1. Make your partner and your relationship together a priority. Commit to being better together than apart – and, as much and often as possible, bringing out the best in each other – and yourselves. Relationships are as much about how we choose to show up and contribute and learn as about anyone else.
2. Be honest – especially about intentions, sex, and money. Be gentle and careful, but tell the truth. Relationships are based in communication. A break in communication will lead to a break down in the relationship. Communication is the key to sustainable relationships.
3. Be clear in your agreements – and keep them. If something changes, make it known (as soon and as sensitively as possible). If necessary, change the agreement (together).
4. Honor your partner’s integrity – and trust him or her. Nothing destroys a relationship faster than mistrust.
5. Honor your differences. Allow your partner to feel free to continue to explore all of his or her interests, not just the ones you share. That may mean spending time with other people. Having friends outside your relationship is normal and healthy.
6. Have fun together. Do something fun you both enjoy doing. Explore and find new things to share.
7. Find out what your partner needs, wants, and desires – and give it to him or her. If it is something you cannot provide, encourage, support, and assist them to get it.
8. Look and Listen. Really “see” and listen to your partner. Ask questions, be interested. Intimacy is not a euphemism for sex. It implies “into me you see.” Realize that you do NOT “know” your partner – and that you can discover something new (and wonderful) every day you are together.
9. When telling your partner that you love him or her, be specific. Go into lots of detail about why you love him or her – and about how much you appreciate him or her – in your life.
10. Discover how your partner feels most loved, and do your best to express it to him or her in that way. Use his or her preferred love language rather than your own: time together, touch, words, acts of service, gifts.
11. Tell others how wonderful your partner is – both in front of them and when he or she is not there.
© 2012, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.