7 Laws of Healthy Relationship Building: What Are We All Hungry For?

relationship building

The easy response to this question is CONNECTION. The interesting answer is excitement and joined ambitions. Relationships will be the proving ground for our notions and fantasies about where we would like to go and what we would like to do. And it happens on a daily basis. I think in a relationship, you’re either going towards or away from the spouse in virtually every action. If you start to ask yourself what would be supportive of your romantic relationship, you can start to examine if you’re partially IN, partly OUT, or all the way IN. I’ve been striving to obtain the all-the-way-in lady in my life for the past nine decades. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along my journey home.

ONE: Search for pleasure.

Folks appear with a certain quantity of joy — it could be influenced and nurtured, but an angry person is difficult to maintain a relationship with. They could find optimism in the midst of battle and disappointments. I am searching for one more joyful person. I learned in my marriage that JOY + ANGER doesn’t equivalent JOY. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t make my wife happy. The knowledge is simple,”Happiness is an inside job.” However, the execution of a joyful life is a part nurture and part character. I look for pleasure first. In their eyes. In their plans for their future, long before I ever showed up.

Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt in most situations. And when something does not feel right, go after it as soon as possible. Even when what you will need to talk about is hard, go ahead, and give it an honest effort. Know about how you approach issues, and learn how to soften your delivery. Find your role in the issue and start there. Request clarification. Request a fix if the skip was on your side. Try to leave nothing unspoken.

[Exception: understand when the sleeping dog ought to be addressed at a later time. I’m usually too ambitious in my approach to removing uncertainty and disconnects in my relationships. I’ve learned to pause at times, even when I believe I have the solution. Give the other person the opportunity to settle, figure it out for themselves, but do not delay if things are beginning to feel painful.]

I think online dating has its own place. For me, online dating was like training wheels as I got back to the thought of dating and relating to some other person, after my divorce. But online dating is only going to get you so far. Locating the areas where you join with another person (besides the bedroom) is part of the joy of about another individual. Are they running? Is there any way you can connect together, even when you aren’t a runner? Is there a game you used to love but have not done in a while? Ask. Maybe you may get a new experience together. The”together” part is vital. If you’re moving towards a long-term connection, then it is the”collectively” moments that matter. What you’re doing is less important. This is the reason why binge-watching a show with somebody at your side, is much more satisfying that doing it alone.

When you feel that an”ouch” attempt to articulate what is feeling off to yourself. Then accept the notion that you might be the part that is off. The anger and frustration could be yours alone. Or you might have hit a cause of a past hurt that must come up for healing with your new spouse. When something strikes, people may tend towards isolation and psychological exits, as opposed to turning into, and back towards, their spouse. Find the best way to name and feel the hurt before you expect your spouse negotiate a solution or any compromise that will feel better for you. And here is the truth: your spouse can’t make you happy.

FIVE: Fearless honesty.

This one goes to the heart of the issue. Be honest with your spouse at all points along your journey together. When things are off, attempt to express this in a compassionate manner. If things are not working out, say something. If you are planning your escape (breakup, divorce, next relationship) allow the present partner know. Let them know before beginning executing your exit plans. And when things are great do not forget to say it. Allow the tender stuff out too. Feeling a moment of vulnerability? Tell your partner. Feeling especially well-attached, tell them. Find your partner stunningly beautiful, say it. Give them the gift of your joyful honesty too. Do it often. Learn how to express your joy and your sadness. Give the gift of honesty to your spouse. Ask them to do the same.

We take a million steps daily in our lives. Have a mindfulness day and observe your activities. Does this meal I am preparing tonight support my spouse? Try and keep the Notion of the WE in mind. As a couple, the WE is all about respect and attention. If I have thoughts and ambitions, or when I want to get away for a weekend, I should want to check on the WE part of my life. “here is what I’d love to do this weekend. It’s a simple gesture, but we could forget the WE or take the WE for granted. In exactly the same vein, do not make plans for your spouse without checking-in. It is not about control. It is about love and respect. You love this person enough to place your relationship with them beforehand of any spontaneous decision or program change you want to make. Consider your partner in every one your actions. Ensure that you are turning towards them{} away from them.

SEVEN: Agree into a simple strategy.

