Thias week is Valentine’s Day. A good reason to write about love again! Last year Thomas and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and 15 years of being together. In those 15 years we moved 10 times, lived in 7 cities and 5 countries, wrote 8 books, blogged for 13 years, renovated 1 house, planted 10 trees, raised 1 dog, met many people, lost a few, and experienced so many things together. It’s time to talk about love and about what we have learned about relationships in the last few years. And since I’ve said so much about relationships already (see here , here , here , here and here ), I let my husband talk about love:
Stefanie: “What does it take to have a happy relationship?”
Thomas: “Before you even think about the relationship, you should make sure that you are doing well yourself. It’s important to be balanced before you bring your partner into play. If you feel good, your partner will feel better too. It’s important for a man to move and to really work himself out, in a team or by himself. It’s elementary to be in nature regularly and to learn to enjoy being alone and to feel comfortable with yourself. For example, I like to ride my bike. I enjoy the landscape, the quiet and the physical exertion. That’s how I find my balance. It’s almost like meditating. If you feel comfortable being alone and if you are at peace with yourself, you will be a better partner. Because you don’t “need” anything from the other person, but you can enjoy her.
I also think men should definitely cultivate friendships with other males, and do it in real life and not over the phone. You can be who you are with your male friends. The energy can be a bit rough and archaic, but being together brings you in a good mood and relaxes you. This in turn has a positive effect on the relationship with your partner.”
Stefanie: “What makes a relationship more intimate and interesting?”
Thomas: “Take us both as an example. We’re self sufficient most of the time because we just love being together. We don’t need a lot of input from the outside to lead a happy life. That’s because of our love for one another, but also because we’ve been socialized similarly, have similar values, and share common passions. We always developed something together. Developing common visions and goals and considering which qualities we need to cultivate in order to achieve these goals – that makes relationships more exciting. For example, it has always been a goal for us to be free and independent. And we have designed our lives accordingly. As a couple, you should always dream together. Meditation or a joint spiritual practice can help to perceive deeper desires, which can then be realized step by step. Many years ago we visualized our future in a meditation. We saw ourselves living in the Mediterranean, in a house with a view. We even visualized a walk through our future garden. And today we live on a mediterranean island and in just such a house.
On a more everyday level, our relationship feels better when we regularly do things together that we enjoy. Going out, trying out a restaurant, going on trips, traveling … and of course sex. Regular sex is good for the relationship. You don’t always have to wait for the right moment or the right mood. You can or should arrange to have sex and thus create moments of intimacy that would otherwise be swallowed up by everyday life.”
Stefanie: “What would you advise a friend who wants to improve their relationship?”
Thomas: “Most people concentrate on what they get from their partner. I find it much more important to think about what I can give my partner. Because when I do something for my partner, it always comes back to me as a feeling of contentment and happiness. If you rest within yourself and are at peace with yourself, then you can give yourself completely to the other person without losing yourself in the process. One can serve one’s partner, putting one’s self aside. That brings joy. The prerequisite for this is of course a deep trust and that it is not one-sided. This creates a sense of generosity in the relationship. It’s the opposite of small-scale tallying: if I get that from you, then you get that from me … as is often the case in relationships.”
Stefanie: “What to do in a fight? Clarify right away or wait?”
Thomas: “I know that people are always advised not to go to bed with an argument, but to resolve it on the same day. But sometimes that’s not possible, so it makes sense to postpone the topic. That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s good to have a second bed or even better your own room in the house ;-). A little distance from each other, being alone – and the problem can be solved better the next day. I would also advise agreeing with the other person first. This helps. And why shouldn’t she be right – from her point of view, according to her feelings she is right. So don’t pour fuel on the fire, collect your thoughts and talk about everything the next day.
Speaking of your own room: There you can cultivate your own peculiarities and preferences. For example, I like listening to jazz records and you like reading English novels. Everyone needs space for themselves. This in turn creates space for affection, intimacy and love. In this sense, being alone creates togetherness. This is dualism. If you want more closeness, more connection, then be more alone with yourself and strengthen your self-love. Another example: You want more freedom? Set boundaries. You want a “juicy relationship” (as a good friend of ours always says)? Then do something about it and say to your loved one, based on Chet Baker: My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine, you make me smile with my heart.”
And now my question to you: What is your tip for a happy relationship? I look forward to your comment below!
Happy Valentines day with the wonderful Chet Baker: