There are many things you can do and approaches you can take to improve your love life. They are not all equally effective of course, but any effort to improve your relationship is a good thing in my books. However, I don’t want you to be wasting your time struggling to find the best place to start, which is why I wrote this article.
It’s a map of some sorts really, and it I will show you how to improve your love life by focusing on 6 essential components of relationship transformation.
These won’t fix everything you’re dealing with at the moment, but they will give you a great headstart.
Now, I have to warn you that doing them is far from easy.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say.
I can show you the way, but you will have to take the step to apply what I show you here.
That’s up to YOU.
You can lead a horse to the water … and all that stuff.
So, let’s get into it.
I consider these next few strategies the vital few you must consider as part of your strategy if you want to improve your love life:
Identify your core values.
There are a few things you need to consider when it comes to core values.
Many experts refer to values as our inner compass or GPS. It’s what determines what we do and where we go.
Conflicting values are also what sits behind self-sabotage, and why people so often undermined their own success and happiness.
But what are “core values?”
According to Allydog.com,
In psychology Value refers to the relative importance that an individual places on an item, idea, person, etc. that is part of their life. These feelings are unique to the individual. For instance, a person may have a great attachment to some item from childhood that another person might see as garbage, but that item can be said to have great sentimental “value” because of the memories or other association that it evokes in its owner.
Core values in their essence are essentially what we deem to be important, which influences our worldview and therefore what we do as a result of it.
So for example, we all have ideas about life, which shapes and direct us.
Core values people might have about life could include the following:
- A belief, or lack thereof, in God or an affiliation with a religious/spiritual institution
- A belief in being a good steward of resources and in exercising frugality
- A belief that family is of fundamental importance
- A belief that honesty is always the best policy and that trust has to be earned
- A belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance
Holding some of these core values will shape your life to be different from someone who holds different core values.
And, not all core values are positive.
We are not only driven by positive things but also negative things.
Some are driven by greed and jealousy. That could also be your worldview.
You could also believe that the world is a scary place, which will cause you to do life completely differently from someone who believes it is a place of opportunity.
Some examples of negative core values include the following:
- A belief that the world is a fundamentally brutal place and that only the strong survive
- A belief that people are powerless to change their fates or personal situations
- A belief that you don’t deserve good things or relationships in life
- A belief that other people are fundamentally untrustworthy and unloving
- A belief that life is meaningless
Now, why am I emphasising this so much and how does it apply to your relationship?
Well, if you think about it, you will recognise that a relationship between two people is really a combination of individual core values fusing. And of course some other stuff.
Sometimes, however, individuals can hold certain core values which can become a source of confliction and sabotage for the relationship.
Not because certain values are more important than others, but simply because different values shape how we see the world and what we do in it.
And when I see the world very differently from how you see the world, and how we should behave in it, it can influence our relationship hugely.
For example, if I value money above all else and you value family, we might end up in a situation where you start resenting me for not being home enough or the fact that I am pursuing certain financial goals at the expense of our family.
In my experience, if you, as a couple, want to improve your love life, you have to go through a process of identifying your core values.
You need to have a discussion on a personal level, as well as a couple.
- What do you, as an individual, value above all else?
- And what do you, as a couple (family), value or want to embrace as core values?
Unless you go through this process of identifying your core values as a couple, for your relationship, you will simply default back to the core values you brought into the relationship. And sometimes that can work, but more often than not, it doesn’t.
You need to identify some core values as a couple because values shape the way we see the world and how we behave in that.
So, unless you identify and agree on specific core values, say for example “family first,” you will keep behaving in a way and making decisions that hurt your relationship.
Now, most people I know have never really taken the time to identify their values.
That’s like building a house without ever going through a planning stage. You are simply winging it. Not a great recipe for success.
Therefore, if you really want to improve your love life, take some time with your partner to consider the values that are most important to you.
Write them down and review them often.
Which brings us to the next essential component …
Create a vision of the future.
Where our core values are like an inner GPS, vision is about a destination.
When you don’t know where you’re going, it is impossible to know how to get there and when you’ve arrived.
Many couples struggle to create happy love lives because they lack vision.
They don’t know where they are going. They have no idea of the type of relationship they want to create.