Agree to contact your partner in every area of your life. If something is difficult it may be coming up for recovery. A recovery that only a loving partner can offer. As you proceed from past hurts and past relationships you’ll probably discover some tender points. Make these moments of connection and healing. Your spouse is invested on your happiness. Releasing old wounds to the flame of a new love is the best way I know of regaining your vibrant self. Go for it. Find the spouse of your dreams and commit to building the relationship you deserve.

Love is an active travel. Your participation isn’t optional, it is mandatory. Give your partner all you have and expect the same from them. This manner, you can both move closer together, move through old scars and dysfunctions, and develop a relationship that becomes all you’ve ever desired.

In a loving relationship, I could become a happier version of myself. I believe that is what we’re all hungry for. Being happier in our own lives. For me, this entails a romantic relationship.

Always Love,

John McElhenney — life trainer austin texas

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I’m Divorced and Prepared to Start Over.

I’ve been divorced for 3 years and it took a while to get here. I just don’t know where to begin.

Answer: Congratulations! I respect you for doing the job you have done to be prepared to begin over!

Where to start? We could talk for an hour about it!

I would advise that you get clear on the qualities you want in a person, in a relationship, in a lifestyle. Also get clear on what you offer your man, your gifts, your strengths, your distinctive yumminess. Often we believe that part of our life is a turn off or weakness, for example I am a single mother and right now I have my son Wednesdays and every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends. On the one hand, I might be afraid he thinks I am a bad mother or if he has children, our schedules are not aligned… however on the other hand, he can LOVE I have that program providing additional time for us to cultivate a solid base. There’s someone PERFECTLY suited to precisely who you are and how your life is… promise.

I would also suggest making space for him in your life. Go out more if it’s originally with girlfriends or even alone, so you get in the tradition of earning time so far and enjoy getting to know guys until you find one that you particularly fancy! Go through your wardrobe and actually ask, What do I look fantastic in? What clothes say, I’m hiding and recovery from my divorce? I recall giving away these’flowing loose” clothing which didn’t show my body off, because I was not ready for focus yet.

Finally trust your gut instincts about how you’d love to meet him, the way the Universe is bringing him to you… yet also be ready to reside outside the box, stretch yourself, be ready to be surprised. By this I mean you might choose to employ a relationship coach or matchmaker and not be interested in the internet world… yet taking the time to write a killer profile and take some sexy shots of yourself might very well lead you to him… be ready to be pleasantly surprised while still being true to you. A balancing act… yet that is life… we appear to do our best, and {} completely out of control, yes?

I know you understand this. Yet it’s a fantastic reminder. You can not WANT him HAVE him at precisely the exact same time. Do some potent launch work to let go of wanting him, so you aren’t destitute on your dates and may function as invitational feminine glorious space to possess him. And if that is proving to be hard, then I’d really like to steer you to bring that amazing man with a series of training sessions so that blind areas are dissolved and you’re the most irresistible lively force of character possible… so he can not overlook your radiance no matter what!

Wishing you enormous love and joy for this delicious experience,


A version of the post was previously published on Allanapratt.com and is republished here with permission from the author.


