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Essential skills for a fantastic, long-lasting relationship (part 1)

What qualities do you need to possess to be capable of creating and maintaining a great romantic relationship? While I don’t think that relationships can be boiled down to a formula (whether it’s the “right” or “wrong” mix), I do believe that there are qualities and skills that are highly useful in the pursuit of a wonderful partnership. Below are eight of the most critical attributes from my (Shonnie’s) perspective. Bruce will be writing on this same question in another post.

  • Communication – though there are many details included in this one word, generally I would emphasize the importance of being able to listen openly and fully, speak clearly, honestly, and compassionately, and read other non-verbal communication accurately
  • Unequivocal support – by this I mean being 100% for the good of your partner, wanting and supporting their success, growth, achievement, and highest good every step of the way even when it seems to be at cross-purposes with your own desires
  • Self-awareness and self-love — to be an excellent partner to another person, we must first be an excellent partner to ourselves; taking care of your own needs (spiritual, emotional, physical, mental) and being the best human being you know how to be
  • Forgiveness – no matter the depth of our love for our partner, we will sometimes be angry, hurt, or resentful about something they did/did not do; being able and willing to readily and regularly offer your forgiveness is essential to long-term happiness and stability of the relationship
  • Loving truthfulness — honesty is one of the foundations of a strong relationship, yet so is the ability to be truthful in a loving, compassionate, and helpful way
  • Equality – sharing in an equitable way all that happens in your relationship (blessings, challenges, responsibility, praise); being partners that co-create your lives together, offering your gifts, perspective, and experience and making room for your mate to offer his/her own contributions
  • Intentioned flexibility — time and circumstances will change us so it’s important to be flexible enough to adapt or evolve; it’s essential, however, to know what you won’t change (values, commitments) or give up regardless of the paths you travel together
  • Commitment – especially in today’s world of multiple priorities and responsibilities, it’s easy for a relationship to get moved to the back burner (or off the stove completely); keeping your relationship a priority in your life requires a commitment of yourself in time, energy/spirit, and heart

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