What to know a secret? It's one we've been diligent about putting into practice in our May-December marriage, but it's one that will enhance ANY relationship.
Learn to listen to, hear, and understand your partner. Want to know why this is so incredibly important? A very wise supervisor of ours from years ago gave us the following definition for self-esteem:
- Feeling successful as you define success -and-
- Being listened to, heard, and understood by the people important to you. (Yes - you actually build their self-esteem when you do this.)
We've put the definition to the test both personally and professionally. It works. You'll never settle an argument (for once and for all) or work through difficult issues unless both you and partner believe you've been heard and understood by each other.
You're going to have to work at this one. Saying "I understand" is NOT enough. It take real understanding. How will you know you've got it? First, if you're thinking your partner is crazy, irrational, stubborn, nuts, selfish, a pig or something similar you're not there yet. Second, when you get there you'll see it in your partner's eyes. It may start as a look of surprise. After a while you'll recognize it as the look of love.