Most people have heard that relationships, particularly intimate relationships, take a lot of work. But what most people don’t know is that relationships don’t have to be hard work.
I have discovered from working with my clients that most people run into two specific problems when it comes to maintaining and improving any of their relationships.
The first is that they fall into a lazy-mindset after a short period of time and expect the relationship to maintain itself. The second problem is that most of the effort that is put into a relationship, if any effort is made at all, is done with the misunderstanding that the other person values what they themselves value, and therefore do things that prove to be worthless to the other person.
Starting a relationship is easy, but because good relationships are built on cooperation and equal commitment, relationships rarely maintain themselves.
People get involved based on many different factors, but after a short time has passed, people usually find themselves frustrated and feeling undervalued or taken for granted. This is especially true with intimate relationships but often occurs in other relationships as well. Have you ever wondered “What went wrong?”
The initial factors that had drawn two people together don’t disappear over time, but instead, the efforts of the people involved usually declines as their focus shifts to other life matters when a regular routine is developed in the relationship.
When you get into a relationship where you feel disconnected, do an inventory of your efforts to foster the relationship. What have you consciously done in an attempt to make the other person feel valued and appreciated? Maybe you had gotten caught up in other things and stopped doing things that the other person enjoyed and appreciated (and vise versa). Or maybe you have been putting effort into the relationship but haven’t seen any improvement. What then?
Most people do things that they themselves like and would appreciate, but often find that their efforts are not noticed or appreciated by the other person, mostly because it is rare for two people to value and desire the same things.
Let’s look at intimate relationships between men and women first. Most people admit that men and women think very differently, and value different things. With that being said, how much effort has either party put into really understanding what they could do that their partner would actually value and appreciate?
For example, most women value romantic gestures, like receiving random “thinking of you” expressions (greeting cards, flowers, candy, etc.). Most men do not value these things, so not only do they not naturally go there mentally, but sometimes doing things like that seems pointless to them. If a man wants to help his partner feel more loved, taking the time to do something like this for his partner could make a big difference.
Sometimes all it takes is a gentle touch, an unexpected hug, foot massage or an authentic compliment to make a woman feel loved. Usually it is the smaller gestures that accumulate over time that foster positive feelings in someone. Likewise, an accumulation of negative or neglectful experiences foster negative feelings.
Getting your relationship on track or taking it to the next level will take your conscious effort over a period of time, but if something is important enough, the effort will be easily mustered up. And the more energy you put into what your partner values, over time, your partner will usually want to reciprocate.