Have you ever heard the saying, “You get what you focus on”?
Focus on your career, and you’ll become successful. Focus on your diet and fitness and your health will improve. Focus on building skills, and you’ll become more valuable.
But what about focusing on your relationship with your partner?
Just because you have a relationship (no matter how good or bad it is), it doesn’t mean you get “a pass” on putting in the work and keeping your bond strong.
You wouldn’t open a new business bank account and expect windfalls of cash to start rolling in without actually doing any work, would you?
The same logic applies to your relationship
Today, I’m going to share critical insights to balance work, routines, and rituals with sacred time with your partner.
These lessons are from personal experience, study, and observations of what I see in life.
Although the practical applications of these lessons will look different for everyone, these principles hold true regardless of where you are in your life or relationship.
Let’s get started.
Start By Being “Selfish”
From the time you were a child you were taught, much as I was, that being selfish is an inherently bad thing.
… But I’m here to tell you that’s wrong.
There’s a reason why flight attendants instruct you to “Put your mask on before you help others.”
Because if you die, you’re no use to yourself or anyone else.
Although this might sound like an extreme example, the basic principle holds true in your romantic relationships too.
If you aren’t consciously taking time each week to look after your own needs and make sure that you have everything you need to operate at the highest levels, your “selflessness” will ultimately result in the failure of both your professional endeavors and your relationship.
Self-care starts simply by having a clear understanding of your values, beliefs, and vision and consistently taking action towards those aims.
I’d also recommend that you implement some sort of daily self care ritual (like a morning routine) where you take 1-2 hours out of your day to focus exclusively on yourself.
Meditation, exercise, journaling, reading, and time alone in nature are all excellent applications of this principle.
Once you have taken care of yourself, you’ll be able to enter into your relationship with your partner from a place of abundance of “wholeness”, feeling completely charged up and ready to handle the challenges of your romantic life.
No partnership will reach its highest level without equally high levels of communication.
But where most people get this wrong is by assuming that communication is only about what you say…
… It’s not. Communication is equally about the things that you do.
Your words and actions are must communicate
You can’t say one thing, do another, and expect to enjoy a long and happy relationship.
For this reason, it’s important that you keep your lines of communication open and ensure that every action you take with regards to your partner is congruent with the words that you share.
To get started, I recommend that you have an open discussion about your values, beliefs, dreams, and goals to ensure that you and your partner are both playing for the same team and working together towards a shared vision.
On this note, it’s important to realize that disagreement is completely normal.
But how you disagree is what makes all the difference.
To enjoy a long and successful relationship, you must learn to compromise on the things that aren’t important and effectively communicate about the things that are.
Explain why specific activities, goals, and habits are important to you and how they will benefit your partner in the long run.
The simple phrase, “I understand why you feel that way and I before we talk any further, I just want to share why this is important to me” can work like magic.
If you’re with the right partner, they will understand and respect your view even if they don’t agree.
Here are a few pieces of communication vital to my relationship:
What I have scheduled
One of the first and most important things that I communicate to my wife is what I have scheduled for every week, month, and quarter.
That way, she knows when we can plan date nights, travel, family time, and other adventures.
I always make sure to communicate my travel plans, what time I expect to be done each night, how many hours I plan to work on weekends, and holidays, etc.
Remember, dissatisfaction stems from unmet expectations.
If you can set the right expectations, you’ll have a much easier time keeping your partner satisfied.
Life can get hectic at times, and the reality is, we don’t set time aside or ground rules, important (but
That’s why, in the same way that Craig encourages you to create boundaries in your personal life, it’s important to have a few simple ground rules that will IMPROVE, not hurt your relationship.
Here are a few examples of our ground rules:
- Weekly date night
- No phones at the dinner table
- Don’t leave the house without an “I love you.”
- If my office door is closed, do NOT disturb (emergencies only.)
- At least 30 uninterrupted minutes of quality time in the afternoon or before bed
Find what works best for you and your partner.
Treat Your Partner How They Want to be Treated
You’ve heard the saying “Treat people how you want to be treated.”
This usually fits under the umbrella of “J
As is often the case with old adages such as these, this statement isn’t entirely accurate.
You should treat your partner how they want to be treated, not how you would want to be treated.
People express, share, and experience love and affection in different ways.
For example, in the New York Times Bestselling book ‘The Five Love Languages,’ Gary Chapman explained different
- Words Of Affirmation: Telling your partner how much they mean to you, how proud of them you are, how much you love them, etc.
- Quality Time: Spending 1-on-1 time with your partner without distractions or other obligations.
- Receiving Gifts: Pretty self-explanatory. Some people love getting and giving gifts.
- Acts Of Service: For example, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, picking up dinner, or handling some other task which your partner normally does.
- Physical Touch: Hugging, holding, kissing, cuddling, and all of the other things that come
My wife and I identified our personal love languages and then incorporated them into our Ground Rules.
Knowing your partners love language gives you great insight into treating them how they want to be treated.
This removes all ambiguity and allows you to express love in the same way that they receive love.
Be Unapologetically Yourself
You’re weird. Seriously, you’re a “weirdo.”
This isn’t an insult…
… We all are.
If you aren’t weird, then you likely aren’t expressing yourself authentically and sharing your true self with the world.
Just admit it…
You have quirks, likes, dislikes, and little ticks that make you, YOU. But you can let it shine with your partner.
Because if you can’t be yourself around them, where else can you be yourself?
- I HATE using big spoons and forks. I feel like I’m shoving a soda can into my mouth.
- I love the movie Pitch Perfect.
- Sometimes when I hug my wife, I wrap one leg around her and yell “Kuala.”
My point is, there are little things in your life and your relationship that are unique and special.
Don’t hide them. Own them.
If your partner can’t accept you for who you are, weird ‘ticks’ and idiosyncrasies included… You’re probably with the wrong person.
Including Your Partner in Your Life
The one overarching theme to this entire piece is to include your partner in your life to strengthen your bond.
Remember, you are PARTNERS.
You are in this journey together. If you want your relationship to last, you must nurture this sacred bond and incorporate your partner into your life.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Perfection doesn’t exist, even between two people who are madly in love.
You’ll have fights. There will be things you don’t always agree on. You’ll have to make some sacrifices.
But if you take some of the helpful insights I’ve shared in this article, plus ones from your experience…
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your life changes.
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