Different strokes for different folks, that’s right, we’re not all the same and I believe that’s a good thing. How boring the world would be if we all looked the same, thought the same, and had the same talents and abilities.  Difference is great, but to get along we need to understand each other and learn how to bring out the best in one another.

Relationships break down when there’s a lack of understanding. Over the past few years I’ve met couples who have been married for donkeys years but no idea how to look after each other. I am fully aware of the challenges involved in finding the time to work on your relationship.  I am blessed with two little monkeys aged 5 and 3, and by the time the evening comes, my wife and I are shattered. Finding a precious moment to sit down together is tough, but we both know that it’s crucial and so we prioritise it.

We all want to feel loved and valued. Some women’s hearts melt when their partner buys them flowers, while others see it as a substitute for true affection. When upset, some men come back to life if their partner wraps their arms around them and shows extra affection, while other men want to be left alone. There’s no right or wrong way to react, what’s crucial is for your partner to know how you tick so that they can take care of you and show their love in a way that you appreciate.

Having a heart to heart with your partner and sharing your inner thoughts can be the most amazing experience, one which enhances your relationship and brings you even closer together. There is always a danger, however, of the opposite happening. If you express to your partner some of the things they do that either upset you or in some way leave you feeling unloved, they may become defensive and feel under attack. That could leave you thinking, no way am I going down that route again. Ok, so to avoid this happening please make sure to read the next bit together with your partner and explore this idea together until you are both happy with it.

Dr Carol Dweck in a wonderful book called Mindset, teaches us about The Growth Mindset vs. The Fixed Mindset. The fixed mindset is when a person believes that his/her abilities, talents, personality, level of intelligence etc. are fixed. In such a mindset when a relationship goes through a difficult patch it’s easy to worry, maybe I married the wrong person, if this is what they’re really like, it’s over!

People in the growth mindset however believe that passion, determination and a thirst to learn can produce unbelievable results. So when a relationship is strained people in this mindset see a glimmer of hope.

Discussing the growth mindset, Dr Dweck writes: “Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? NO, But they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil and training.”

There will be times when you feel inadequate and you know you are going to have to make some serious changes to keep your relationship afloat. Don’t stress! That’s what relationships are all about.

Ever heard people say: “If you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be.” This is a common belief about love born out of the fixed mindset. You see people in the fixed mindset are looking for a partner who will validate them for who they are. People in the growth mindset look for a partner with determination, strength and an eagerness to learn. They understand that successful relationships don’t just happen, they are created.

It doesn’t matter if you are naturally affectionate or not. You may struggle to express your love in a way that melts your partners heart. It simply doesn’t matter. What matters is, do you believe you can change and become your partners dream companion. If you believe it’s possible and are committed to do whatever it takes to get there, then welcome to the exciting world of the growth mindset. In this world dreams are fulfilled.

In this book there are 28 exercises to help you bond with your partner and infuse your relationship with lasting passion and love for one another.  Boil the kettle, sit on the sofa and make yourselves comfy. Now you’re ready to get started.

To your relationship!