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A Single Piece Of Advice To Improve - Or Save - Any Relationship Overnight

Updated on November 8, 2016

Here's how a simple piece of advice given to me by my boss became an idea that could save any relationship.

Oh, yes, there was a time when arguments and shouting and hot tempers were almost an everyday occurrence for me.

Not only in a single relationship but many.

Then it occurred to me that the piece of advice given to me at work could be the answer.

I tried it once and it worked like a charm.

Every since then I've been mindful of that piece of relationship saving wisdom and that alone has been responsible for smoothing the obstacles which would otherwise become quite destructive on a daily basis.

Sometimes we need to stop and think about the delicate interplay of two minds and, therefore, two separate thought processes which have been formed through past experiences, are working out. You have not been through the same experiences as your partner and so you each need to respect our different existences and how those existences played out in the formation of our whole emotional make-ups.

Here's what happened.

I had been absent from a late night get-together of the staff at the ad agency where I worked as a copywriter.

Next morning I learned that decisions had been made that affected my work and I confronted the boss about decisions made without me.

"I just assumed xxx" I launched into a tirade about this.

"Well." he admonished me, "you shouldn't assume anything."

I was speechless in the face of this reprimand.

He was right. I had assumed that certain things were so when that was not the case.

And this is the basis of my relationship-saving and relationship-enhancing advice:

Don't assume anything.

How relationships often get off the rails

Assumptions can be wrong and in a heated argument the discussion can lead off in all sorts of directions getting further and further away from reality.

In recent times I've been more attentive to what is said and what is meant in a relationship.

And I've had many, including a number of long distance affairs on opposite sides of the planet where it's so easy to assume things that are not so because you're not there.

Now I always make a point of understanding what the other says - and means.

It's a good idea to repeat what is being said, in a different way, how you understand it.

Ask questions to clarify a point until you feel you know exactly what is being said - and meant. Often what people say is not really what they mean.

Or we don't exactly hear what the other person has actually said. Instead we make assumptions.

Let me give you an example

As my boss told me: Don't assume anything.

Especially (always) in a relationship.

This is the best way to have misunderstandings, arguments, tempers flaring and can even lead to domestic violence.

It's a simple solution to a serious worldwide problem.

Let me give you an example of a situation that happened to me only yesterday.

A close friend offered a very reasonable piece of advice to me on not feeling guilty about a particular issue we were discussing the day before.

It was well meaning wisdom about how we shouldn't feel guilty about past actions BUT it wasn't what I had said (or meant).

I had not even mentioned the word 'guilty' but my friend just assumed it's what I meant.

Not so. In response I could well have felt offended about her innocent but false assumption but, wait, this is the point where I could end the debate since I recognised the assumption.

How you can maintain harmony in your relationship

Observe and be on the lookout for assumptions in your own relationships - with anyone.

Nip an assumption in the bud before it grows into an issue based on nothing in the way of fact or reality.

It's how we can all rescue those points in our relationships where things get out of hand - when later we wonder why and ask what on earth happened.

False assumptions are like poison.

Watch out for them and maintain the harmony (well, most of the time).

Don't Do This

The one thing I've learned about relationships and maintaining harmony is that you can't change anyone. I know, it's a tough pill to swallow because no-one is perfect, I'm sure you would agree, and yet trying to make your other half as perfect as you would like them to be is not only a lost cause, but it is a cause that will create disharmony.

We all have a mental idea of our ideal partner but, if she or he is not the way you envisage then, wait a minute, you have no right to turn that person into your dream girl or man. As much as you would like.

The important message I've learned the hard way on this is that not only do we not have the right,but trying to mould another into what we want them to be is playing with fire. You will be inviting but trouble if you start trying to change someone you love because that is not what true love is all about.

True love is accepting your partner the way they are, being satisfied what what they have and who they are, not to be dissatisfied with what they ate not.

But there is a solution that I also learned - the hard way.

To change someone else, change yourself.

Sounds ridiculous I know but it's true. And it works. I know because I've tried it both ways and, trust me, it does wor. And guess what. In the end, you are BOTH changed - for the better.

What more could you ask?

Be honest now!

How often do you make assumptions?

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