I have often observed people in happy relationships. My brother has been with his girlfriend for 20 years, my dad was with his girlfriend for 20 years before deciding to get married. I also have many happily married friends. What’s their secret?

They like themselves

 Time and time again, I find that those that have done the work before entering a relationship are often the happiest within a relationship. The like themselves, they have worked on the things that have made them fail in previous relationships. They are not focused on just their partners but a personal journey of making sure that they feel fulfilled from withn. That they are making choices that make them happy. They are kind to themselves and make time for themselves. Time to read a book, time to work out, time to grow as a person. 

They believe they are worthy of great love, not a mediocre kind of love but a rich, profoundly embracing kind of love. They won’t settle for less. They believe this love is out there and until it comes their way, they are happiest working on themselves.

Learn to receive the love that is offered to you

Are you like me where you find it easier to give than receive? You feel awkward when someone offers to do something for you or buys you something, no matter how small? Why do we feel this way? Receiving makes us feel vulnerable. We want to come across as independent and strong, and accepting flowers, for example, makes us feel exposed, but it is in that vulnerability that you give a man the chance to feel close and bonded to you. You make him feel like “he is the man” when you graciously accept them rather than saying, “You shouldn’t have.” He should have, and you should be able to accept gifts of service and of material means with grace and gratitude. Let your man in, let him feel close to you.

Give him the benefit of the doubt

He’s a good person, right? You chose him because he is kind and generous, funny and communicative, you chose him because innately you know that he has great potential to be an amazing partner. So don’t look for the red flags, don’t try to over-analyze everything he says. You know deep down he is coming from a good place, with loving and caring intentions? Well then, let your relationship breathe, allow yourself the joy of having togetherness, plan sweet day trips, plan weekend getaways, make the other person know that they are a priority in your life. When he feels special, he will connect and fall in love with you. 

Mostly, learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. Be open, be vulnerable, be raw. Let him see you for who you are, appreciate you for your sweet gestures, and let him feel special by your appreciation for him.

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