Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

The biggest key to having a successful relationship with anyone else is to first have a successful relationship with yourself. In fact, I would say loving yourself and knowing yourself are so important that it is worth not having a serious relationship with anyone else until you do love yourself.  We all have moments of self-doubt, but generally, you should wake up in the morning happy with who you are and what you are doing with your life.

If you don’t, then love yourself enough to be selfish enough to be alone and get to know you – the real you – and learn to love you the way you are.  For some people, this may be as simple as just having a few weeks of self-reflection, and for others it will require an in-depth examination of your life and motivation and why you are who you are.  Ultimately, though, you cannot give to another person and love another person adequately until you love you.

While it’s great if you are physically attracted to your partner, the most successful relationships come when you actually like the person your partner is and don’t want to change anything.  Love intensifies and diminishes over time, but friendship only deepens.  Be friends, have things in common, and treat each other with respect.

Communicate with each other regularly.  This is more than just a grunted hello as you roll out of bed in the morning.  Make time to talk to each other and share your thoughts with each other.  Be sure to do as much listening as you do talking.  Pay attention to the needs, desires, and aspirations of your partner.

Spend time together.  No relationship will grow or survive if it is not a priority.  Make your relationship a priority – that means ditching kids, pets, jobs, and other obligations on a regular basis in order to nurture your relationship.

Expect to argue, but don’t argue to win or to hurt.  Be mindful of what you say, don’t hold grudges, don’t dredge up the past.  Avoid going to bed angry.  Listen to your partner’s side of things.  Be willing to compromise.

Be intimate.  Touch each other, look into each other’s eyes, and tell your partner you love him or her every single day.  Spend more time appreciating the person they are than being aggravated over their shortcomings.

It’s not always easy, and you won’t always be perfect, but if you really like and love the person you’re with, striving for this kind of nurturing is a great way to have a positive, happy, healthy relationship.