How often do you hear someone say they feel taken for granted by their partner?
Have you ever felt that way yourself? Why do we treat our partners differently as time goes on? And what is that doing to the quality of our relationships?
In the beginning of a relationship, we tend to focus on how wonderful our partner is. Everything is new and exciting. We tell everyone about how great things are. And we will go to great lengths to make our partners feel special and important. But eventually – whether it is six months down the road, six years, or even 60 years – we hit a threshold, where things become familiar and we lose the thrill, the excitement, the energy.
So what do we do? How do we maintain that beautiful sense of wonder and passion for our partners?
LET GO OF YOUR RULES
In the beginning of a relationship, we don’t impose rules on our partners. But, over time, we begin to construct beliefs that our partners should act, think and even feel a certain way. We expect things from them that we’d never expect from anyone else. And when they don’t adhere to those expectations, we withhold our unconditional love, or even worse than that, treat them with disdain and disregard.
Consider a man, for example, who has unconditional love for his grandchildren. In his eyes, they can do no wrong. It’s pure love, pure joy, pure bliss. And it fulfills him in a way nothing else does. Now why doesn’t he have that for his partner, who actually needs that from him more than anyone else? Why are there different rules at stake?
If you want to recapture the romance, step back and ask yourself: “What do you worship about your partner? What makes him or her the most important person in your life?” Let go of the rules and start to shift your focus towards loving your partner for who they are – because that’s who you fell in love with. Get out of your mind and into your heart. Stop living from a place of manufactured expectations and start living in the moment, sharing the love that you have inside for your partner.
APPRECIATE THE MASCULINE AND FEMININE
Too often, we try to make our partners exactly like us – and we expect them to communicate, behave and even think in the same way we do. When they deviate from those expectations, we grow frustrated and may even become short with them. But what if we started seeing our differences as gifts?
A masculine man, for example, may grow frustrated by how emotional a feminine women can be. And he will want her to be more logical, like he is. But if she were more logical, polarity would diminish. So by shifting his perspective to one of appreciation, he can see that the feminine dynamic is the perfect complement to his masculine core. And the little things that could potential frustrate and aggravate him will start to excite and enliven him.
Appreciate the intricacies of the masculine and feminine energies. Where the masculine is about direction and mission, the feminine is about emotion and connection. Where the masculine seeks to feel appreciated, the feminine seeks to feel understood. And it is these differences that create passion – that spark that can bring us even closer to each other. By making the choice to shift your perspective towards appreciation, you will not only see your partner in a new light, you’ll learn how you can connect on an even deeper level.
GET IN STATE
The next step is to start taking inventory of the state you bring to your relationship.
When you have two people in a relationship that are both in a beautiful state — they are excited about each other, excited about life, are taking care of their bodies and are full of energy – what kind of relationship do you think they can create? They are going to be in a peak-state relationship, approaching anything and everything with love, passion and excitement; treating each other with respect and reverence.
Now what if you get people who are in a good state? What kind of relationship is going to come out of that? If you said “good” – you’re right. But good is the enemy of great. Why would you settle for a good relationship when you could have amazing?
Now consider two people who are in lousy states. Even if they love each other, when two people in a relationship are both experiencing stress, frustration, aggravation or depression – they will say and do things that they will ultimately regret. They will speak to their partners in hurtful ways. There will be little excitement, little passion, little joy. Over time, that can absolutely destroy a relationship.
BREAKING LOUSY STATE
Of course, life isn’t always ideal. Both people in a relationship won’t always be in a great state. There may even be times where both people aren’t in an okay state. But then it becomes imperative to learn how to break your bad state so you can show up for your partner in the best way possible.
When you see that your conversation is being run by a bad state, or you sense tension building between you and your partner, make the conscious decision to change your state. Take a walk. Take a shower. Eat a healthy snack. Drink some water. Go for a drive. Jump in a pool. Do something to change your physiology. Because, as Tony has taught us so well, if you make a radical change in your physiology – your breath, your movement, your facial expressions, your vocal qualities – you will instantly change your emotional state.
The other way to change your state is to shift your focus. As Tony says, “where focus goes, energy flows.” So step back and assess how you are approaching your relationship. How are you treating your partner? How are you making them feel? Shift your focus to love, kindness and compassion – the focus you undoubtedly had in the beginning of the relationship – and watch how you can shift your state.
Remember, love isn’t just a noun, it’s a verb, meaning, it requires action. If you want to sustain the love and passion in your relationship, it will take a concerted effort. When we forget how to appreciate each other and how to really show up for each other, we run the risk of doing irreparable damage over time. Even the smallest of wounds will have trouble healing without love and kindness. So make the decision to show up for your partner the way you did in the beginning. And you will see that when you learn how to do that – there won’t be an end.