Evolve your thinking

Your thoughts are the blueprint for your life and control your relationship in many ways you may not recognize. Be confident that your partner knows what you are thinking, even when you don’t say it. We often take ourselves and our relationships for granted, or conversely, take it all too seriously. Our negative thoughts unwittingly hold our relationships hostage, giving a lot of power to our unspoken doubts.

Become more mindful of your thinking and aspire towards a little levity with your partner. A shared laugh is the quickest way back to each other’s side, but note, this does not include sarcasm, which is humor that often cuts down the connection.

Be deliberate about not making things worse in your own mind and lean more heavily towards your own innate capacity for kindness. The most critical commitment we can make to love is to cultivate thoughts that bring us closer to the relationship we want and vigilantly weed out the ones that don’t.

Think of love as a container

One thing that can help the tug of war of how we perceive our needs versus the needs of our partner, is to consider our relationship almost like a third person. When you begin to imagine your relationship as a living, breathing container of love that has needs of its own, there is this weird magic that takes over. By taking care of the relationship needs, both your own and your partner’s needs are held and balanced.

Both partners need to take up the practice of focusing on what the container that holds you both needs to be sustained, but it is remarkable how this refocusing takes the conflict out of most every decision. When you start choosing for love instead of either person, the best choice also becomes the clearest.

Keep two feet in

You may recall times in your relationship when doubts have been the leader, and sometimes as a strange solace, it causes you to keep one foot out of an invisible door. In those moments, it is easy to forget that loving relationships can only move forward when both people have two feet in.

When we give half or more of our attention to an imaginary exit strategy, we don’t ever really get to see what our relationship can become. In fact, It is an entirely different relationship that grows when both partners are fully engaged and really committed to making their promises work.

The sad thing is that you can’t even really imagine the relationship you are missing when you are holding an invisible door ajar with one foot.

It takes a long time and a lot of practice to get good at love. But the happy truth is that intimacy begets intimacy. Dozens of studies support the strong correlation between a happy relationship and increased frequency of sex. And sexual intimacy acts like glue for long-term relationships, like pouring cement into a foundation, paving the way for more emotional closeness and richer communication.