Creating Better Relationships

The most important achievements you can ever have in this life is your own happiness.

And the majority of all the happiness you will ever have, will come from your personal relationships. Your interactions and the time you spend with the people you care about will be the major source of the pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction you have on a daily basis.

The key to a happy family life is communication and the amount of time you spend with the people you love. It is not the quality of time, but the quantity of time that counts. The expression "quality time" is used by people to justify and excuse the fact that their lives are so disorganized that they do not spend much time with their spouse or their children. The fact is, that quality time is a function of quantity. Quality moments are those little moments that are precious, unexpected, and important. They arise during the process of spending a large quantity of uninterrupted time with another person. You can't dictate these moments in advance and you can't decide to have quality time. You don't go to it. It comes to you.

There are many ways to get the greatest amount of quality and happiness from your relationships with the members of your family. Perhaps the most important is to spend uninterrupted time with your spouse on a daily basis. You should set aside time together each night to talk after your children have gone to bed. But, it is equally important for you and your spouse to take some time every morning to communicate and interact as well.

Studies have shown that one of the most important things a man can do in a marriage is to help out with the various household and family responsibilities. Help prepare the meals, or take over the responsibility of cleaning up afterward. Help to get the children ready for school or for their activities, and take them there personally so that you can have one-on-one time with them.

One of the most important things that couples can do is to spend the first 30 to 60 minutes after work talking about how their day went. When they come home, many men have the habit of talking about their own days and then watching the television or reading the newspaper, while their wife is left to deal with the children and prepare dinner. And this inevitably causes stress and problems in the relationship.

The key to your emotional stability, and peace of mind is happiness and harmony within your family. So if you're a man, take the time to ask your wife about her day and then listen to all the things that she has to deal with before you start talking about your day. Most men are surprised when they first do this. They find that their wife's day has been equally as interesting as their day has been, if not far more interesting.

One of the most common problems in any relationship is stress. Stress often comes about because we think we know our spouse really well. This knowledge can become a dangerous thing. It can become a communications trap and cause a great deal of stress in a relationship. A communications trap is when we try to read our spouse's mind and then interpret and anticipate what he or she is feeling.

For example, we will often see an expression on our spouse's face that we think we recognize or we think we hear something in his or her voice, and then we act on what we assume he or she is thinking or feeling. But, often, these assumptions aren't reflective of what our spouse is actually feeling. In other words, we're acting on misinformation.

It is important in any relationship to be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Between what you actually see and hear, and what you imagine or assume you see and hear. Just because your spouse might have a frown on his or her face, don't automatically assume something is wrong. He or she might just be thinking or contemplating about something. And if you keep pushing to find out what is wrong, you will often cause unnecessary stress and a problem.

If you see your spouse's arms crossed and his or her lips curled downward don't automatically assume they're angry. Instead of automatically assuming your spouse is angry or upset about something and then asking what he or she is angry about. Imagine how you feel when you have your arms crossed and you lips curled down. Are you upset, angry, or just lost in thought? Think about how you would feel before you start making any assumptions.

When we first met our spouse, we loved him or her, even with all their bad habits. We overlooked the fact that he or she was sloppy or always late, and we focused on the things we loved about him or her. But now, five, ten, or twenty years later, we do the opposite. All we can see is the mess, or that our spouse is always late, or whatever the problem is. We forget, or more often take for granted all the things we loved about that person. This focus on the negative begins a vicious cycle in which we see only the negative, and then feel that's all there is to that person, and then the relationship begins to spiral downward.

When this happens, take the time to sit quietly by yourself and remember what things were like when you first met you spouse. Remember all the things you loved. Remember the things you did together that were really fun. Ask yourself, how long has it been since you told your spouse what you appreciate about him or her. Then, after dinner and the kids have gone to bed, unplug the telephone, go to a nice relaxing place in the house, and tell your spouse what is on your list. Tell him or her some of the things you've been taking for granted, some of the things you've been overlooking in the relationship.

If you do this, and remember all the things you really love and appreciate about your spouse, and then take some time to talk to him or her about them, the results will be wonderful.

One of the keys to a happy relationship is to never make assumptions based on what you think a person's body language is saying. Remove the mind reading and guesswork out of your communication. Don't be a mind reader. Instead, be a curious observer.

Your children have a tremendous need to communicate with you. In fact, research has shown that the one factor that is more important than any other in the development of children is the amount of one-on-one time that parents spend with their children. When parents don't spend a lot of time with their children individually , they send a message to their children that they are not very valuable or important. This causes children to experience feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, and a negative self-image. And this will often lead to poor grades and behavioral problems.

When parents take the time to sit down with their children and ask questions and listen to what is going on in their minds, the children will feel a deep sense of value and importance. The children will have more self-confidence, happiness, and be better able to develop good relationships with others.

We have to remember that we are all value creators in everything we do. If you own a business, you have to create value for you employees or they will not continue to work for you. You have to continually create value for your customers or they won't continue to do business with you. The same is true in your relationships, whether it is your spouse or a close personal friend. You have to constantly create value for the other person and satisfy their needs or they won't stay in the relationship.

You don't have to be superman or superwoman to properly balance the demands of your work and the needs of your family. You must, however, be more thoughtful, and be a better planner, use your time more effectively, and continually think of ways to enhance the quality of your life in both areas. If you set this as a goal and resolve to work toward it every day, you will gradually become far more efficient, effective, and a far happier person. And that is the most important achievement of all.

Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. A former ad agency executive and marketing consultant, Joe's work in personal development focuses on helping his clients identify hidden marketable assets that create windfall opportunities and profits, as well as sound personal happiness and peace.

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