Everyone wants great relationships. In fact, if you’re having trouble in a relationship, you’re more likely to be unsatisfied with your life, even if everything else is going wonderfully. If you’ve struggled with finding Mr. Right, or the girl of your dreams, you may be focused on the wrong things.
So what, then, are the right things to focus on? As much as I would love to give you a long list of what I think you need to focus on in order to have a better relationship with that special man or woman in your life, I’m going to take a different approach, even though I have been married for 10 years and have never (that’s right, NEVER), had a fight with my wife. We’ve had our challenges, yet we also had a plan on how to handle them. But I’ll save that conversation for another time.
What I want to give you is a strategy for figuring out what behaviors would be considered the best practices in personal relationships. I would rather teach you how to discover this by yourself so you can use this strategy again and again, when you need to tweak something in a relationship. So let’s jump right into the strategy.
How to Be the Ideal Partner
1. Start a Social Survey
When I was in my early twenties, I was several years away from meeting the woman I would marry. However, even though I didn’t know her yet, she was already very important to me. I decided that if this woman was going to be the woman I spend the rest of my life with, I wanted to be the best husband for her that I could possibly be. So I decided that I needed to find out what women looked for in a potential boyfriend, husband, or partner. So I started a survey. I began asking female friends and acquaintances this question: “If you could design the ideal man, what qualities would he have?” I was actually surprised at how open and free the women I queried were in providing me with their preferences, as well as turn-offs and general insights. I started a list and paid special attention to the common qualities that most women looked for.
So this is the first step. Start your own personal survey by asking: “If you could design the ideal man/woman, what qualities would he/she have?”
2. Start a Personal Survey
When you have a general idea of the most common qualities that are considered very important, look at your list of qualities and ask yourself, “Am I strong or weak in that quality?” Go down the list and put a “+” (meaning strong) or “-” (meaning weak) next to each quality, according to your answer.
3. Start Improving Yourself
Reorder the list with your weakest quality at the top, and your strongest quality at the bottom. Now, starting with the first quality, focus on improving that quality in yourself until you feel you’ve made meaningful progress, then go to the next quality on the list. For example, if “Listening” is your weakest quality, practice giving your mate your full attention when he or she is speaking. You might even want to consider doing research on good listening skills so you can target each skill when you practice. As you make your way down the list, you’ll eventually reach the qualities that you rated as strong. Go through those the same way and see if you can even improve those qualities as well. When you reach the end of your list, you can start over as many times as you like, until you’ve strengthened all the qualities on the list.
This is the exact process I went through when I decided to improve myself for the benefit of my future wife. But to be honest, I think there was an even greater benefit to me because going through this process improved all my relationships. Simply stated, it made me a better person.