4 Habits for a successful relationship

For most of us, falling in love is the easy part – all we need is a pulse and some feelings!

The “dating / getting to know you phase” can have a few niggles, but for the most part is fun and pleasant with everyone on best behaviour to woo and charm each other. Inevitably though, challenges emerge with the reality of daily life together. We come face to face (literally!) with morning breath, no makeup, and grumpiness through fatigue, annoying habits, mess and the whole range of behaviours that signal the end of the “honeymoon period”. This is where many couples lose it and things plateau or head downhill – tragic on many fronts.

This period of surprise, disappointment or even disillusionment is a natural part of the process of any “team” becoming strong and performing well together.  Inevitable hurdles get triggered by life events like setting up house together, having your first child or being promoted to a position that demands more time away from home. During these seasons of life we need to lean more heavily on each other in different ways and we start bumping up against hurdles like unmet expectations, unhelpful approaches to working through conflict, trust and respect issues and / or poor communication skills. 

You need to be aware of these, as surely as night follows day, they are coming! Handled well, these are the times through which great teams and great relationships lay the strong foundations of commitment, trust and respect.

But our lack of skills and the absence of any consistent approach to equip us to get over these hurdles are costing us big time – as individuals, as families, as companies and as nations. Divorce rates in much of the developed world are around 40% and cohabiting couples typically break up in around 60-70%. 

ALL great relationships exhibit 4 simple, yet fundamental, habits. 

Mastering these 4 habits, gets you over the inevitable hurdles so that you can thrive as a couple – and as individuals in all spheres of life.

These 4 habits for Great Relationships are:

  1. Be CURIOUS, not critical
  2. Be CAREFUL, not crushing
  3. ASK, don’t assume
  4. CONNECT before you correct

They are simple habits, but they’re not automatic… and for the most part are contrary to our natural instinct and responses. That’s why they have to be learned on purpose and practised until they become the new natural responseThe great news is that we can all develop these habits, get over the inevitable frustrations of merging two lives into one and discover the joy of “honey after the honeymoon”.

It’s not about being perfect – who is? But it is absolutely about being intentional in learning and living these habits. Otherwise we are signing up for a 50:50 chance of surviving let alone thriving. Those odds might be ok for flipping a coin to say who will pay for the next round of drinks, but way too costly as a life strategy.