5 Ways to Build Great Relationships


Relationships seem to be one of the biggest challenges in life for many people.  That’s why I want to share some powerful relationship ideas that I have learned throughout my life. In fact, these five core ideas have helped me build  great relationships with even the most challenging people. Although they are focused on improving our relationship with our life partner, they can also be applied to building strong relationships with anyone we meet. So, here are my five ways to build great relationships.

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1. The Investment

A strong and healthy relationship is similar to growing your personal wealth. It needs  time to nurture as well as lots of focus and commitment to make it work over the long-term. So, the first rule of a great relationship is to be willing to commit your positive and loving energy to make it work even when you go through a tough times.

Another analogy is that of a garden. It will die unless you give it lots of attention every day. You have to be willing to give it regular love, care and attention to make it thrive. Therefore, it’s important to accept that great relationships only form when we work on them every day. A healthy relationship requires requires great communication skills which can be very challenging. So, read the next section on bringing real communication to your relationships.

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2. Two Way Radio

Many people fall into the trap that good communication is all about talking to their partner. Talking openly is only one part of the puzzle.  Really effective communication involves active listening, just like a two way radio. In order to know that we have been understood, we must listen intently. We are born with two ears and one mouth. So from today, try listening and probing for more understanding  during all your communications.

This is not so easy for some people like me. I love talking to others and have to actively switch myself into listening mode. This is more powerful than it may seem on the surface. The simple act of allowing someone else to to talk without being interrupted can be extremely powerful for building strong relationships. When we practice active listening we become open to the next idea which is to become an expert on our partner.

3. The Expert

When we commit to a long term relationship, it’s important we are willing to become an expert on the other person.  Building great relationships involves deeply understanding our partner or other person.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. When we understand our partner deeply, we can learn to recognize and praise their strengths. On the flip side, we can also learn to recognize their weaknesses and bring compassion and understanding to them.

Therefore, if you are want to build a long term healthy relationship, we must become an expert on other people. Also, we must be willing to understand and accept their weaknesses.  Many of these weaknesses often show up as poor habits that don’t align with our own.  It is this lack of alignment of expectations that can create tension in relationships.  These differences mus first be recognized and them understood. Beyond understanding we can also use positive two way communication to clarify our feelings about our differences.

For most people, this can be a point where conflict occurs. If you use the next technique you can learn how to allow your relationship to grow and thrive beyond conflict.

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4. Thriving Beyond Conflict

Conflict is unfortunately part of everyday life that can destroy a relationship. However, it is possible to not only survive conflict, but to thrive from it. This may sound impossible, but I assure you that conflict can be an opportunity to strengthen any relationship.

Let me explain how this works. Most conflict happens because we have fixed positions over something. It is natural for all human beings to want ot be right on every subject. I have position A and you take position B. This creates tension and conflict. Also, it often ends with one person winning and one losing. In the short term, that’s fine. However, in the long term, being made to lose all the time can destroy any relationship. So, how can we get past this very common issue.

Move Beyond Conflict

According to Stephen Covey, you can resolve any conflict in two steps. You must be willing to look for a compromise solution that works for both parties. This is often called a win/win solution, and is powerful because each party is willing to explore solutions where everyone wins. Covey calls this process synergy. This involves going beyond your fixed position to look for a third solution or an option C that works for all. This is the power of synergy at work. Therefore, the next time you find yourself unable to agree on how to move forward, try to explore a win/win solution that works for everyone. For me, this often leads to creative solutions that are much better the the individual ideas that initially created potential conflict.


5. Keeping Relationships Fresh

We human beings are all creatures of habit. This impacts how we behave, but also impacts how we behave in our relationships. Over a long period it’s very easy to allow a relationship to become automatic. This can leave us feeling bored and uninspired about our relationship. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to keep your relationship as fresh and exciting as the day it started. Here are a few of my favorites.

Power of the Date

Most relationships start with a series of date nights that help form our relationship. This aspect is often lost or forgotten as everyday life and habit takes over.  Therefore, try to harness the power of the date. Agree on an activity you both enjoy and book a regular date. This can also be a way of trying new, exciting and inventive things that you can experience together. It also gives you a regular time together to communicated deeply that often can’t be achieved in our normal environment.

The Power of Feedback

At our core, we all love to hear positive feedback about ourselves. Therefore, form a great new habit in your relationship. Rather than focusing on you partners weaknesses, focus on their strengths. Unleash the power of heart felt compliments. I have a list of all the things I love and cherish about my wife. I now have the habit of noticing these positives as they happen in our life. So, learn to give positive feedback in the form of compliments and thanks.

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Power of Touch

Touch can have a profound impact on how we feel. Regular contact with another human being releases powerful brain chemicals the bring strong feelings of well-being. Therefore, don’t under estimate the power of touch with your partner. Find ways for direct contact that work within your relationship.

Power of Attention

In this age of digital distraction, I often feel sad when I see couples sitting together each absorbed on their digital devices. I understand that they are now powerful tools in our lives. However, think back to the beginning of your relationship. I’m pretty sure there was total attention on each other. Giving each other your total attention is a very powerful gift. So, make sure you spend some time together everyday without any sources of distraction. This is also a time when you can practice your active listening skills with your partner as outlined in section #1 above.

What Next?

Building great relationships is part of the journey of life. There isn’t one single quick fix. However, you can begin a journey of change and growth today by trying these proven ideas. If you want change in your life you must be willing to change.

Therefore start right now. Listen more to understand others while giving them the powerful gift of your total attention. When you next disagree on any issue, try listening and then finding a third or compromise solution that works for everyone.  These three ideas alone, have helped me forge very powerful relationships in every part of my life.

Have fun and keep unleashing the powerful you.


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