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Woman yelling at man

Woman yelling at man

If you are reading this I’ll bet you are in a couples’ relationship, or you’d like to be.

What would you say is the No. 1 job a partner must undertake in order to have a successful relationship?

To create time for each other? Good communication? Good sex? Good conflict resolution skills?  Lots of money? If you answered any of these, you’d be wrong!

The answer is: Your number one job, your highest priority, is to make your partner feel loved.

I’m making an assumption here; that you love your partner. (If you don’t, you can still read on but it won’t have the same meaning)

As a couples therapist, most of the initial problems brought to my office can be summed up in the phrase “they don’t treat each other in loving ways”. (Yes, even couples who do treat each other in loving ways can have problems that may bring them to counseling. But, their problems are much easier to work on.)

1. They speak harshly to one another. They blame, accuse, are sarcastic, use name-calling, character assassination, threaten, retaliate, punish.

2. They criticize instead of complain. They are self-righteous and superior. They need to be right, and they’ll destroy the relationship to prove it!

3  They don’t own their part of the problem. They are defensive. If they admit responsibility the sentence includes “but”, as in “Yes, I did kiss that other guy, but…..” or “Okay, I should come home on time, or call her, but……”.

4. They block attempts by the partner to actually engage or negotiate.

5. They lie (very self serving although often called “being protective”), they cheat, they are self absorbed.

6. They predict failure (a good excuse to not even try).

7. When their partner attempts to repair damage done, they reject the attempt.

Now, I ask you; do you see yourself in any of the above statements?  Be honest, at least with yourself.


It is interesting to me how much flexibility there can be in a relationship when the partners make each other feel loved. And how much rigidity or inflexibility there can be when they don’t.

When someone truly feels loved they want their partner to feel good. They can forgive, sometimes forgive quite a lot. They can be generous.

How do you know if your partner feels loved by you? Ask them! If they say “yes”, ask “What are the things I do that make you feel loved, valued, appreciated?” Listen and take note. Do those things more, and wait awhile, then pay attention to the results!


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