They are simply reactive day and in day out.
When we are reactive, however, it’s very difficult to create a life that feels happy and fulfilled. Simply because we’ll never have a sense that we’re working on something that is worthwhile. We’re just reacting and coping. And that sucks eggs!
So, if you want to improve your love life, you need to get very clear about WHERE you’re going as a couple.
What type of relationship are you working towards?
What would your ideal relationship look like?
It is super important to think about the end result of the relationship transformation you want to make.
Get very clear and specific.
Having a vision for every part of your life, by the way, is how you create it.
If you want to lose weight and become fit, think about how you would look and feel.
If you want to become wealthy – what would that look like? What kind of house would you own? How would you spend your day?
There is an old, but powerful, saying in the personal development world that says,
Energy flows where focus goes.
The moment we make something our focus, it starts taking over our world.
The key to creating a vision of the future is to keep it positive.
So many times people have a vision that’s set in the negative.
For example, having a vision that states “I don’t want to be unhappy” is not nearly as powerful as “I want to be happy.”
You need to create a very clear and specific vision of your ideal relationship, as a couple, in order to start working towards it.
But, to stay motivated to keep working towards your vision, you need something else as well …
Determine your “why.”
Knowing your “why” is the petrol in your tank.
Having a compelling “why” for the changes you want to make, will become the driving force behind everything you do.
Some people create a very clear and specific vision of what they want for their relationship (life), but they lack a compelling “why.”
And when you lack a compelling reason for why you want to create a specific result, you will run out of steam long before you actually achieve it.
If you really want to see your vision comes to fruition, you need to spend some time on thinking through your reasons for having that vision.
Ask yourself, “why do I want to make this change?”
Create a long list of reasons why you want to transform.
And if you don’t get excited or motivated by this list, you need to spend more time on it. Or you might have to look at your vision again. Or your values. They might not be true for you, even though they look and sound good.
A few years ago when I lost around 30 kg, being a healthy role model for my two young children, was my compelling “why.”
It motivated me and pushed me through the difficult times when I wanted to give up.
You need to the same thing.
Why do you want to save your relationship?
Why do you want to improve your love life?
Who are you doing it for?
What are you doing it for?
What are you trying to create?
What do you want to feel?
What do you want to experience?
What is your WHY?
Now, apart from having a compelling “why” you also need to …
Identify the qualities and skills you’ll need to develop.
Having clarity about what’s important to you and what you want to create as a couple is a massively important first step, but you also need more than that.
Only knowing what’s important to you and/or what your destination is, will not get you there.
You need to also take action.
But sometimes the gap between where you are and where you need (want) to be can be pretty challenging.
You might find that you actually lack the qualities and skills right now to get you there.
So, that becomes part of your to-do list.
Once you know what your core values are and what your ideal relationship looks like, you also need to identify the qualities and skills you need to develop to make that a reality.
For example, if you want to transform your body, you might need to learn more about exercise physiology, nutrition, and develop some discipline.
If you want to improve your love life, you might need to learn more about communication and conflict, how to create a better connection, the differences between men and women, and how to create deeper levels of intimacy.
Now, this is usually where couples get stuck.
As a couple said to me recently, “we’ve now tried everything we can think of, but need an outside perspective.”
And that’s why they booked some relationship coaching sessions with me.
Waiting until your relationship is in trouble before seeking out marriage counselling or relationship coaching is not the best of timing.
Relationship research has shown that working on your relationship before it gets in trouble is much more effective in the long run.
Relationship coaching for me is like property management.
There is always something to work on, fix, or improve. That’s how the property stays a good asset rather than become a liability and cost.
Maybe, this is where are you are at also right now. Perhaps, you also need an outside perspective on your relationship.
If that’s the case, I’m here for you.
But, irrespective of how you identify the qualities and skills you require to improve your love life, just make sure it’s part of your process.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Identify the resources you’ll require.
This is kind of like the previous one.
Apart from identifying various qualities and skills to improve your love life, you might also need certain resources.
They can be in the form of,
- relationship workshops,
- marriage enrichment seminars,
- online courses,
- or one-on-one coaching.
However you do it, it’s just important that you figure out the resources you’ll need to improve your love life, obtain them, and apply what you learn.
