Did you realize that today only three in ten couples remain in happy, healthy marriages? Divorce in the United States is epidemic. Meanwhile many in more casual non-marriage relationships may experience a revolving door of similar breakups and disappointment. So what’s in common with this success and failure? It all boils down to few traits or secrets if you will – kindness/generosity and what you’re looking for. These factors will either promote or doom your relationship.
Kindness is the first key. Whether or not you consider yourself kind is not important; you can alway build it up just like a muscle. The more your partner receives or observes kindness, the greater the chance they, too, will also be kind. Like muscles, some folks are gifted with stronger muscles, but everyone can develop this kindness muscle. It takes exercise and patient persistence on everyone’s part, but that effort leads to a upward spiral in the generosity and love in a relationship.
Think of it this way. When you are tired, disinterested, or distracted and your partner expresses a need, how do you respond? It’s easy to mumble something and continue on your way, but doing so will erode your emotional connection. Conversely, if you stop yourself and give full attention to your partner, that spells kindness. Neglect kills relationships as quickly as anything, allowing aggression and contempt to grow. The same factors even come into play in a fight. You can blindly react or alternatively communicate why your hurt or angry. Are you bringing kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility into each situation? Active constructive responding trumps hasty reactions every time.
The next key factor to relationship success or failure is predicated upon exactly what you are looking for. Are you searching for what your partner is doing right or expecting to find them doing something wrong or irritating? And if you do catch them failing in your eyes, do you at least appreciate their intent? We will all make mistakes, but isn’t it liberating when your partner is kind and generous as opposed to angry and critical with you when you goof up? Why not appreciate their good as well as their intent when things go wrong?
Many of us have been told that we should be there to help our partners through the tough times, but how you share their joy is just as important, perhaps even more so. Greeting their joy with disinterest or worse is a relationship killer of the first degree. Their success is the time to celebrate, to get into the moment, enjoy their or your collective energy in an actively constructive manner. Are you a kill-joy or showing genuine, unadulterated interest? Your relationship or marriage will depend on it!
Thoughtful kindness, genuine interest and generosity, measured loving responses versus hasty reactions, and shared joy go a long, long way in predicting the longevity of a successful relationship. So does looking for the good in your partner. Be patient and cognizant for everyone will encounter some mishaps. These behaviors may take some practice. Most of all, be the change or person you want your partner to be. Remember to look for that good and include your partner’s intentions too, and also remember that kindness and generosity are infectious and eventually most partners will absorb these traits as well!