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–Recently, there’s been a gush of articles in the media about a frequent issue in romantic relationships: mistrust between spouses that erodes positive feelings and love. While it’s not unusual for people to worry that their spouse has the capability to rove, girls are more likely to experience trust problems than men in relationships.As an example, at The Normal Bar analysis, the authors gathered groundbreaking data from 70,000 participants globally and found that only 39% of women in their sample (compared to 53% of men) fully trust their partners. The authors ask: What is wrong with this picture?Why are girls more mistrustful than guys? The solution may lie in what could be tagged insecurity or a lack of self-trust. Trust is about much more than catching your spouse in a lie or truth. It’s about believing he or she has your best interests at heart.An inability to trust somebody may take several forms — ranging from feeling they are being unfaithful, dishonest, or close to doubting they will keep their promises be dependable.Every man or woman is born with the capacity to trust other people but through life experiences, we become less trusting as a kind of self-protection. The separation of a long-term relationship or marriage can set the stage for feelings of mistrust. This might be particularly true for women that are socialized to put more value on proximity and mutuality than guys are.Enduring your parents’ divorce may also leave you with lingering feelings of mistrust because their relationship was your first teacher about love and devotion. It is no wonder because her father betrayed her mother several times and finally left the family and moved in with a family friend.But, Erik has not given Makayla any reason to mistrust him. He is a loving, loyal husband who matches his vows and hasn’t cheated on her. Makayla has a propensity to blow things out of proportion when she says”You are always late and inconsiderate of my requirements.” When Erik returns home a little late from running an errand or visiting the gym, Makayla is frequently full of suspicion and sends him multiple text messages. These activities show a lack of confidence in herself and fuel Erik’s feelings of anger and frustration toward Makayla.But since they have been attending counselling together, Erik is working on revealing Makayla through consistency in his words and actions that he is there for her. He is focusing his energies on being empathetic and listening to her feelings as opposed to becoming defensive or shutting down. Meanwhile, Makayla must learn how to analyze her thought processes. She has to be ready to forego self-defeating ideas — to free herself from the patterns of her youth.Before, Erik’s defensiveness about Makayla’s accusations caused her to become even more mistrustful. It was entirely the wrong approach but one of them were conscious of it. However, in order for her to construct trust with Erik over the long term, Makayla must be exposed and expose her true feelings. If she shuts Erik out or does not express her fears and insecurities, she will start to imagine the worst. They have both discovered that honest and open communication is the key to restoring love, trust, and intimacy in their relationship. Ask yourself: is your lack of confidence on account of your spouse’s actions or your own problems, or both? Ask yourself: is there congruence between my spouse’s words and actions? Does he keep significant promises and agreements? Gain awareness about how your responses may be having a damaging influence on your relationship and take responsibility for them. Do not always assume that your spouse’s behavior is intentional — sometimes people simply make a mistake. Be open to your spouse’s perspective. Ensure that your words and tone of voice are consistent with your aim of building trust. Exercise attunement with your spouse. Dating expert, Dr. John Gottman defines attunement as the desire and the capacity to comprehend and respect your romantic partner’s inner world. He writes:”Attunement provides a blueprint for restoring and building trust in a long-term committed relationship.” Remember that learning to trust is a skill which may be nurtured over time. It can be a slow procedure. With persistence and courage, you can turn hurts from past betrayals into classes. In his book, The Science of Trust, Dr. John Gottman challenges how the majority of us define hope. He states that trust is an action as opposed to an idea or belief — more about what our spouse does than what you or I do.You may enter a relationship with fractured trust for many different reasons. A recent separation or divorce isn’t necessarily the root cause. However, as you become more aware of your tendency to mistrust your spouse, you can end up and ask: Is my mistrust coming from something which is actually happening in the present, or can it be related to my previous? Trust is more of an acquired skill than a sense. When you sustain the loss of a connection as a result of broken trust, it makes you smarter and more keenly able to extend hope to people that are worthy of it. You can learn how to trust your instincts and your judgment once you really deal with your anxieties. If you can come to a location of self-awareness and understand the choices which were made that led up to trust being severed, you may begin to approach others with faith and confidence.While learning how to trust may be one of our greatest challenges as women, it is important to understand that doubts are common in relationships. Practicing being vulnerable in tiny measures will promote open and honest communication — a vital step to restoring faith in love. Trust is crucial to helping both partners feel protected and building a happy relationship that endures the test of time.–A version of the post was formerly published on Movingpastdivorce.com and is republished here with permission from the author. ◊♦◊Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here.–Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

The article 7 Ways Women Can Build Trust in Relationship With a Male Partner appeared on The Great Men Project.

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3 Required Traits for Building a Lasting Relationship

dating as a single dad

I’ve been divorced for nine decades. And in those years, I’ve spent the past six of these working pretty hard at finding a willing partner and starting the trip from the”hello” date to the first kiss and so forth. I loved being married. I wanted my marriage to continue. Even if things were rough between us, I had been the one on the optimistic side of the counselor’s couch saying things like,”This is a terrific moment for us to reset our expectations about how we will pay for this lifestyle we’re enjoying.” Well, that did not work out so well.

Since my divorce, I’ve attempted to grow as an emotionally intelligent guy. I have worked on myself. And I have gone on lots of dates. (I even wrote a book about it: Single Dad Seeks) And over the past few relationships, I’ve started to discover a balance between what I am willing to put out there of my vulnerability. I also have learned lots of things I’m not ready to take in a partner.

