Forget the Hype on Valentines DayValentines Day is Like a Shotgun Wedding.  A holiday of forced romance. Yah I said it.

First off, before I go further, let me make one thing very clear – I LOVE my girlfriend! This post is all about building healthy relationships.

But it’s that time of year again, where we have to make sure we show our love to someone special. Or perhaps are made aware that we don’t have someone to share it with.

We all scramble around trying to make reservations, buy gifts, chocolates, etc. All in the name of love.

When you ask people what their plans are it is usually along the lines of, “Well I HAVE to do something.” Nothing is sexier than someone feeling like they HAVE to treat you special, right?

Valentine’s Day causes more stress for people than any other holiday I know.

  • Did I get it just right?
  • Will they like the restaurant?
  • Did I spend enough?
  • How will it compare to other people’s plans?
  • I hope we don’t fight

But what should be happening on Valentines Day? Well, the way I see it would be to think of it as a reminder of the love you share for someone else and also another opportunity to get cheap chocolates the next day. That’s it. You should be thinking romance and the little things all year round. Yesterday, I wrote about Applying an Olympic Mindset to Your Life and today’s post is a perfect example of getting back to basics for long term success!

Here are three relationship tips so that you can ramp up your connections with your partner this year:

Tip #1) You are BOTH Wrong During a Conflict

Read my recent posts about how Leaders Deal with Challenges, and think about how you can apply that to your relationship this year. How can you initiate and prevent problems from arising?

The easiest way to diffuse a situation is for you to both take accountability for the problem. Even if your partner seems completely crazy and wrong in this moment, ask yourself if there was something you may have done over the past few weeks, months, or even longer that has caused them to feel insecure, angry, or sad? Take ownership of the way they feel and let them know that whatever they are feeling is totally OKAY.

What can you do in your relationship on a consistent basis, that lets the other person know you are
It’s easy to tell someone, “You shouldn’t feel like that.” It is much tougher to admit that perhaps you could have prevented it.

Being vulnerable is the best gift you can give someone else. It takes courage and strength and it makes you human. Get your damn ego out of the way.

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Tip #2) Have Three Goals

Here is a big tip. Your relationship should never be a power struggle. Work together to build some solid long term goals together. The three are:

  1. Your Goal: Have your own goals for your life. Set some personal development, career goals, finance, and health goals. Write them down. Build a strategy. Nothing will get your partner more excited about you than seeing you excited about your potential.
  2. Their Goal: Encourage your partner to have their own goals. Ask them about skills they want to develop, people they want to meet, big ideas they have. Think about ways that you can help them. But make sure you encourage them and empower them to dream.
  3. Our Goal: Have overall relationship goals together. Whether it is finance, health, organization, or whatever, set some goals and think about the future. The best goals to set are in the line of where the relationship should progress. What level of respect do you want to have with each other? What rules should you follow when you argue? (see Tip 1) How will you create open, effective communication? How do you both want to be treated?

Now, the big key is that the “Our Goal” takes precedence over the individual goals. If you spend the time discussing what your best relationship looks like, then when you get into a conflict, you can pull out that card and say, “Is this in line with what we discussed? And how can we fix it?” It no longer becomes a power struggle or me against you. It becomes “you and me against the problem.”

So next time your partner is upset, think about that. How can you BOTH work together to solve it, and then how could you both work together to create the rules that will prevent it in the future?

Tip #3) Keep Each Other Accountable

This is a bit of a tricky one, and can go terribly wrong if not followed correctly. The major point is “NO JUDGING” because it is easy to judge someone and tell them when they failed.  So tread carefully.

When you share your goals with each other in Tip 2, make sure you also include the ways you would like your partner to keep you accountable. Dig deep here. Explain that while you do have this specific goal, your natural tendency is to perhaps procrastinate, feel insecure, self-doubt, etc. And when your partner sees you deviating from your goal, you give them 100% power to pull you aside and remind you what your true goal was. To right the ship.

Without judging.

Accountability in this sense means that their job is to empower you when you are weak. And you have to listen.

Accountability is all about sharing what you want to do, trying to do it, and then discussing why it did or didn’t happen. And looking for ways to improve next time.

Remember nobody’s perfect and when we work together to help each other achieve our goals, it brings stress down, it gets us excited, and it creates TRUE team spirit in your relationship.

Take Action: So that is my message to you this Valentines Day. When you go for dinner this evening, take out some paper and write down some goals together. Talk about dreams and the future. Make plans to do something exciting. Create some relationship values that you will both work on upholding. And make an accountability plan to check in with each other on progress towards your goals.

Have fun my friends, and go get some lovin!

Joe Girard
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