The Best Relationship Secrets That Aren't Secrets At All! - Friendship Lamps

The Best Relationship Secrets That Aren't Secrets At All!

If building and maintaining a happy relationship were that difficult and full of secrets, you'd hardly see any couples around! The truth is, even though it's nice to be ‘in' on a secret and be part of an exclusive group, nurturing a relationship is actually a no-brainer. Well, it's a brainer, but a very simple one. These so-called secrets that many sites are peddling are merely common-sense approaches that have empathy and balance at their center. In fact, that's all you really need - the ability to put yourself into the other person's shoes and act in a manner that balances you out.

So let's explore these "non-secrets", which we found to be common-sense advice more than anything else.

Non-secret #1: Be Honest. Be Yourself.

Why is this being pegged as a secret? It's not like a family recipe that's been passed on for generations! Being honest and true to yourself is simply a quality that today's society doesn't condone. Society and social media want you to be everything you're not. It wants your posts and tweets to have a ton of sharing and commenting and it wants you to look, be, sound, dress, and speak your best at all times. Why? That's not who we are. No, most of us would rather have our thoughts stay inside our heads, and most of us want our lives to be as private as possible. But the pressure to put our lives out there and have them compared to everyone else’s ‘showcase lives’ is too much for most of us to withstand. So we give in.

The question is, why is it that society demands that we be at our best behavior at all times? One plausible explanation is that a civilized society, at its center, requires participants to be 'civil' at all times. Take the concept of 'being a gentleman' during the heyday of the British Empire. You were only fit for society if you behaved like a gentleman, not when you spoke your mind and were honest about your thoughts. You had to have the right background, attend the right schools, dress the right way, belong to the right clubs, etc. The word that comes to mind here is 'uptight.' Following the rules, dressing a particular way, talking in a polished manner, suppress your emotions...these are all prerequisites of a civilized society. At least, they used to be.

Today, things are vastly different, or so we think. But are they really different or have they just taken on another form? Social media dictates that we're always 'spot on' with our posts, whether it's about sharing with the world what you had for breakfast (honestly, why???) or boasting about your latest achievement. Social media does not tolerate 'boring' or ‘average’, and so we're forced to once again toe a different line - one that's based on having a facade in front of the real us. Your social media profile has suddenly taken your place, and your real personality is completely eclipsed behind and obscured by what the world thinks is the real you.

So, when you're in a relationship, all you need to do is drop that facade and be yourself. But that still doesn’t make it qualify as a's just something you have to realize and start doing if you want the relationship to be meaningful. Speak your mind and do what you would do if you were alone. If they don't like that person, it's their loss. What's more, you'll find out right away if you're meant for each other or not! Let the real you come out and you may be pleasantly surprised that this actually appeals to another human.

Non-secret #2: Spend Time Together

Duh! It's no secret that couples need to spend time with each other. Why is this a secret, then? Isn't it just common sense that the more time you spend together the better you understand each other over time?

One of the reasons we think that this is being peddled as a "secret" is that we're not doing enough of it! We claim to be a couple, but even when we're together we're hunched over our phones and tablets, barely grunted in response when asked a question.

That's the real problem here, but it needs to be qualified. The secret element is that the time you spend together must be quality time - time spent talking or holding hands or just taking a stroll or taking in the sunset. That's the real secret. And it doesn't have to be the good stuff all the time. This quote says it perfectly: "I'd rather argue with you than kiss someone else."

Yup, that's the real secret hiding under this piece of advice. Spending time means spending quality time, whether that's doing something positive or doing something...well, let's say 'constructive.'

When you spend all your available time with the person you want to be with, that sends a clear message about your feelings for them.

So, whether you're in a new relationship or trying to fan the flames of an old one, be sure to spend time with each other, but be there in the moment. Phones down, eyes up.

Non-secret #3: Don't Try to Change Them

When we find someone we are attracted to, we're initially all googly-eyed and flustered when we're around them. Over time, though, we start noticing things about them that we don't like. Rather than accepting them for who they are, we subconsciously - or even consciously - try to mold them into our way of thinking or attempt to bring them in line with our own habits and propensities.

Again, this is no secret. All you need is empathy - putting yourself into their shoes - and you'll immediately see the futility of your efforts. YOU don't want to change, so that means you don't have the right to try and change THEM. And even if you're willing to change, you're doing it for you, so there's no question of expecting a reciprocal response. If you want to change to accommodate their needs, by all means do so. But don't expect them to return the favor unless they really want to.

That doesn't mean you have to skirt the issue. You can definitely talk about it if it bothers you that much. If they care enough, they'll try to change on their own. But don't turn it into emotional blackmail because IT WILL backfire at some point.

