I’ve been collecting relationship advice…

I’ve been collecting relationship advice these past six months from my community. My dear friend and colleague Lloyd weighs in…

“Over the holidays I made a special effort to discover what makes a solid relationship. I asked happy couples about their success and observed the mistakes failed couples were making. Here is the insight I gained:

Be friends first. Genuinely get to know and like the person before you develop intimacy. This entails respecting your partner’s family and friends even if you don’t like them.

Have a hobby each of you are passionate about even if not shared by your partner. Being happy apart is essential to being happy together.

Each of you should have a support group of friends. Caring for others is the same skill as caring for you. And it shares the load.

Clear the major show-stopping obstacles before developing intimacy. Be sure the other is fiscally responsible and has no undisclosed debt or legal problems. Have agreement on children.

Having become friends with someone who is already happy before you met, who has a life, and who brings no insurmountable obstacles to your happiness, you decide to move toward intimacy. These are some of the elements I have seen bring success:

Be sure you are sexually compatible before you commit yourself to a lifetime together. Sexual exclusivity defines marriage. If the bed isn’t happy nothing else matters.

Make your partner feel safe enough to trust you with the deepest of secrets.

Respect your partner’s privacy. Never go through your partner’s private phone, email or other correspondence.

Accept your partner’s past and present outside relationships. No one comes to a new relationship without baggage. Jealousy is the best way to drive a partner away.

Avoid telling the details of your other intimate relationships to your partner unless there is a very good reason. It usually hurts and rarely helps.

Learn to express anger, fear and sorrow without attacking your partner. There is a huge difference between “You made me angry” and “You are selfish.” Never, ever, in word or body language or facial expression show disgust or contempt. Relationships cannot survive contempt.

Share food. Cook for each other with an eye to both health and enjoyment. Feeding a partner is especially powerful in building strong bonds.

May daily “us time” a priority. Touch, hug and kiss often. Build a bed-time routine that culminates in undisturbed love-making before falling asleep.

Build secrets that just the two of you share. Private memories and inside jokes are the substance of your unique relationship.”

– Lloyd