Friday, September 21, 2012

6 Ways To Cultivate The Culture of Your Relationship

According to Webster, the word culture is defined as follows. 

1. the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education 
2. the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization 
3. the act or process of cultivating living material 

Just as you might experience a corporate culture in your professional life, your relationship also has a culture, which is developed (or cultured/cultivated) by the actions of the participants. 

Here are six ways to culture your culture so it becomes a healthy breeding ground for friendship, love, respect and honor. 

1. Choose well. This is the most important. Take the time to choose the right partner. Don’t rush into a relationship because you’re lonely or want to be rescued from the circumstances of your life. You must “rescue” yourself. Learn to be happy on your own and then seek a partner that can enhance your already wonderful life. 

2. Practice your communication skills. You were given two ears and one mouth. That should be your first tip-off that you should listen twice as much as you talk. Practice active listening instead of just waiting your turn to jump in and express your thoughts. 

3. Don’t let little annoyances fester. Oftentimes, if you find yourself continually clamping your mouth shut over a behavior that really sets you on edge. This little annoyance can turn into something bigger than it needs to be. Ask your partner if he or she would have time to discuss something. This way you’re not cornering him/her without any warning. When in a calm state of mind, discuss your grievance and provide alternative ways of handling the same issue. This turns a potential argument into a productive session where partners can reach a compromise. 

4. Find the balance between your personal and professional lives. Often, every part of your life demands attention and equal time. Unfortunately, there is no “equal” time. At times, you must devote all your energies to your job, for example, when you have a big presentation looming in front of you. Other times, you must forego work to attend your child’s athletic game or school performance. As with all circumstances in life, you need to get your priorities in order and decide which area will get your focus at what time. Family members need to be accommodating and flexible. If you’re a family unit, you have the same goals and each person needs to do his/her own job, which may include being a support person only. 

5. Honor your differences. I’m not a big fan of opposites being in a relationship because it seems to make everything twice as hard. However, I also don’t believe you need to be clones of each other either. With core values in common, along with a shared rhythm of life, each partner goes out into the world and brings back interesting information to share. Sometimes, one will be the teacher and the other the student, and, at other times, vice versa. Balance is all about shifting the focus back and forth, and this creates the days of your life. 

6. Learn from the past, focus on the present; keep an eye on the future. Rather than repeating ingrained patterns that have not served you well in the past, glean the lessons to make beneficial changes. Enjoy the present by living in gratitude for what you have vs. what you feel is missing. The act of always wanting more leads to discontentment in the present. While it’s important to keep an eye on the future and plan accordingly, the present is all we really have. Appreciate the one you’re with while you have the time to do so. Learn to love and accept your partner’s love unreservedly. That’s the answer to why we are here on Earth.

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