How to grow a great one

Linda: When my husband Charlie and I conducted our study, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples about Lasting Love, these are the practices that respondents told us had held them in good sted to grow their exemplary relationships.

As you read through the list, assess your own strengths and growing edge. Congratulate yourself for the areas where you shine.

This list will assist you in identifying where your work is still required to become eligible for a great relationship.

  1. Cultivating vision by asking yourself, “What available? What’s possible here?
  2. Risking by growing courage and assertiveness
  3. Showing up for what’s happening
  4. Accepting/Letting Go/Surrender to what is
  5. Staying on top of incompletions
  6. Being able to change channels is flexibility
  7. Being able to distinguish truth from imagination
  8. Letting go of guilt and see its source
  9. Allowing yourself to receive and be supported: Being a gracious receiver
  10. Creating a community of support by accepting physical and emotional support and connection
  11. Practicing gratitude, especially when you’re resentful or feeling self-pity
  12. Practicing compassion for yourself and others when there is mistreatment or unkindness
  13. Being open and vulnerable
  14. Having trusting relationships with others who can see what you can’t
  15. Telling the truth
  16. Refusing to lie and refusing to lie to yourself
  17. Practicing patience when we are tired of waiting
  18. Regularly checking in with yourself and with your partner
  19. Setting boundaries and stopping before you get to your limit
  20. Not withholding love
  21. Willingness to feel the pain
  22. Creating a close primary relationship through giving and loving abundantly
  23. Living with authenticity
  24. Willingness to feel
  25. Letting others know how you feel
  26. Acknowledging vulnerability, fears, needs, and desires
  27. Dis-identifying with the ego/body
  28. Taking solace and comfort wherever you find it
  29. Creating work that you love and that heals you as you do it
  30. Being involved with your kids’ friends
  31. Outgrowing the need for others’ approval
  32. Not taking on others’ projections
  33. Practicing acceptance of the little pains and losses
  34. Using all experiences in life to deepen spiritual practice
  35. Staying current and complete with everyone in your life, all the time
  36. Trusting the truth of your experience
  37. Refusing to accept a victim identity
  38. Taking responsibility for everything in your life
  39. Refusing to engage in blame of self or others
  40. Staying away from bad therapists
  41. Staying out of the mainstream
  42. Making a big space for the dark shadow, to include your craziness, weakness, helplessness, vulnerability, hatred, ignorance, and prejudice
  43. Taking care of your body
  44. Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance
  45. Practicing humility
  46. Knowing how to replenish and refuel and do it!
  47. Trusting your body not your mind
  48. Knowing what feels right and going after it
  49. Continuing to give no matter what
  50. Working if you can; if you can’t, don’t
  51. Doing whatever it takes to get you through the night
  52. Practicing generosity of spirit
  53. Finding something to be grateful for always
  54. Accepting love from others even if you doubt you are worthy or deserving
  55. Avoiding comparisons
  56. Reducing attachments to preferences
  57. Finding the teachings and blessings in everything
  58. Saying “yes” to everything life brings you
  59. Living in such a way as to be worthy of trust and respect
  60. Participating fully in grief-work
  61. Experiencing feelings and emotions, expressing, acknowledging feelings through journaling, group-work, therapy, and looking for opportunities to communicate feelings
  62. Living with mindfulness, presence, meditation
  63. Finding your courage, risk challenging yourself and pressing the edge
  64. Going outside of your comfort zone
  65. Asking for help, requesting support
  66. Containing or holding feelings (this is not repressing or suppressing them)
  67. Expressing spontaneously
  68. Checking in with self and other
  69. Checking your intention, stating intention
  70. Taking down-time or soul-time
  71. Living a life of service, contribution, volunteerism, generosity, giving
  72. Committing to compassionate self-care
  73. Drawing boundaries
  74. Saying “no” without explanation, justification, rationalization or excuses
  75. Uncovering and recognizing the fear
  76. Making requests
  77. Only making agreements you are committed to keeping
  78. Going on a “should” fast
  79. Checking in and only doing what you can do without feeling obligated
  80. Doing only what you want to do, rather than acting from a sense of duty or obligation. If there isn’t a desire, don’t do it
  81. Playing. Doing activities for no reason other than they provide fun or pleasure
  82. Looking at your motives and intentions with keen self-examination
  83. Witnessing in the state of non-judging awareness
  84. Allowing yourself solitude
  85. Spending time in nature
  86. Forgiving when you’ve been wronged or wronged another. Forgiving everyone
  87. Breathing consciously
  88. Identifying and cultivating and strengthening talents
  89. Setting goals. What do you want to experience? How often?
  90. Slowing down and examining the fear of slowing down
  91. Holding the tension of the opposites
  92. Withholding opinions, advice, and philosophy unless it is solicited
  93. Taking time outs such as, “I need a moment to think about that.”
  94. Declining requests and invitations
  95. Finding and honoring your own pace and rhythm, rather than going along with others
  96. Practicing non-judgment by going on a “blame” fast . This will prompt learning to distinguish the “judge” from your authentic self
  97. Building strength, both physical and intellectual
  98. Discovering the gold in the shadow and befriend it rather than resist it
  99. Looking for the growth opportunity in each breakdown (A breakdown is any situation, which involves a disappointment in expectations of self or others or circumstances. Seeing it as a means of strengthening specific character traits.)
  100. Becoming a better/more loving/stronger/ more whole person

If you like what you read, click here to sign up for our monthly inspirational newsletter and receive our free e-book: Going For the Gold: Tools, practice, and wisdom for creating exemplary relationships.

Follow us on Facebook!