Like Owning Your Own Business, A Relationship is Something You Have to Invest In
In many ways, being in a relationship or marriage is a lot like owning your own business. When we have a business, we have clients or customers we need to provide something for – a product or service. We also want to make sure the people we work with – our employees – are getting what they need. In an intimate relationship, your partner is kind of like a customer you want to provide for and keep happy – and, of course, they should be doing that for you, too.
These four principles apply to both maintaining a business and maintaining an intimate relationship:
1. People Want to Be Seen
We all want to be seen. If you’re a business owner, your job is to see your customers and employees – to know what they prefer to do and not to do, what their strengths and challenges are, and what you can do to encourage them to do something they might not love doing (if it’s one of their job duties). In a relationship, it’s the same. You want to let your partner know that you see them – that you’re paying attention to them and the things they like and dislike, and are responding to them in the ways they prefer.
2. People Want to Be Heard
We communicate through not only our words, gestures, and tone, but also through our behavior. And we want to be heard and understood. How do we let our customers/partners know that we are hearing them? One effective way is through the Imago Dialogue technique. This three-step process begins with mirroring, which allows you to let someone know you’ve heard them, by paraphrasing what they’ve said.
3. People Want to Be Known
We want our partners especially to know who we are and to really get us in the deepest way. So, how do we let our person know that we really know them? Pay attention – and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand. This is just like when a business owner uses market research or other data to find out what their customers or employees respond to. Once we know what the person responds to, we can show them that we know who they really are. It’s how business owners keep customers and employees happy, and it’s how we keep our romantic partners happy. Your own goals are important, of course, but your partner (or your employees) should know that you’re happy to help them meet their goals, too.
4. Everyone Wants to be Wanted
We all long for belonging, for connection. We want to be included, and we want to be valued. Without customers and employees, a business wouldn’t be able to function. It wouldn’t be what it is. And without your partner, your relationship won’t be what it is. How do you demonstrate to your partner that you want them? Take steps to learn their love language, their preferences, and what turns them on, and to let them know that you want them over anyone else, and that you’re invested in wanting them. That’s how you create true intimacy in a relationship – that’s how you make your love work.
In the following video, I go deeper into these four principles, and how you can let your partner know you see, understand, and value them.
Gain the Relationship you Desire
This LoveWorks is more than therapy – it is a process of relational transformation that takes advantage of the most relevant, accessible, understandable, and up-to-date information available. We want to help you and your partner to develop a deeper connection, recognize and fight dysfunction, and heal your relationship.