By Patrick Tuttle
on 7.10.09

know-how-to-bring-more-to-your-relationship

Relationships are not easy, in fact, if you don’t work at them constantly, they breakdown. The longer you’re in a committed relationship the easier it is to take it for granted. It’s sad, but true. We don’t profess to be experts in love but we do think our life experiences have revealed a few tips than can help all men be better in their current or future relationships. All it takes is a little desire and effort. Time to step up and be a better man for your partner.

Read on for our best considered advice.

Take Care of Yourself

No, I’m not condoning selfish behavior. Quite the contrary, it’s my belief that being a better man means being there for your partner. However, you simply can’t do that if you don’t take care of yourself first. We all carry some sort of baggage with us and it inevitably ends up impacting our relationships. Do your partner a favor and sort it out. Whether you need to lose weight to get healthier (so you’re around longer), work on your anger issues, or you just need to tie up loose ends in your life, make it a priority. If you’re depressed (for any reason), chances are your partner is feeling your pain and carrying that burden too. You might not see it, at least not at first, but trust me it’s there.

I’m not saying you have to tackle your demons alone, getting support from your other half will show them you’re serious and committed to not only disposing of that baggage, but also, to working at making a better life for the two of you. I’m also a firm believer in getting professional help. After all, if it were so easy to overcome your issues, chances are you would have done it already. I realize there are cost requirements to bringing in an outsider, but their neutral perspective and specialized training will yield the most substantial, long-term results. Think of it as an investment in yourself.

Forget the Golden Rule

That’s right; when you’re in a relationship the worst thing (ok, probably not the worst) you can do is treat your partner how you like to be treated. Do unto others is a great policy with strangers, but if you truly know someone, then you owe it to them to treat them how they prefer. My wife and I are almost complete opposites in many facets of our lives and it has taken me years to come to the realization that I often fall prey to my own biases. We don’t look at situations the same way, we were raised differently, and, at the end of the day, different things make us happy. I get that now. I’ll give you an example. When I’m sick I like to be left alone. Like a wounded animal, I opt to go off and hide, preferring to wait out my illness in my own fortress of solitude. My wife, on the other hand, wants attention when she’s feeling down. That’s what she’s used to and that’s what makes her happy. So, when she’s sick that’s what I do, because I know that’s what she needs from me.

Don’t Just Hear, Engage

Communication is truly the key to any successful relationship. But that doesn’t mean just hearing what your partner has to say. Just as in the business world, you need to demonstrate that you not only hear but also comprehend what is told to you. A simple acknowledgment that you have thought about what your partner is saying, even if you don’t end up agreeing with them, will go a long way to building trust and respect.

To do this you may need to pause the TV, put down your book, or otherwise disengage from what you were doing. “Yesing” your partner to death is worse than not listening in the first place. You’re showing that what you are doing is more important than their desire to communicate with you. Sometimes you may not be able to stop what you’re doing, most of the time, we just don’t want to.

Keep Some Mystery

After you have been with someone a long time, the subtle nuances start to fade. You see what goes on behind the “curtain” and things that once turned you on have lost their appeal, now that you know what went into them. I’m not advocating keeping secrets or lying, but maintaining a little mystery will help keep your relationship fresh. No need to disclose everything up front. Save some. It might be as simple as how you keep your amazing complexion. No one need know about your nightly mud masks, moisturizes, and eye creams. What matters is the final product. Once you starting living with someone, this becomes increasingly difficult, but worth the effort if you can manage it. Trust me.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to better your relationship, but we do believe that these tips can apply to just about anyone. Yes, being romantic is great, but there are fundamental needs that run deeper. In true GP fashion, we want to hear from you. After all, your tip could be just what another reader needs. Leave us a comment about what you have done, been told to do, or seen others do that have strengthened their romantic relationship.