Although relationships are often unpredictable and confusing, we still try to make sense of them. So that’s what i’m doing here— sharing my perspective–so that the next time you reach that point of utter confusion you’ll have something to go on. In my book Dancing on the River there is a whole chapter on Love and Relationships.

But first a little history. There was that time when my focus was on finding the one. You know, Mr Right or Mrs Right. And then I met the one who I thought was the one, who was ready and willing and I started to freak out. I had been single for so long and so used to searching that I didn’t know what to do. Well I got over it and over 20 years has gone by.

Let me share with you 11 guiding principles to deeper intimacy:

1.Be respectful of your partner. You better think of your partner as someone who is pretty special and like who they are as a person.

2. Recognize each other’s strengths. Each of you has certain strengths and gifts. Utilize them to the benefit of the relationship.

3. Have you really made a full commitment? So many couples use every fight as a weapon to challenge the strength of the relationship. If you are really committed you cannot keep challenging the relationship.

4. Commitment to personal growth. Don’t think because you are in that “relationship” that you can stop working on yourself. For a while that was my thinking. When you stop growing you get boring and so does your partner and everything you are involved in. Growth is a lifelong process whether you are alone or with a partner.

5. You need to be flexible. Life evolves and things changes. As you change so does your partner and everything around you.

6. Develop a personal support system, independent of the relationship. Life is not a bowl of cherries, sometime you get a bad pit or a sour taste. In a long term relationship you will experience several challenges. It can be a financial setback, an illness, a loss of a loved one or a personal tragedy.

7. Have or develop a sense of humor, but not necessarily at the expense of your partner.

8. See relationships as a sacred path. In the process you’ll discover more about yourself than anything else you can do.

9. Learn how to deeply listen to each other, which means caring about what your partner longs for.

10. Create a safe vehicle or environment so that you can have authentic and honest discussions around potentially challenging subjects. Have you had a honest discussion regarding your finances? Do you have a financial plan that can work for both of you? Are you mutually responsible for the implementation of this plan?

11. Choose a partner who is capable of mutuality. Perhaps most important is whether your partner can make the commitment. Are they emotionally available?

What about you? Where do you shut down? Are there things in your life, that you refuse to look at? They’re usually are. And that’s our work.

So there it is.



Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes.

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