your kids and you create a sacred space within which your relationship lives.
I love this quote from His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
“Enjoy your life and be happy.
Being happy is of the utmost importance.
Success in anything is through happiness.
More support of nature comes from being happy.
Under all circumstances be happy,
even if you have to force it a bit to change some long standing habits.
Just think of any negativity that comes to you
as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.
You may not always have an ocean of bliss,
but think that way anyway and it will help it come.
Doubting is not blissful and does not create happiness.
Be happy, healthy, and let all that love flow through your heart.”
Do you know how to be happy in your romantic relationship? Begin with one of these simple exercises and incorporate this relationship advice into your lfie:
1) The Appreciation Game – Play it with your partner. Each of you take turns as you appreciate something about the other, and WHY you appreciate that about them.
2) The Gratitude Game – At the end of every day write down or express 5-10 things you are grateful for in your life and WHY you’re grateful for those things.
3) The Thank you, God Game – This is a variation on the Gratitude Game and my daughter, Sophie’s favorite. With your partner, begin your sentence with “Thank you, God, for . . . because . . . “ Take turns or make it a little competition to see who can find the most things to thank God for in the time allotted.
These fun, simple games are simple rituals to consciously put your attention on the good in your life. Make that a habit and your relationships will become one more blessing in a wonderful life.
By following this long-term relationship advice you can create a life of happiness with your partner and live a life filled with passions. If you enjoyed this article please share and comment below!
Janet Bray Attwood
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