I’ve approached dating as a procedure to identify, qualify, and finally partner with a single girl. The dating part is vital, but dating isn’t the objective. Sex is vital, but gender, also, isn’t the objective. Working to identify and research a combination of those three variables, is how I’m navigating my approach to finding my next long term connection.


It’s very important that my spouse be able to express and experience pleasure at a high level. And I have a lot of it. If my partner is somewhat more demure, a little more introverted, this might become a problem since it was a couple of girlfriends past. But when my pleasure got going she would often withdraw. A number of this was introvert vs extrovert stuff, but some of it was her fear of flying. When you have pleasure and you match your pleasure with somebody else, the sky starts to open up for the two of you. It is like you every magnify each other’s energy and positive outlook.

I’ve had periods of my life where I had been too damn positive. I still need to check with myself every time I say,”It’s fine.” Typically, I’m responding to a disappointment or miss in my connection. When I say,”It’s okay,” I am glossing over my pain, occasionally missing instead of acknowledging the pain. Or does it suck and I am just trying to make light of it? There’s a huge difference.

I must watch for this in spouses also. When they’re too agreeable. When they offer hardly any opinions about where to eat or what movie to see. They may use the joy thing to be passive in the connection. I would like an consciously joyous spouse, not one who just goes together saying everything is terrific. I can feel when things are terrific. And that mutual sense of joy becomes exponential when you’re with someone you care deeply about.


In my early years, I didn’t get sufficient empathetic attention. Chaos reigned in my home, and it was every man for himself. My sister, who had been 10-years old, was my protector during the gunfire, but she too was a kid. We did not learn how to process the anger which was flowing through my dad. We did not have any tools to dispell or release it later. So, guess what? In the beginning, it was somewhat frightening to me, when I’d begin crying with a girlfriend. I was not always certain what was tripping me making me sad. An empathetic listener can feel with you, comfort you, and be with you as you encounter a memory or a present disappointment. And that is all.

The following trick in being a excellent empathetic listener is to be present and provide your loving attention. It’s not recommended to provide suggestions or advice at the moment. Simply be with the man who’s in pain. Hold a secure place for them to express what is happening in their lives or in their recovered memories. And just hold them. Hold the silent space for them and let their ideas to direct what they want next to cure themselves. As partners, we’re not therapists or trainers. And we’re champions. But we must maintain our guidance and our own hurts to ourselves if our spouse is profound in their feelings. (See Brené Brown’s BRAVING)


As we build our relationship together we’re going to hit areas that feel uneasy. We will step on toes, awaken old patterns of distress, and provide our partners a chance to experience pain. That is part of what a holistic and loving relationship is all about: we can comprise both the good and the bad feelings and not be scared of either one.

If we’re the triggered spouse, and we get angry and overwhelmed by some event or any behaviour of our spouse, is it our duty to take possession of our own hyper-emotional state. Even if we can not recognize it in the present time, we can admit that if a enormous rage comes flying from us, it is probably not about the dirty towels on the bathroom floor. The triggered spouse must take charge of their own procedure at this time and ask for a workout. (Yes, the non-triggered spouse can request a time out as well if they’re starting to feel overwhelmed.)

At this time, the triggered and emotionally charged partner should seek out a safe quiet place to allow the feelings to show themselves in a deeper level. Inside we know that it’s not about the towels on the ground. We must stop and listen, research, and feel what is happening in our bodies. It’s in this recovery phase which we can learn so much about ourselves and our past hurts. And from those moments we can see glimpses of where we want to go by releasing and getting free of those unwieldy emotions.

As the last part of the process of retrieval, we will need to request a repair with our spouse. This is the greatest act of great faith and trust in a relationship. The repair is essential for both partners. We will need to reconstruct the bridge which was torched during the moment of fury or despair. We will need to reestablish the goodwill and good intentions of both spouses to remain close and to stay close even when these hard moments occur. This way, we’re hardening our love and build confidence for our future.

With no bright outlook on life, we are not going to get beyond a first date. Empathy comes during the initial date. How can your spouse respond to your divorce or break-up narrative? And in the end, the repair usually does not come until some fracture has occurred. It’s very useful if you have some Brené Brown BRAVING discussions in front of a blow-up, but it only takes one partner to maintain the higher ground. If one spouse remains clear and steady there’s room for another spouse to have a moment.

With these three resources in a relationship, you’ve got a better prospect of building the long term relationship you’re craving. Very good luck. Be brave.


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