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Improving Relationship Quality In Two Simple Steps


To improve something is to make it better. To make something better is to improve its quality. To improve a relationship, increase its quality.

What is quality in a relationship? Two simple words: confidence, and togetherness.

Confidence is not the same as trust. Trust is often based as much on hope as on reason, and is lost for small reasons or no reason at all. One instance of poor judgment can break a person’s trust in another. Your guy goes to the track with his friends and loses the rent money. After that, you don’t trust him with the rent money. So trust is far too fragile to base a relationship on.

Confidence is knowing he will be there, with his strengths and his weaknesses for sure, but there. The thing is, confidence works in both directions, or doesn’t work at all. Fortunately, increasing confidence in one direction also increases it in the other. Which leads to the first simple step of improving a relationship: increase his/her confidence in you.

Improvements don’t happen all at once: they are made up of small steps in the right direction. Anyone can take these small steps to improve the confidence others have in him. By taking them, you automatically improve the quality of the relationship. Here are some of the small steps, some of the things you can do today, tomorrow, and every day.

Confidence is knowing she will be there, so her confidence in you is knowing you will be there. So be there. Physically, be where you say you will be when you say you will be. If she expects you to be home when she gets there, be there, or leave a note saying why you are not and when you will be back. It seems a small, almost unimportant, thing, but it is perhaps the most important of all in building confidence.

People are disappointed by many people every day. All you have to do is be the one person who almost never disappoints. It really is very easy. Just be there. This does not mean you are at her beck and call. It only means you are where you say you will be when you say you will be there. It’s a goal to work toward, that anyone can get better at.

Togetherness is the other part of a relationship. Especially, being together and doing things together. No relationship will long survive fierce independence. Keep in mind, you don’t give up your freedom in a relationship — you add to it. Two people together are free to do far more than one person alone.

Togetherness grows not by demanding, but by offering. So here is the second simple step to improving a relationship: be willing to be together, even if sometimes it is not fun. Take it in small steps, perhaps by offering to go to the hardware store with him, or in the reverse, to go clothes shopping with her. Not only is this togetherness time, it is also a way to learn more about why he/she enjoys what it is you are doing with him/her.

As a practical exercise, to get you started, the next time she goes to the store, offer to go with her. The next time you go to the store, ask him if he would like to come, and tell him you would like his company. He/she may not want to, and that’s okay. But keep offering, keep asking. When you do get a yes, make it a together trip, not one of you being “dragged along.” Ask questions; let her show off her knowledge in an area you are not as familiar with. Make togetherness time a learning time. Mostly, you will be learning more about him/her.

Togetherness grows if you let it, but it grows even faster if you feed and water it. Learning more about his likes and dislikes, how he thinks, what he thinks about, how he acts in different situations, is the result of increased togetherness — and also leads to increased togetherness. All of which leads to a stronger, longer relationship.

These two simple steps, being there without fail and doing things together, will all by themselves improve the quality of any normal relationship as you do them more and more.

don dewsnap has spent years studying quality and its principles and applications. now he has put his knowledge into a readable, useable book: anyone can improve his or her life: the principles of quality. learn more about this book at principles-of-quality.com .

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Listed: August 7, 2008 5:53 pm