Over the course of several years, my beloved husband and I transformed our lightning storm of a marriage into a harmonious partnership that sings in every way. There is still a tremendous amount of passion in our relationship, but we've found a way to harness any possible volatility, and cultivate a union based on honesty, respect and love.
It won't come as a surprise when I tell you my own sense of well-being improved exponentially as my marriage improved (as did that of my husband). Undoubtedly, there are many elements to improving one's quality of life, but one central component involves the cultivation of satisfying and rewarding relationships.
In any relationship, whether it be with our lover, brother, friend or co-worker, there are inevitable challenges that arise. In these moments, our pesky egos typically compel us to believe it's the other person in the dynamic who needs to change, say they were wrong, and apologize.
But we can change this dynamic, and preclude any tensions from becoming exacerbated by the blame game. By instead tweaking how we show up for others, new possibilities arise. We can connect to others more magically, feeling true harmony in our interactions.
Here is my 12-ingredient recipe for success, featuring key ways I undertook to improve my marriage by leaps and bounds. My hope is that these steps will help you dial up your own well-being through up-leveling your dealings with others. May you enjoy wonderful outcomes in all your relationships.
1. Know that you have the ability to take the quality of your relationships into your own hands.
You have more power to set the terms of your relationships than you might realize. Acceptance is an important virtue, but sometimes we can be too quick to accept unpleasant dynamics as the way are, without recognizing our own capacity to create change. Empower yourself with this knowledge, and you will empower your relationship, too.
2. Get on excellent terms with yourself.
Most of us know, at least intellectually, that you can improve your relationship by working on yourself. But what does this mean? Honor yourself, know yourself and love yourself. If your needs aren't your first priority in and out of your relationship, you won't be able to show up as the best version of yourself.
Similarly, step into your personal power and say "no" when you need to, set healthy boundaries and ask for what you need. Strengthen the two most magnificent things about you: your personal truth and your Inner Knowing. All of this will prove super helpful in bettering your relationships with others.
3. Feel your own source of warmth and light.
Be a source of inspiration for yourself and others. You have it in you to uplift yourself, and those around you. If you dedicate yourself to the practice of radiating positive energy from within, you will not only bring out the best of yourself, but will also bring out the best in others. As a result, you literally create a win-win: you and they will both benefit; your lives will be more charmed.
4. Accept others as they are (and do the same for yourself).
Every human has her/his own programming, personality type, preferences and so on. Each of us has a custom-designed sacred life's curriculum. This means that your ideas for someone else, your clever analysis, may be entirely off the mark in relation to what is actually meant for them on their life path.
5. Always find the opportunity to be humble.
Make sure to be willing to return to the role of student in all facets of your life. There are always opportunities to learn and grow, even when things feel unpleasant or frustrating. Keep in mind, too, that you are not necessarily a given person's designated teacher. If there is someone in your life you are trying to change or make more like you, it's likely you are the one who is meant to be learning something from them.
6. Trust that in relationships there is a reasonable explanation for everything.
That reasonable explanation is this: we are all different, operating under different assumptions, with different values, sensibilities and priorities. Your way is not the only right way; your take is not the only right take.
7. First acknowledge — then heal — your wounds.
We all have them. The residue of past traumas and negative experiences emanates from our pores in ways we don't tend to realize. This energy we carry affects our words, deeds, and even our thoughts. In this way, our wounds become infectious, causing other people pain and triggering them, even if that's the least of our intentions.
8. Practice self-care.
Tend lovingly to your mind, body, heart, and soul. Do what these aspects of you require in order to be at your best and securely plugged in to your own socket. Meditate, eat nutritiously work out, and get enough sleep. These are the basics, but do whatever else it takes to keep you feeling thriving, nourished and fueled. Caring for yourself will dramatically increase your well-being, which will create ripple effects in all your relationships. Then, the positive effects on your relationship will positively affect your well-being. It's a cycle, perhaps even a vicious cycle — but one with tremendously positive outcomes.
9. Make a commitment to negotiate differences.
Extend to others the freedom to follow their own inner compass and to be utterly unlike you. The diversity among us humans is the grandest earthly adventure. It's what makes each of us special and unique. There is no way to avoid bumping up against other people's ways of thinking, doing and being. Relinquish your own controls and narrow, limiting beliefs. Instead honor difference as an important, valuable, and enhancing aspect of life.
10. Be the change you wish to see in your world.
Want more love in your life? Be more loving. Want more peace? Be more peaceful. Want more compassion from others? Be more compassionate. Want to be understood? Be more understanding.
11. Trim the troops when needed.
Not everyone in your life is meant to be in your life. Acting courageously (albeit discerningly) on this fact can be a lifesaver. Sometimes setting healthy boundaries feels like you're being mean or selfish, but you're not. You're creating space in your life for things that work for you. And that gesture brings with it a positive energetic outcome — for yourself, for your loved ones and for the world around you all.
12. Embrace that every relationship is a spiritual assignment.
Our interactions carry vital lessons and compel us to grow, expand, and become more loving and accepting. This is not always easy, nor is it meant to be easy. Add to that sacred contracts, karma and past-life matters, which further complicate our relationships. Embrace the esoteric mystery of your bonds with others and conduct your relationships with your mind and heart cracked wide open.
With these 12 tips, you will be more attentive to yourself, to your partner and to your relationship. These improvements are not isolated, but will feed off one another in a way that opens your mind, heart and your world.