How to Build a Lasting Relationship with Your Partner

Photo by: Kristina Likova Photography

When I was in my teenage years, the whole concept of romantic relationships was quite distant and unfamiliar to me. As a sensitive child, I used to overthink and withdraw into my safe haven of books and visions of the perfect romantic story. One day my elder sister, who first showed interest in the self-development area and opened the gates to this new world to me, brought home a book called

Love Tactics: How to Win the One You Want” by Thomas W. McKnight and Robert H. Phillips.

As an avid reader, I started reading it at the same time with her. I was so eager to see what it was all about that I was waiting for my sister to put it down and I would quickly pick it up and go somewhere quiet to plunge into this magical unfamiliar world of relationships.

Many ideas were true revelations but there were some which were not applicable to our reality, like the advice to find meet-up groups of people with the same interests. Growing up in a small town in Bulgaria, we didn’t have many social activities or clubs. However, there is one great tip that struck me back then and I still find very relevant nowadays:

The three pillars of love relationship are friendship, respect and passion.

The authors explain that these components are the ground on which a love relationship should be built. Let’s break these down to what they actually comprise and see if they apply to your relationship.

  1. Friendship

There is a saying that your partner should be your best friend, or I would say at least a very good friend. Sharing everyday issues as well as your strivings, goals and dreams for the future is vital. You both have to nourish a climate of openness, honesty and vulnerability. Reliability and communication are two of the main qualities of every friendship, so try to develop them in your romantic relationship, too. And last but not least – have fun as you would do with your bestie!

  1. Respect

Giving enough time and attention to our partner is an expression of respect to them. Listening to them, understanding their opinion and being compassionate in times of trouble is essential. Always speaking highly of them in front of other people regardless if they’re present or not. Believing in them and nourishing their personal development and dreams. Respecting their space and time, not restricting them in expressing themselves, their social lives or hobbies.

  1. Passion

Well, let’s face it – without attraction two people from the opposite sex can be friends but not lovers. It’s not about physical appearance, height, weight or age – it’s all about whether you feel physically drawn to the other person. Do you like the way their skin smells? Do you feel desired in their presence? Do you crave intimacy with them? Passion starts long before a relationship is consummated and should also be looked after and developed the same way as nurturing friendship and respect.

Quite a few years passed by after these initial revelations but I’ve always kept them at the back of my mind when being in a relationship.

In reality, we gain wisdom mostly from the pain and break-ups. When you personally experience what you don’t want, it’s much easier to discover what you do want and set yourself up for success. Let the three pillars of love orientate you – do you feel respected in your relationship? Are you building a solid friendship with your partner? Is there enough passion between you and how can you fan the flames? Learning to set healthy boundaries is one of the biggest lessons we can learn and practise it daily. And to you – what’s the single biggest insight that you can take away and how can you put it into action?

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