“Easy” and “fun” are not the words that come to mind when most people are describing their relationship, but it doesn’t have to be that way, says Access Consciousness™ facilitator Dr. Kacie Crisp.
She is the author of The Little Black Book on Relationships, in which she shares what she’s learned from 27 years with her husband David Caddy.
The two were not necessarily even sitting together when they heard Access Consciousness founder and best-selling author Gary Douglas state, “Relationships are a 24/7 job. It’s a lot of work.” They simultaneously thought, “Huh?” because it really is their point of view that relationships SHOULD be easy and fun.
Alerted by Douglas that they did things in their relationship quite differently than others, Crisp and Caddy came up with a list of 6 “dos,” things they do in their relationship that others often do not, as well as 6 “don’ts,” things that others do that they do not.
The 6 dos listed by Crisp in her book are:
- Remember that everything your partner does is just an interesting point of view
- Be grateful
- Receive their helpfulness and contribution to your life
- Live in the present
- Choose someone you like
- Look at who you’re with, not who you wish you were with
These tips may sound simple, but they are important components to a successful relationship that many people overlook, says Crisp. Here’s more information that could empower you to use these tools in your own relationships.
Remember everything your partner does is just an interesting point of view. If you’ve ever moaned, “How could you do this to me?” you have forgotten the first do. What if everything your partner does and has done had nothing to do with you, but was merely an expression of who they are?
This is a radically different way of looking at things for many people, but it is a point of view that actually allows each person in the relationship to be fully themselves. It allows each person to choose for themselves, without having to censor their choices to please the other person.
If you don’t function from this point of view, but instead take everything your partner says as a message about you and their feelings for you, then you force them to put you first in all of their decisions. While this may sound romantic, giving up yourself eventually wears your lover down, leading to the end of the relationship because they can no longer be themselves.
“Isn’t a relationship where you’re valued for exactly who you are, when you don’t have to be anything else, where you don’t have to impress anyone—isn’t that what everyone longs to come home to?” asks Crisp.
Be grateful. The biggest advantage of gratitude over love is that gratitude can only exist without judgment, whereas love usually includes judgment. Even “unconditional love” is only unconditional until the other person does something you don’t like, or doesn’t do something you demand. Then “love” tends to become very conditional indeed.
An additional advantage of not using the word love is the multitude of definitions of it. If each person is working from some 8 million definitions of the word love, for example, there is statistically only a 1 in 64 million chance that both of you mean the same thing when you exchange those precious words, “I love you.”
A classic example of this miscommunication that occurs with the word “love” is the conversation that meets sex role stereotypes. “I love you,” says the man, hoping to get sex. The woman hears that he loves her as she wants to be loved, which usually means a lasting relationship. Both parties think they’re on the same page, when they’re actually meaning something quite different. And the relationship usually goes downhill from there.
In gratitude, on the other hand, you receive everything without judgment and maintain a gratefulness to the person for being in your life. Doesn’t that feel lighter and more fun?
Receive their helpfulness and contribution to your life. Men, in particular, have been trained to “show their love” by doing things. They like to fix things. If a woman takes this as a judgment on their competence and refuses this contribution, it’s energetically like cutting of his hand, or even more precious part. It doesn’t leave him with anywhere to go in showing his caring for you.
For both sexes, doesn’t it feel good to be able to contribute something you’re good at to your partner? Don’t they give you a gift when they actually receive it?
Live in the present. This recommendation is designed to remind members of both sexes to avoid the “fast forward” into the future. A relationship is not a puzzle to be solved, a conclusion to be reached, or a package to be neatly tied up in a bow. The best indicator of a relationship that can last is whether it’s enjoyable in the present, says Crisp.
All too often people plan everything about the relationship in advance before they can possibly know everything they need to know about the other person. “He took me out to dinner, that means he wants to marry me,” is hardly an over-simplification of this way of thinking. This tendancy to fast forward leads to trying to force that person to fit into the role you have cast them into. How honoring of them is that?
Sometimes people set an arbitrary deadline by which they expect things to magically change. They say things like, “Once we’re married this will work,” or, “Once we have a child he’ll settle down.” No piece of paper can guarantee a change of behavior—and no child ever made things easier for its parents! The best predictor of how the relationship will be is how the relationship is.
Look at who you’re with, not who you wish you were with. The more you’re willing to be honest with yourself and your partner about who they are and who you are, the better your chances of the relationship succeeding. This does NOT mean you have to share everything. (In fact, one of Crisp’s don’ts is “Don’t share your feelings!”)
What is necessary to be honest with yourself and with your partner about is who you are, what you find important in life over the long term, and values you are not willing to compromise. If one of you is desperate to have children and the other thinks they’re monsters in disguise, you’re headed for rough waters ahead unless one of you finds their point of view unimportant.
The decision to have a child together especially requires this honesty if all your relationships—between you and your partner, and you and your child, and your child and your partner–are to succeed. While most decisions can be undone or changed, the person you have a child with is with you forever—their personality, even if neglectful—will show up in your child, often in ways that are even more annoying than they were in your ex.
This relationship do is also a reflection on the futility of holding onto old relationships. If that past, lost love was really so great, then why are they past and not present? If you’re holding onto the illusion that any past or fantasized relationship is better than the one you have in the present, sooner or later the time will come that your living, breathing, present partner simply won’t measure up to the fantasy man or woman. The guy or gal in front of you has one great advantage over everyone you could ever have fantasized about—they’re present and willing to be so, at least until you drive them away with your comparing them to perfection. Give it up!
Choose someone you like. This is an encouragement to look at the whole person—not just the hot body that attracted you in the first place. Marriage has many elements of a business relationship, and most of your time will NOT be spent in bed. Do you value the opinion of the person you’re with? Do you enjoy their company? Their conversation? Their sense of humor? All of these will occupy much more of your time and attention than sex and can be deal breakers even when the sex is great.
Do these six recommendations surprise you? That could be a good thing—it could be an indication that they’re pointing to some ways you’ve been destroying your relationships without realizing it. The gift of that awareness is that it allows you to change. After all, if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only have the results you’ve got right now. What if looking at relationships differently could allow you to create what you’ve been asking for for years?