Improve Your Questions – Improve Your Relationships and Your Life

Tag: Personal GrowthBeth Banning

One Simple Step for Creating Intimacy in All Your [tag-tec]Relationships[/tag-tec]

Everyone has the desire to connect honestly and authentically with themselves and others, but often this is one of the most challenging things to do in our [tag-tec]intimate relationships[/tag-tec], never mind our more casual ones. If small talk is not your thing and you’re ready for deeper more satisfying connections in your relationships, here’s a quick tip to help create the honesty and authenticity you desire.

Think Before You Ask

One of the fastest, easiest ways we know of to improve the quality of your connections is by asking conscious questions. By conscious we mean questions that will result in answers that will be meaningful to you. If you’re looking for deeper connection, never ask questions about trivial issues or ones that you don’t really care about the answer.

To come up with conscious, meaningful questions ask yourself some questions first, such as:

  • “What kind of connection do I want with this person?”
  • “What kind of conversation would bring us closer together?”
  • “What would be interesting for me to learn about this person?”

Knowing clearly what you want is the surest way to get it.

Ask Like You Care and Listen Like It’s Important

Whether you are talking to your mother, best friend, significant other, business customers, your boss, interviewing job candidates, or even talking to strangers at a party, it helps to take the initiative in creating the quality of connection you want and to draw the other person out in ways that are meaningful to you.

So try it today… What do you have to lose? What do you really want to know about the person you’re with? Get conscious. Be honest. Be authentic. Ask questions from your heart and listen with a sincere desire to know more about the person you’re with.

Photo courtesy of  darin11111

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Marriage Intimacy Begins With ____!

Of Course You want more Love and Intimacy in Your Relationship

We’re starting this post with the assumption that you want a satisfying and deeply [tag-tec]intimate relationship[/tag-tec] with your spouse or significant other. If so, then it’s important to remember that the most successful relationships start with people who love themselves. The sooner you start giving yourself the kind of love that you’d like to experience in your relationship, the more fulfilling and intimate your relationship will become.

But do you ever wonder what the phrases “self-love” or “loving yourself” really mean, or what they have to do with creating a deeper sense of [tag-tec]marriage intimacy[/tag-tec]? Even if you see the connection, do you wonder how to go about learning to truly love yourself?

Self Love Starts Here

Here’s the very first step: start noticing all the wonderful things about you! We know this might sounds simplistic, but you might be surprised how many people there are who, on a regular basis, simply ignore or don’t notice all the wonderful things about themselves.

“You must first love yourself before you can fully love another…” ~ Jennifer Good

How often do you stop and take the time to acknowledge yourself — to notice the things you enjoy about yourself? The best way to do this is to begin a practice of consciously focusing your attention on the wonderful things about you. Each morning make a conscious intention to notice and write down at least 10 things you enjoy about yourself during the day. When you go to bed at night, take time to review the list and appreciate yourself for these things.

Try It and Then Decide

This might sound a little silly, but when you start practicing this regularly you’ll be amazed how much better you feel about yourself, and how quickly loving yourself at a deeper level will follow. Once you feel this sense of self love and acceptance we guarantee it can’t help but stimulate more love, acceptance and intimacy in your relationship.

So now you know you know how to fill in the blank in the title of this post: Marriage Intimacy Begin With YOU.

So get out there and start consciously loving yourself–no one else can do this for you.

Are Poor Communication Skills Keeping You From Maintaining the Quality of Marriage Intimacy You Want in Your Relationship?

The No. 1 Obstacle

Many people say that the No. 1 obstacle when attempting to maintain [tag-tec]marriage intimacy[/tag-tec] and create a healthy, happy relationship is the lack of [tag-tec]good communication skills[/tag-tec].

What do you think? Are you in an intimate relationship? Do you believe it’s essential to have [tag-tec]good communication in your relationship[/tag-tec] in order to create the kind of closeness and connection you want?

If so, here’s a tip that we guarantee will help you do just that.

Start by truly understanding the other person’s point of view. Very often when couples start communicating about a problem or dissatisfaction the first thing they hear from their partner sounds like a criticism or a complaint. This is a critical point in the conversation and very often where the communication begins to break down.

This happens as often as it does because most people think in terms of strategies–what they want and the most effective way they think they can get it. This strategy often takes the form of a complaint–how you could change to help them get what they want or a criticism–what your doing “wrong” that is keeping them from getting what they want.

