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What are the secrets to a strong, lasting relationship?

By Aneeka Patel

I read today that saying ‘thank you’ to your partner may be the secret to having a better relationship. I totally agree with the journalist behind the survey, Janice Kaplan, who helped conduct a survey about Americans’ gratitude habits. The results? While 97 percent of respondents said they regularly thanked  partners, only 48 percent of women responded that they regularly thanked their husbands.

I am not entirely surprised by the results from reports like this. Let’s face it, we all know the impact of showing just a little kindness and thoughtfulness.

Research has shown that people who feel grateful for interactions with their loved ones have a stronger connection and feeling of satisfaction in the relationships. Other reports have shown that the more grateful a couple reports being, the more likely they are to stay together.

I will always remember reading a Spanish proverb, “He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” I couldn’t agree more! This is so true in relationships and marriage; small acts of kindness really can go a long way with people. If you’ve seen Jennifer Aniston in ‘The Break Up’ you will remember when she says she would have appreciated it if her husband had bought her some flowers. She had gone out of her way to make dinner for him after a really hard day at work. The flowers would have been that ‘something small’ that would have been ‘oh so big’ to her. They would have shown that her husband really cared about his wife.

So what are the other things that partners can do to enjoy a great relationship with each other? Here are my 4 tips for a successful relationship that I share with clients as a professional matchmaker:-

  1. Listen

For me, listening to each other is THE number one secret to a healthy, happy partnership between two people. We all need to be listened to in order to be understood and valued. It’s when we aren’t listened to by our loved ones, that misunderstandings occur. And what is a possible impact of a misunderstanding? An argument!

In order to really listen properly, it’s important to look at your partner when they talk. But to be a really good listener, it’s important not to talk over or interrupt your partner. It can take some people time to break this habit so you need to be patient and allow your partner to take as much time as they need to talk.

  1. Make Time for each other

I know we are all on the go and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day, but if you don’t spend any time together alone as a couple then you are more likely to drift apart, sorry. Relationships need regular contact to work. Did you know that Paul and Linda McCartney spent every day together in their 29 year marriage and there were only 11 days when they didn’t spend the night together! There is no substitute for shared quality time. When you spend time together without any interruption, you will form a bond that will get you through life’s good times and the not-so-good times too.

  1. Honesty is key

You may share with your partner the things they may not want to hear. But better this than to have him or her doubt your honesty! Mistrust is one of the key relationship deal breakers. Once trust is lost or broken, it can take a very long time to re-establish it and get back on track. The happiest couples I know are the ones where honesty is as natural and instinctive as walking or breathing.

  1. Focus on what they do right not what they do wrong

Positive reinforcement is a technique used with children and it holds its own with adults too. These being the case, compliment your partner when they deserve it. Try not to look for things they do wrong. Be on the look out to appreciate the great things your partner does because when you notice them, it will encourage them to reciprocate by doing good things for you in return. It creates a positive upward spiral. And when people are appreciated this leads to admiration. And when you admire someone, it’s really easy get along with them.

What are your secrets to a strong relationship? Share them with Project 143 on Facebook or Twitter!

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