10 Ways to Improve the Soul of Your Relationship

/ Photo by Nelson D. /

Reverence is an attitude of honoring life.
Reverence automatically brings forth patience.
Reverence permits non-judgmental justice.
Reverence is a perception of the soul.
~Gary Zukav

I love this quote because it gets to the heart of what’s most important in a relationship: a deep respect for each other. When we respect each other, we honor each other; we bow to our partner daily. To respect our partner requires patience, taking it slow, and being attentive. We are patient with the highs and lows in our relationship.

Respect asks that we don’t engage in harsh criticism of each other. When kindness and appreciation are present in a relationship, we give our relationship the gift of longevity. The kindness feeds and nourishes the relationship.

Respect brings out the sacredness in a relationship, elevating it from personalities to souls, from the mundane to the profound. Respect allows the relationship to enter a spiritual domain.

Making a grocery list is probably easier than creating a list on how we’d like to treat each other in a relationship. We are all rusty at setting boundaries in relationships. Well, let’s start our own list now, and we’ll get the hang of it.

1. Speak kind words. Pay special attention to the quality of words used when you talk with your partner. Harmony is more likely to prevail in an atmosphere of kindness.

2. Notice positive shifts in your partner: a new haircut, a new shirt, or a new attitude. This is mindfulness practice in relationships.

3. Show gratitude to your partner. The more specific your words are, the better.

I am grateful that you attended the opening night of my art show.
I am grateful that you made peppermint tea for me when my stomach hurt.
I am grateful that you are my partner. You are a blessing in my life.

Dress it up: Put your gratitude note in writing in an email, a card, or in pink passion lipstick on the bathroom mirror.

4. Let your partner know how beautiful he/she is. You can change the words: handsome, stunning, gorgeous — BEAUTIFUL. But say it. We all feel some insecurity about our appearance. Hearing the word ‘beautiful’ is the best beauty treatment there is.

5. Respect each other’s stuff. Don’t use each other’s belongings without permission. The simplest one: Don’t eat the cookie, the leftovers that aren’t yours in the refrigerator. Ask first.

6. Attend to ‘ghosts’ in your relationship early on. Ghosts are patterns in relationships that carry over from childhood family dynamics. Once we are aware of a ghost and address it by name (any destructive pattern: alcoholism, workaholism, abuse, etc.), the ghost’s influence will dissipate.

Humility in relationships scares away ghosts and arrogance will egg them on. Be humble. Bring in a third party for counsel when you need to – a therapist, a marriage counselor, or a healer.

7. Argue skillfully using tact, a caring voice, and listen. Avoid yelling, debating, or shooting insults at your partner. Read number one several times before starting an argument. Arguing is necessary at times to pull weeds in your relationship, and to clear unhealthy patterns.

8. Celebrate successes, the little ones and the big ones. This is a ritual you establish in your relationship to recognize progress. Staying with your daily exercise program is as important as finishing grad school. They both earn a gold star.

9. Entertain the Child in the relationship; have some FUN. Go bike riding and grab a double chocolate ice cream cone afterwards.

10. Just be. Just sit by your partner’s side. Just be there.

Sit with your loved one at a feared doctor’s appointment.
Return home early from work to spend the evening with your partner.
At dawn, gaze at your partner’s face in slumber, with admiration and love.

Just be there.

What would you like to add to this list that’s worked in your relationship?

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