Keep in mind also that change is hard for some people. For instance, he may want to quit smoking for his own sake and yours, but his will might not be strong enough. If you talk about it without nagging or putting too much pressure on him, he'll eventually open up to taking your help and advice. Trust that your love and your influence will make a difference in the end, even if it takes time.

This is common sense, or at least it should be. The problem is that we sometimes get so caught up in what could be that we lose sight of the present. That's where our impatience comes in, and it can be a very destructive force. And for someone who is normally a control freak, it can be a Herculean task to let things take their course.

Non-secret #4: Use the Element of Surprise

This one not so much a non-secret as a not-so-obvious course of action. Over time, couples tend to start taking each other for granted because they become predictable to each other. She knows his weekend schedule, he knows where she usually shops, they both know what they're going to have for dinner every Friday night, and so on. What this does is gradually remove the 'discovery' phase of the relationship when you were excited to keep learning something new about each other every day.

The best way to keep a relationship exciting is to use the element of surprise. A gift out of the blue, a drop-by-and-say-hi at the office at lunchtime, doing the dishes without being asked, getting tickets to a movie he'd rather watch, etc. These are all unexpected things that will delight your partner at every turn. Of course, some surprises might not get the reaction you want but, on the whole, you'll be better off than if you don't even try.

The real secret here is to be unpredictable once you know that your partner has pegged your quirks and nuances. Leave the toilet lid open for a change, or squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom. The little things can often get a much more animated response than the big things like expensive gifts or fancy and unexpected treats.

Non-secret #5: Set Common Goals

Again, not a secret. Any couple that's really close will naturally start making joint plans for the future. However, it has to be a consistent and prolonged effort, not just daydreaming together. Concrete goals that are common will bring you together like nothing else. Once the 'team spirit' sets in, you can go from strength to strength.

The goals you set can be categorized in different ways. The first type is to separate them by timeline - short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Another way to organize them is by the area of your lives that they impact, such as relationship goals (with friends and family), financial goals, and health goals. The ideal way to do this is to have all three types of timeline goals for each of these areas. It would look something like this:

Area of Impact

Short-term - 6 months to 1 year

Medium-term - 1 to 2 years

Long-term - 2 to 5 years

Relationship Goals

Make 3 new couple friends

Start organizing annual family get-togethers

Start a family of our own

Financial Goals

Put aside money each month for an emergency fund

Save $100,000

Buy a luxury car

Own a home

Afford a world tour

Health Goals

Go to the gym three times a week

Lose 10 lbs.

Start training

Run a half-marathon together

Run a full marathon

Maintain ideal weight


The table above is just an example of what your common goals might look like. You can also expand this into a vision board with images of your ideal life - the car you'll be driving two years from now, the home you intend to buy, etc. Visual motivation can be a very strong thing when coupled with verbal cues and consistent action towards achieving your goals.

The biggest benefit of having such shared goals is that it aligns your minds to each other. The combined mental effort of two people is far greater than the sum of individual effort, and you'll see that your goals are more easily achievable than if you had to do it on your own. Things will start happening in your life - coincidences, luck, and all that elusive stuff that we're constantly looking for.

Another major benefit of common goals is that it will give you a deeper understanding of what motivates you as opposed to what motivates your partner. This knowledge of this will help you complement each other's weak areas and make you a stronger unit as a couple. And the achievement of each milestone will further help strengthen the bond you share, making it virtually indestructible over time.

Is this really a secret? Not at all. The power of teamwork is a well-known phenomenon. The only problem is that we don't think to apply it in other types of relationships. So again, not so much a non-secret as a didn't-see-the-obvious type of thing going on here.

What's Obvious Might Not Seem Obvious

If you notice all these so-called "secrets to a happy relationship", you'll notice that the threads of empathy and balance run through all of them. That's what we said at the beginning of this article. Another thread that runs through them is 'common sense knowledge in action.’ The only problem with common sense is that the 'action' part is often hard to implement. On a logical and intuitive basis, we know that common-sense advice is good, sound, solid advice. That's why it's common, like a platitude or a popular saying. The challenge we all face is the putting-it-to-use part.

One way to deal with not being able to apply common sense to your relationship is to make a habit of writing everything down. Putting pen to paper (or finger to virtual keyboard) helps clarify your intentions and makes it possible to put things into practice. If you have a to-do list that's just sitting there, at some point, your subconscious mind will take over and shake that mental lethargy out of your system. That's when things start to happen.

In many ways, a relationship is like a project that needs to be delivered to a very loose timeline. Tightening up that timeline and breaking up the project into bite-sized pieces will be of tremendous help. You'll get there faster and you'll be more efficient during the process of getting there. Your ultimate goal should be to have a rock-solid relationship that is built on trust, loyalty, the oneness of mind, and a lifetime commitment to each other.

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