On Love, Relationships, and Second Chances..

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. – Mother Teresa.

Pic credit: Jos. Ng., Flicker.com

(This is a post by Kimberly Riggins).

I used to think my relationship could withstand the test of time.

I believed we were strong, solid, and unbreakable. 

Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

Guess what happens when you stop working on your relationship? When you take your partner for granted, use him/her as a punching bag, and push them away instead of pulling them close?

It nearly destroys your relationship.

And the aftermath hurts like hell. 

But I wouldn’t reverse what happened because without this experience I never would have learned these valuable lessons. Lessons that changed how I looked at relationships forever. Perhaps you can learn from them too!?

Here’s what I now know about nurturing healthy, happy relationships.

1) Take 100% responsibility for your relationship.

I know some people say you should approach your relationship with a 50/50 attitude but I’ve learned through my own ups and downs that taking full responsibility is key. Commit to your relationship for yourself. Give it your all.

Don’t half-ass love. It doesn’t work.

2) Practice forgiveness.

Here’s the thing… we are all human which means we are all imperfect. We sometimes do stupid shit, say mean things, and act in ways we normally wouldn’t dream of. And so does our spouse or partner.

They are human too. Remember, that in order to have a successful relationship, you must practice forgiveness because everyone messes up from time to time.

3) Express your feelings.

I have certainly held my feelings in, allowed them to fester, bubble over and cause more stress and strife than necessary. Expressing our feelings is healthy and essential to a long fantastic relationship.

Tell your partner how you are feeling. 

4) Choose happiness over being right.

Have you ever heard someone say to you, “It is better to be happy than to be right?” Take this to heart.

Truly listen to that statement. Being right may feel good initially but at what expense? So the next time you are in an argument with your partner, ask yourself, “Do I need to be right or do I want to be happy?”

It will shift the entire conversation. 

5) Stop being stingy with your endearment.

Don’t just assume your partner knows you love them.

You have to tell them, show them and tell them again. Always remind them how much you appreciate them, love them and need them in your life. Remember, your partner is not a mind reader.

6) Apologize when appropriate. 

A heartfelt apology goes a long way. Again, it’s not about being “right,” it’s about being happy. So when you screw up, say you are sorry. And of course, say it like you mean it.

A half-assed apology is worse than not offering one at all.

7)  Make them a priority.

As women we wear various hats. We are businesswomen, employees, mothers, wives, best friends, daughters—the list goes on and on. It is imperative that you make time for your partner. Everything else can wait. Your relationship can’t. Put them first. 

I know that most of you may read these lessons and say, “I know this.” But the question is—do you actually put them into practice?

Do you make time for your partner, apologize when you are wrong, show your partner how much you appreciate them, tell them how much you love them, and remember that they are human just like you, with faults and flaws?

I certainly hope so because love is something that should not be taken for granted. It should be treasured and cherished and treated with the utmost respect.

Because ultimately, love is what matters most.

Over to you – what are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear your relationship lessons + tips, thanks for sharing!

Kimberly Riggins is a body image & self-love expert. She is the author of the inspirational book, Love Your Naked Ass, the creator of The Ravishing Renegade, a 30-day program where women learn to discover self-love and the chief initiator of the philanthropy mission “The Watch Her Thrive Project.” To learn more about Kimberly or to take her Love Your Naked Ass Dare, visit http://kimberlyriggins.com.
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  1. Angie says

    I understand your article on an intimate and emotional level. I think what is missing is that the forgiveness and love you show and extend to your partner should be equal to that which you give yourself. As women wearing many hats, we often feel the need to be the savior of everyone and everything, and this extends to our marriages. We let people off the hook more often than rake them over the coals, in my opinion, because we know they’re just human like us and we love them. I don’t think women fight to be right near as much as this article portrays. In my opinion, women often martyr themselves in some version of showing love. I think this article assumes men are more often “healthier” in their perspective of relationships, which I really couldn’t disagree more with. I think a lot of men are faking it til they make it and if they never do well oh well, good enough. So to women stuck in a relationship in which they do all of these things and they are not reciprocated by the partner, it’s time to remember to show that same love, respect and forgiveness to yourself. To honor that discontent, that desire for a greater love in which what you give is returned, ask for it honestly, let them decide if they’re willing to give that, and if not then move on.

    • says

      Hi Angie. Yes, you are right. I talk about self-forgiveness and self-love a lot over at KimberlyRiggins.com. In fact, that is exactly what I teach the women that I work with.

      I would like to play devil’s advocate though…yes, there are many women who let our loved ones off the hook but there are many others who emasculate their spouses.

      And who defines what a “healthy relationship” looks like? Men and women are different; their perspectives will never be the same. Who says “ours” is right and “theirs” is wrong?

      I do agree with you…if you are not happy in your relationship, then you should move on. But you should also look within to see where you may not be communicating effectively.

      You should also take a look at why you are attracted to those guys you feel are “faking it.” How YOU show up in the world will directly affect who you end up spending time with.

      Just some food for thought…

  2. says

    So much about nurturing happy and healthy relationships. Thanks for the great post. If you don’t mind, I might use some of these, elaborate, and tell my close family members and friends about these. Some really great examples here. Thanks again for the great post, my man.

  3. says

    I also agree that when you love, you have to give it your all. Love entails sacrifice. No, it’s not about martyrdom, you just want to make your loved ones happy.

  4. Jill says

    So thank you for your advice. Do you feel that now, you have a much stronger relationship now that you have done all these things?

  5. Issa says

    ……This post sparked a thought in my mind. Something I have decided to not even deal with. What of a person who hurt you but hasn’t given that fully deserved apology. They haven’t given it because you sort of made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal what they did,but from that you have limited your relationship with them, and put walls up.?? Any advice.I guess I can’t let this person just stay in my life in an effective way till i somehow get that face to face apology. I personally dont want to ask for it, as well this person and I can have a friendship if I can have this extenstion of apology because I through my eyes it’s disrespect, . any advice please?

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