The 10 Commandments of Great Love Relationships
By Mark Sichel
1. THOU SHALT THINK.
Think before you speak and react, especially if you know the potential for
fireworks exists. Sometimes the words will only fan the flames and take you
further away from your goal of resolution.
2. THOU SHALT CLEAN YOUR SPLEEN.
Write a brutally honest
letter to your wife, husband or lover telling them all the bad feelings and
thoughts you've ever had about them. Drop the letter into your personal "dead
letter box"; and move on with a smile on your face.
3. THOU SHALT NOT ARGUE WITH FEELINGS. THOU SHALT LEARN TO LISTEN, LISTEN TO
Sometimes your wife needs to tell you how disappointed and upset she is with
you. Sometimes your husband needs to go on a diatribe about how you "neglect"
him. Sometimes your partner needs to express his or her resentment about the way
you've treated them. You can't argue with feelings. Listen when your mate
expresses strong feelings. Rather than argue and try to insist that your partner
shouldn't be feeling what they're feeling, understand that they ARE feeling that
way and simply say, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Try to put yourself in their
shoes and give them the empathy that you would want yourself.
4. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THAT PRIVACY IS GOLDEN.
While a good relationship involves honesty, saying every single thing that comes
into your mind and sharing every feeling is not conducive to true intimacy.
Intruding into your partners every thought and feeling is not going to create
greater togetherness. Create boundaries and set limits. You know how much
contact you can take and how much will ignite your nuclear bomb.
5. THOU SHALT REMEMBER OCCASIONS AND EVENTS.
Remember birthdays and anniversaries. Buy a gift, or make one. This activity is
not about spending money. This is a testament that your mate is making you the
most important person in their life. Tune in to your partner's unique likes and
dislikes and acknowledge these in an emotionally generous manner. Whatever the
occasion, a card and gift makes people feel remembered, and when people feel
remembered they feel loved and closer to one another.
6. THOU SHALT NOT OVERREACT. EVER.
When partners feel neglected, they often will create a scenario that invites
your overreaction. Overreactions cause all out wars. Don't do it! If you want to
win in your relationship, stay off the battlefield. Assess a dispute with your
partner. Is it really worth fighting over? Sometimes couples will get lost in a
war of words. Repeat to your self, "They're only words."
7. THOU SHALT BE POSITIVE, APPRECIATIVE, AND INTERESTED.
Sometimes people forget to focus on the positives in a relationship. Tell your
wife how beautiful she is, tell your husband how good he looks. Express to your
mate those things you appreciate about them. Reflect on ways in which you are
grateful to be with the person you love. If you have difficulty knowing how to
verbalize these attributes and organizing your thinking in this area, try
Psybersquare's "Appreciation List."
8. THOU SHALT RESPECT THY MATE.
Treat your mate with respect and dignity. Don't curse. Don't hit below the belt.
Do anything to avoid violence. Do not let familiarity breed contempt. When
there's a lack of harmony, use a polite and cordial stance in order to end the
conflict. Learn your mate's daily rhythms. If your wife is not a morning person,
don't bring up sensitive issues before she's had her morning coffee. If your
husband gets tired and cranky when returning from work, leave him alone to
regroup for an hour or so and then tell him your mother's coming to visit for a
month. Respect is the sum total of all the accumulated small and large
considerations that you afford your mate. Take them one at a time.
9. THOU SHALT REMEMBER: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET.
Do not ever try to change your spouse more than they themselves would like to
change. Partners are doomed to failure when they try to change each other.
Accept your mate for who he or she is and rejoice in the fact that they accept
you for who you are.
10. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THAT SHARED EXPERIENCES, INTERESTS AND COMPANIONSHIP
When people have difficulty getting close with each other, they often try to
talk their way through it. Sometimes all the talking in the world cannot replace
having a good time with your partner. Make sure to spend time together. When
there are children in your lives, make sure you guard your time together as a
couple like a hawk. Get away for weekends together. Plan romantic dinners. Focus
on intimacy, sensuality, and physicality. Take an interest in your partner's
interests; if your wife likes ballet get two tickets. If you're a sports widow,
make an effort to watch a game with your spouse. Two hours at the ballet won't
kill you; two hours at a hockey game won't kill you. Rediscover each other as
the friends you started off as.
Copyright Mark Sichel, a psychotherapist, consultant, and speaker on a
broad range of issues related to family, mental health, and interpersonal
problems. He is the editor and principal author of the award winning
www.psybersquare.com. For a more detailed guide to overcoming the
panic brought on by dysfunctional family experiences, read Mark Sichel's new
book, Healing From Family Rifts : Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off
From a Family. For more information about this book visit the author's