It’s Not About You

Understanding what someone deeply values or the need they’re trying to meet underneath the criticism or complaint is critical to creating genuinely satisfying relationships. Taking the lead in this area is something that you can do immediately to help improve the quality of your communication and in turn, your entire relationship.

Certainly, one way to find out what’s under their complaint is simply to ask them. It’s a place to start, but it’s not always the most effective way of getting to the truth about what a person really values. As we pointed out above, people often think in terms of their strategies as opposed the value or need that is stimulating the strategy.

If you began a conversation by talking about a problem in the relationship and you ask them what they want about the problem you may hear things like, “I want you to _____” (fill in the blank).

  • Spend more time with me
  • Stop being such a know-it-all
  • Listen when I’m talking, etc

Dig Deep

Clearly, these statements just tell you what they want you to do, not what they value, not what need they’re trying to meet. Getting to the underlying values hidden in these statements may require a little detective work on your part. Don’t just take their answers at face value; dig down beneath the surface to find out what values are at the base of what they want.

As an example, let’s dig under these statements and discover what the person might value that had them say what they did.

  • Spend more time with me, is probably stimulated by the longing for more connection or intimacy.
  • Stop being such a know-it-all, could be a desire for acknowledgment or appreciation for what they know.
  • Listen when I’m talking, might be coming from a wish to be understood clearly.

Once you have an idea about what the other person values and what’s most important to them, many other strategies will become obvious for helping them experience these essential qualities.

And for you, it will be much easier to relate them and want to support them then it would be if all you continue to hear was the criticism or complaints.

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10 Steps that Lead to Better Relationships and a Happier Life Part Two

The Quality of Your Equal the Quality of Your Life

Okay, hopefully you’ve had time to practice steps one through five, from part one of 10 Steps that Lead to Better Relationships and a Happier Life. Just in case you missed it see part one here:

To recap, steps one through five are…

  1. Start identifying what [tag-tec]your values.[/tag-tec]
  2. Figure out what it is you “DO” want in your relationships.
  3. Stop taking [tag-tec]your relationship[/tag-tec] partner’s judgment and criticisms personally by remembering that they are only trying to meet some need or experience something they value.
  4. Offer the gift of your presence and…
  5. Help the other person discover what’s most important to them.

Now it’s time to move forward and take step number six.

~ Step Six – Sharing the Vision ~

The next step to [tag-tec]improving your relationships[/tag-tec] is the ability to create a shared vision. Instead of working independently toward your own goal, try finding common goals that you share with your partner.

When you have a shared vision about what you want for the relationship, making agreements and accomplishing results happens much more easily. This step moves you closer to greater success and mutual satisfaction.

~ Step Seven: Line It up ~

Once you’ve identified what you want and value, and you’ve given your presence to your partner and come to an understanding about what they want and value, it’s time to have a very clear, conscious conversation about what you each want to create in your relationship.

Do you want to spend more time together? Do you want to be more appreciative of each other? The alignment conversation is your time to formulate a blueprint for the actions you and your partner agree to take to insure that both of you get what you need.

~ Step Eight:  Take It Easy on Yourself ~

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the steps you need to take in order to be there for your partner. Throughout the process, it’s also important to take care of yourself.  It’s common for alignment conversations to bring up past pain and resentments as you focus on how to change the present situation. When you start to feel any discomfort, or irritated the conversation may bring up – STOP.  Give yourself a breather and take the time to look at the causes underneath the feelings you are experiencing.

As we mentioned before, everything that everyone says or does is motivated by a value that isn’t being experienced, and this includes the voice inside your head. Figure out what may be stimulating your negative emotions before moving on with the conversation. What need of yours is missing, what value aren’t you experiencing.

~ Step Nine: Learning the [tag-tec]Negotiation[/tag-tec] Dance ~

Once you’ve created an alignment with your partner, you’ll need to make some concrete agreements about how to reach your goals for the relationship. For example, if you both agree that you would like to create more trust, perhaps you’ll create an agreement about checking in with each other when you need more information.

The best way to reach these agreements is through negotiation with your partner. Negotiation is a lot like dancing: you step forward, your partner steps back, you turn around and then you both step forward. Perfecting this dance takes some practice, but once you start actively doing the dance, it will get easier and easier.

~ Step Ten: Believe in the Process~

The last, but certainly not least of the steps is learning to trust the process. In order for these steps to lead you where you want to go and then stay there, it’s imperative that you trust the process. Things may not go exactly as you imagine, but that doesn’t mean that your efforts aren’t making a shift.

