Most of us who have been intimately involved with someone beyond the infatuation stage know that relationships are like a rollercoaster ride. When things are good, they are very, very good. When things are bad, they are very, very bad. As a relationship coach, I have developed Top 10 Lists—one for men and one for women on 10 things to do and not to do in relationships.
1. Just listen to your partner without offering advice.
2. Trust and respect her.
3. Treat her as an equal partner in your relationship.
4. Stay and support her when she gets emotional. She is looking for understanding, not solutions.
5. Continue your courtship even after she’s committed to you. Continue to create romance in your relationship.
6. Do little things on a regular basis. A woman doesn’t care if you call her at work to say, “I love you” or if you buy a new TV for the living room. The small things are worth just as much as the big ones.
7. Honor any agreements you have made with her.
8. Encourage her goals and direction.
9. Find out what your partner would like to do and then do it with her.
10. Say, “I’m sorry” when you’ve done something you regret or that was hurtful to your partner, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
1. Go to bed angry with your partner.
2. Try to offer advice or solutions when your partner just needs you to listen to her without comment.
3. Pretend to listen to her when you really aren’t.
4. Shut your partner out when you need to sort things out in your head. Just explain you need space, you aren’t angry with your partner and that you’ll be back.
5. Criticize your partner, especially her appearance.
6. Yell at your partner as if you were her father.
7. Take every word she says literally. Women, when upset, tend to speak in absolutes, such as “You NEVER listen to me;” when what she really means is that you aren’t listening to her at that time.
8. Allow jealousy to erode the trust, love and respect of your relationship.
9. Violate her privacy.
10. Forget special occasions.
Men and women have different communication styles, different needs and desires, and different relationship challenges. Learning these differences can assist us in strengthening the relationships we have now and in the future. John Gray began this revolutionary discovery in his book, Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus. The Women’s List follows:
1. When you want more quality time with your man, make the time you do have as positive as possible.
2. Trust and respect him.
3. Stop nagging.
4. Allow your partner time away from you without giving him the third degree.
5. Appreciate the little things he does for you and tell him so.
6. Make love creatively and often. Don’t be afraid to initiate lovemaking.
7. Honor any agreements you have made with him.
8. Support his goals and direction.
9. Ask for what you want! (Believe it or not, no matter how much he loves you, he really can’t read your mind.)
10. Accept his “No” gracefully, trusting that he would if he could.
1. Go to bed angry with your partner.
2. Insist he always share his feelings with you. Talking about feelings is more what women need.
3. Attempt to converse with your partner during a good movie or sporting event.
4. Continue to “give” in what you perceive is a lopsided relationship when you are at a point of resentment.
5. Criticize him or put him down, especially the things he does.
6. Scold your partner as if he were a child.
7. Use sex as a prize for good behavior or the withholding of sex as punishment for “bad” behavior.
8. Compare him to a fictional character in a book, movie or soap drama and find him lacking.
9. Violate his privacy.
10. Try to change him. Appreciate the man he is right now.
There is so much to learn about satisfying relationships that your parents never showed you. Please don’t become one of the statistics of divorce or perhaps worse, stay in a miserable relationship to honor your marriage vows while having so many regrets about your life as the time ticks away.