Great Relationships: 4 Big Relationship Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Relationship Mistake No. 1 - Partner Bashing

Bashing the one you are supposed to love seems to have become a national pastime. You know the saying: "Can't live with `em, can't shoot `em."

It's really amazing - one person in a group can start in, and then everyone else wants to top their story or complaint. The reality is that partner bashing reflects poorly on you, because after all, you chose this person.

Relationship Tip: Rebel against the culture and praise your spouse in public. When someone tries to pull you into the game, go the opposite way. You will shock a few people, and if it gets back to your partner, it's great foreplay.

Relationship Mistake No. 2 - Be a Darren Stevens

It's hard to believe, I know, but many people fall into the trap of holding their partner back from using their greatest gifts.

In the old TV sitcom "Bewitched," Darren Stevens would try to keep Samantha from using her abilities. I remember thinking as a kid that this guy was an idiot. All that his wife had to do was wiggle her nose and he could have anything he wanted, and he wanted to stop her.

Sounds crazy, but we do it all the time in relationships.

Relationship Tip: Celebrate and encourage the strengths of your partner. If you take the time to notice, the strengths of your partner usually have two very strong advantages: The strengths of your partner complement your strengths, and the strengths of your partner compensate for some of your weaknesses. When you combine the two sets of strengths, you are stronger together than you are alone.

Relationship Mistake No. 3 - Argue to Win

Arguing to win means you see the other person as an opponent. And once you begin to see your partner as an opponent or an enemy, lots of bad things begin to happen. I recently worked with a couple who would go to any length to win an argument even over little meaningless things, like there was a tally board somewhere keeping score. And they wonder why the relationship is falling apart.

Relationship Tip: When you argue to win, you may get to win, but you win at the expense of the relationship. Instead of arguing against each other, team up to solve the problems that come your way. In my experience, when a couple teams up against a problem, that problem is in big trouble.

Relationship Mistake No. 4 - Getting Complacent

Taking the relationship and the other person for granted is so easy to do. Sometimes we treat our most important love relationship like an item on a to-do list - "OK, got that done, cross it off."

Do you know anyone who would enjoy being an item on a to-do list?

Relationship Tip: Here's a great story about not taking someone for granted. A high school senior was taking his girlfriend of three years to the senior prom.

Since they had been dating for three years, you would think it would be a given that they were going to the prom together. Not this guy. He arranged the following with her parents: One night when she came in the front door, there was a trail of Hershey kisses leading back to the bathroom. In the bathroom, there were rose petals spread all over the shower, and then another trail of Hershey kisses leading to her bedroom.

On her dresser was this note: "Now that I have kissed the ground you walk on and showered you with roses, will you go to the prom with me?"

Think she said yes?

You may not have to use candy and flowers, but take the creativity and passion here and see what you can come up with for your relationship.

My challenge to you is to use these relationship tips to avoid four of the biggest relationship mistakes.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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