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What are the three things you believe are most important in making a relationship better? What have been your experiences?

In my fifties, I have discovered a GREAT relationship. However, I thought I had it before, and for a variety of reasons, those relationships failed. Looking back, I can see why, and I know that although I had my failings, a couple of times those relationship failures had nothing to do with me - circumstances over which I had no direct control intervened and changed everything.

However, now I have found what I was really looking for and we are married, committed to each other "for this world and the next", which we put into our wedding vows.

The three things I place most importance on are:
1: Listening. I now take time to listen intently to what Susan is talking about. There's a couple of reasons, not the least being that she is incredibly intelligent and is always worth listening to. However, it's always interesting - she is from the far side of the planet to me, a 12 hour time zone difference, and there is so much we want to learn about each other's different life experiences.
2: Time to talk and share. Not just time watching TV, but time invested in doing things together, such as developing the business, discussing strategies, as well as talking about life, family, what to do at Christmas, and much more. Time to share, to express and to just BE together.
2: Honesty. We had a learning experience early on, when I had some issues with an Ex that I thought I could resolve on my own. Bad move. Susan not only had better ideas about it, she understood the other end of the situation, being female, and could make suggestions that worked. However, not telling her everything early on delayed the resolution and hurt her too, as she wondered firstly if there were trust issues, and secondly, she wondered if there was "anything else!"

What are the three things that you believe are most important in improving a relationship, or repairing/retrieving a failed relationship?

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  • Nov 15 2013: Very true Stephen. So much good stuff is coming out of this! Unless you can tune into someone else, it's hard to relate/be in relationship with them. Then, when you do tune in, so much becomes apparent!
    • Nov 15 2013: Exactly. Communication, listening, shared interests, all of this shows a large amount if empathy between partners in a relationship. The more you know someone, the more they become a part of you. And just as you see your own life as precious, you see there's as well. That is why it is so hard for people who do not love themselves to have strong relationships, because their empathy does not lead to love but more hate.
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        Nov 15 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Stephen,
        We are often taught that loving ourselves is selfish, and we are only supposed to love others. I don't honestly think/feel we can give something to others that we do not have in our "self". When we have respect, compassion, empathy, etc., in ourselves, we can more freely share that with others. When we try to give something to someone else, that we do not have for ourselves, it may feel like we are depriving ourselves of something, and it also sets up expectations of receiving those things from the partner. It appears that the strongest and most content relationships are with people who are genuinely connected in themselves....know thyself,...and be willing to share that with a partner:>)

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