Look, I appreciate that many people believe that they can fix things by simply trying harder.
And that’s a great thought.
The problem with that, however, is that when you do more of the thing that didn’t work in the first place, you simply end up with more of what doesn’t work.
Sometimes you have to break the pattern in do something new.
Identifying and acquiring certain resources can give you that break and teach you something new that can make all the difference in the world.
And how much would that be worth to you?
If you had to pay $200 to learn one idea that could save you from getting divorced, disrupting the lives of your children, and create a long-lasting and happy relationship – would you pay it?
What about $1000?
Sometimes we need to put things in perspective before we’re willing to take action.
This leads to the next essential component need to improve your love life …
Make a plan.
Before you jump in and start working like crazy to improve your love life, take a moment to look at the whole process from a bird’s eye view.
A good idea is to always start with the end in mind, and work backwards from that.
Start at the end and keep working backwards until you reach a step that you can do today.
When you do it this way, you essentially create a map for yourself, with various steps that you can follow.
But, when you look at all the steps you need to take, it’s important to avoid worrying about the details of step 11, for example.
You can worry about that when you’re finishing up step 10.
You don’t need to see 1okm down the road to back out of your driveway.
You just need to see behind you.
The same goes for improving your relationship.
You don’t need to see 10km down the road, you only need to know the next, most important step you need to take.
Focus on that before worrying about the next step.
If, for example, you have intimacy issues with your partner, avoid becoming anxious about how you’re going to fix your sex life.
Just focus on giving him or her a hug every day.
Then, make it four hugs.
Then, make those hugs last a bit longer.
Then, aim to kiss each other daily.
Then, focus on kissing each other for at least 8 seconds.
And so on and so on.
Start with the end in mind, work backwards from there, identify the steps, make a plan, and start with the first step.
Now, it’s also important to remember that sometimes our plans change.
Or better put, they need to change.
Simply because they are not working.
And that’s OK.
When you have given your current plan a good shot, but realise that it’s not getting you anywhere, perhaps it’s time to …
Audit your plan.
Once you have followed your plan for a while, but then note it’s not getting you anywhere or it’s making you feel worse than before, you might have to make some changes.
The world-renowned life coach, Tony Robbins, has worked with millions of people all around the world for more than 4 decades.
In one of his simple recipes for creating massive breakthroughs in people’s lives, has been this little 4-step success recipe:
- know your outcome (clarity)
- take action (decide)
- notice the result (awareness)
- adapt until you get the desired result (welcome frustration)
As you implement your plan to improve your love life, you’re bound to feel some emotional resistance at one or more points.
Doing some things will be much harder than other things. And that’s fine.
If you didn’t, you would have made the transformation long ago.
So, expect frustration, disappointment, lack of motivation, and even discomfort.
It’s also important to address each of the issues that create emotional discomfort because you’re likely to quit if you don’t.
But, once you expect discomfort to be part of the process, it is much easier to deal with when it does show up.
You can then either come up with a plan to work around those issues or just relax and let the negative feelings go. Because you’ve expected them.
Which brings us to the last essential component of relationship transformation …
Don’t quit! Keep going!
This is the most challenging part for most people.
But here is the truth about quitting,
You fail if you quit. You can’t fail if you don’t.
Keep on going no matter how bleak things seem. You can always do better tomorrow than you did today.
A little bit of progress each day or week is all you need.
I was reading a book last night where the author made the point that we need to shift our thinking from thinking in terms of days to thinking in terms of weeks.
Measuring your success (or failure) based on a day is not sufficient. You don’t have enough data to go on. You need more.
Therefore, you need to string together multiple days and at least measure a week. That’s more data. It’s more accurate. It is more helpful.
And when we string together multiple weeks, we can really see whether we are on the right track not.
Then, we can start making adjustments if it’s justified or required.
But not a day.
So keep going. Don’t quit.
Yes, have a good plan, have support and resources, have clarity and know what’s important to you – but keep going. Perseverance is really the ultimate key and overriding essential component for relationship transformation and improving your love life.
You CAN transform yourself starting today. Build a vision and create a plan. And stay the course until you’ve reached your destination.
Live and love fully my friend!