Trusting the process means putting the brakes on your cynicism, refusing to give in to futile thoughts that may come up, and have faith that it’s really and actually possible for everyone to be satisfied with the end results.

The easiest way to truly have faith in the process is to become an Explorer. An Explorer has faith that there is something to discover, they have made a pledge to discover it, and they are continually taking action and creating strategies that will fulfill on that pledge.

Well there they are, the 10 Steps that Lead to [tag-tec]Better Relationships[/tag-tec] and a Happier Life. Now don’t stop after reading these steps, make a commitment to take them, practice them and start experiencing those relationships and that life you truly desire.

10 Steps that Lead to Better Relationships and a Happier Life Part One

The Quality of Your [tag-tec]Relationships[/tag-tec] Equal the Quality of Your Life

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your relationships influence how happy and satisfied you are in your life. And, we’re not only speaking in terms of romantic / intimate relationships, but, rather, all of the relationships we have in our lives. Each person we interact with plays a vital role in how we interpret ourselves and the world around us, so you can see how essential it must be to care for and nurture your relationships.

Perhaps, you’re [tag-tec]happy[/tag-tec] with your president relationships, or maybe you’re struggling. In any case, you probably know that even the [tag-tec]best relationships[/tag-tec] have room for improvement. With that said, you definitely don’t want to miss knowing about the 10 steps that will [tag-tecimprove your relationship]improve even the best relationships[/tag-tec] in your life.

~Step One: Identify What You Value Most ~

Before you can begin to improve a thing about your relationships, you must know what is most important to you. Discovering this involve you to go deep inside and identify what you value most in a relationship. Understand that values aren’t the same thing as strategies.

Strategies have to do with very specific information (I’m going to being in a committed relationship in the next six months); while values are much broader in scope (I value caring and consideration.) Once you identify what it is that you value, you’ll be clear enough to start getting those things from your relationships.

~ Step Two:  Know Your “Do” Wants Instead of Your “Don’t” Wants ~

Frequently, people focus primarily on the things that they “Don’t” want in a relationship. This kind of thinking produces ideas such as, “I don’t want my significant other to spend all their time at work” or “I don’t want my mother to put me down about everything I do.”

While not wanting these things is reasonable, it’s very hard to get results when you’re dealing with all the things that you don’t want. Instead, think about what it is that you “DO” want. Maybe what you really want is to spend more time with your spouse and to receive more appreciation from your mother. Clearly understanding what you “DO” want is the only way to start getting what you want in your relationships.

~ Step Three:  Don’t Take It to Heart ~

Getting your feet to move forward and taking the next step can be difficult for many people because, as humans, we seem to react negatively to situations where we feel hurt, or helpless. In order to learn how to stop taking things personally, it’s important that we understand that everything people say or do are driven by a desire to meet their own needs, or to support something that they value.

In other words, while it may seem to you that they’re launching a personal attack, what’s really happening is that something they need or value is missing from the situation.  Once we understand that their actions are all about them—not us—it’s easier to move forward and solve the problem instead of reacting to it.

~ Step Four: The Gift of Presence ~

Step number four is all about putting your own judgments and opinions aside and really listening to what your partner has to say. So much of our communication is clouded with our own feelings, desires, and agendas; it’s easy to miss important clues about what the other partner really needs to make the relationship work. Giving the gift of your presence to someone else shows that you truly care about making a deep and lasting connection.

~ Step Five: Now It’s Their Turn ~

After you’ve discovered what’s most important to you, it’s time to explore your partner’s values. It’s just as important that you identify very clearly what the other person would ideally like to have in your relationship – what they value most and want to experience. Once you and your partner have an understanding about what you both want from your relationship, you can move forward and take the next step.

Well that’s probably enough to practice for now. Take a few days; practice what you’ve learned here. Then when we post part two of this series, you’ll be ready to move on to step number six.

A recap of the first five steps to practice.

  1. Start identifying what you value most. You can use our values exercise as a guide if you need help. You can find it by going to:
  2. Figure out what it is you “DO” want in your relationships.
  3. Stop taking your relationship partner’s judgment and criticisms personally by remembering that they are only trying to meet some need or experience something they value.  It’s not about you!
  4. Offer the gift of your presence and…
  5. Help the other person discover what’s most important to them.

Part Two:  Steps 6 through 10

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