Be The Best Partner Possible: 5 Key Shifts For Leveling Up Your Love

become the one better love improvement tips Feb 13, 2023
pink background with two rocks illustrated like people. The rock on the left is handing a red heart to the one on the right.

Valentine’s Day can be a great reminder to up your game and be an even better partner to your beloved, but in truth, every day is good day to bring more love into your relationship(s). Taking your relationship to the next level, however, isn’t just about doing or saying nice things for your partner; it’s about expanding who YOU are– becoming an even better version of yourself than you’ve been. An even more joyful, connected, passionate, and deeply loving relationship awaits you, and it making these 5 shifts will undoubtedly empower you to get there. 


  • Own your shit


There is nothing more important or transformative for a relationship than for partners to turn their focus away from what they wish were different in the other person and start attending to what needs to be different within themselves. Believe it or not,  90% of your fears, frustrations, and challenges are about YOUR stuff, and only 10% is actually about your partner. That 90% comes from your history, your nervous system wiring, your beliefs, your expectations, the meaning you give or the stories you tell about your partner and your relationship, and the parts of you that aren’t healed and are hoping your partner will heal them for you. 

There’s no getting around it; you are part of both the problems and solutions in your relationship! By turning your focus toward your own stuff, you empower yourself to make more meaningful differences in your relationship; you don’t actually have much power to change your partner, so focusing on where you do have power (you) is a much more effective place of initiating change. Better yet, owning your stuff helps you to shift into more compassion, grace, and acceptance for your partner. Ironically, this very process, which we call practicing the skill of Empowered Accountability, is the most effective way to inspire and invite your partner into doing their respective work and improving how they show up in the relationship too.  


  • Love is something you do


If you’re like most people, you’ve grown up believing that love is something you feel—that it’s a byproduct of a good and happy relationship. While this may be true in part, these expectations–that the delightful feelings of love for and by another person will just be there if things are good– end up causing a lot of pain for couples. 

Love is not just a feeling. Love is something you do. The feelings are cultivated by the act of loving. That is, by choosing to do love (to give love, to be loving) you are going to feel more love for another person– even for yourself, and the world. When you choose to love, you become loving. And the more love you give, the more love will be returned to you. 

Understanding love as something you do makes choosing love a more conscious, intentional act. When you stop expecting the feeling of love to just result and start being intentional about doing the loving thing (even, and perhaps especially when you don’t feel loving), you will become an active cultivator of love in your relationship. Consciously loving your partner is a powerful way to take your relationship to the next level. 


  • Grow through discomfort


Whether we like it or not, all growth happens through discomfort. And it just so happens that relationships are like people-growing petri-dishes– which is to say that relationships, by their nature, will bring about a LOT of discomfort. Although we often experience growth as causing or being uncomfortable in and of itself, I would argue that the reverse is true. Growth doesn’t cause discomfort; discomfort, contrast, challenges, and even pain cause growth. 

What this means for leveling up your relationship is that when you and your partner are fighting, hurting, or otherwise challenged, you don’t have a problem—you have an opportunity. Becoming a better partner happens when you allow those challenges to pull you into a better version of yourself. If you can carry the perspective that struggles are there to teach you, you shift into being more open to their lessons and less distressed about their presence. Thus, with every struggle, fight, fear, and frustration, you expand into a better version of yourself, and your relationship will only benefit from that.


  • Cultivate positive sentiment


In his extensive research on relationships, Dr. John Gottman has found that the presence of  negative sentiment override, or the ongoing interpretation of one’s partner through a negative light, was predictive of relationships that didn’t last. But even if you haven’t yet reached the point of consistent negative interpretations, seeing your partner or relationship negatively on any occasion is going to take its toll. 

It is possible, however, to consciously cultivate positive sentiment in your relationship. This means that you intentionally choose to give your partner the benefit of the doubt, to assume positive intent, and to trust that they care about you and the relationship. Cultivating a positive sentiment means looking for evidence that supports your partner’s goodness, letting go of resentments, and making space for humanity, imperfections, and differences without them taking on a negative meaning in your relationship. 

Seeing your partner in a positive light, makes a big difference not only in how you feel about them but also in how you treat them. When you feel good about your partner and your relationship, you show up more powerfully, with more love and compassion, and in a way that helps your partner feel safe, accepted, and trusted. This, in turn, helps your partner to lower their defenses, feel better about you, and become motivated to be an even better and more loving partner to you in return. 


  • Learn


It is an unfortunate truth in our culture that interpersonal relationships are not a foundational topic of study alongside things like reading, math, science, and history. We wrongly assume that relationships are something that, by sheer virtue of being in them, all people learn how to do. We expect ourselves and our partners to do them well, especially if we love one another, and we become frustrated and disheartened when that doesn’t happen. 

Relationships, however, are a skill like any other. We become better at doing relationships when we understand what it is we are trying to do, what helps them thrive, what causes problems, and how to solve those problems most effectively. We need to learn tools for connecting, skills for communicating, and, perhaps most importantly, to develop insight into ourselves. 

The more you can bring awareness and understanding to your relationship(s), the more choices you will have for consciously engaging in them. Instead of reacting from an unconscious auto-pilot place, as most people do most of the time, choices empower you to actively and intentionally create the kind of relationship experience you most want to have. 

When you know better, you do better, but if you don’t yet know, you’ll need to take the time to learn. There are a lot of ways to learn more about relationships and how you can take them to the next level. In fact, by reading this blog, you’ve already done just that! It must start, however, with the decision and commitment to keep learning more and continues with the active pursuit of new information and understanding. 

Our Be The One Program empowers couples to make these shifts while learning and practicing the most powerful and relationship-transforming skill I’ve come across in nearly 20 years of learning and working in the couples therapy field.  And as of late Spring, 2023, we will be offering this program digitally, so you and your partner can experience the expansion, growth, and leveling up that you desire at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy or coaching.  But if you want more support than that, we are here for it! Schedule your FREE 90-minute Relationship Empowerment Call here, and Calvin and I will help you to gain more clarity around what’s not working, how you’d like things to be different, and the most powerful steps for getting there, including whether and how we can help. 

Also, check out our TOP 5 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR RELATIONSHIP QUICKLY– a FREE PDF and 30-minute quick course to empower you with simple and immediate steps that will make a big difference in your relationship.

If you’d like to explore working with us in our Be the One relationship coaching program, make sure to schedule your FREE 90 minute Relationship Empowerment call!

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