Photo by Andrii Podilnyk on Unsplash

There are three steps that I help people apply for any relationship turn-around.  It’s something that I first read in author Les Giblin’s book How To Have Confidence And Power With People.  For well over a decade I have utilized these 3 Steps and helped many people successfully apply these “3 A’s” in their relationships.

It’s simple and a small part of his book (just a part of a chapter), yet it packs a big “punch”.   I clicked with it, “tested” it, and validated it through the results I consistently got: happier, more harmonious relationships!

So, the first “A” is also the 1st Step:  ACCEPTANCE.  How good are you at accepting your partner?  It’s actually one of the most challenging aspects of creating a long-term relationship, because what once charmed us can now bother us.

How so? Think back to the early days of your courtship. My guess is that you would chuckle or smile or laugh at one of your partner’s idiosyncrasies. Those habits or mannerisms were just part of the package of who they were. 

Why did you stop enjoying them? Why do those idiosyncrasies begin to become points of irritation?  There are many reasons that I am not going to dive into here – let’s just get on with the remedy!

Acceptance is such a powerful step that it’s the 1st step in any 12-step program. It’s the first step in happy relationships, too.

A culture of constantly critical remarks or corrections results in DEATH TO THE LOVE BEtWEEN YOU.  Harmony departs and the relationship is withering on a once robust vine.  What is felt by the partners in such a culture is that one or both cannot show up authentically as themselves.  A constriction of energy results. and the contraction of love is the fall-out.

The solution is to begin practicing acceptance. Begin accepting what is – not being critical or trying to correct it, just accepting it.  And – acceptance does not mean that you agree with those habits, quirks, irritation points – it just means that you are accepting the other person as they are.

The next step is APPROVAL, or finding things to approve of regarding your partner’s behaviors, actions, or personality.  Now, you may BALK at this step, as many of my clients do.  Stay with me here – these 3 steps really do work!

Being confused about correct causation and having anger at our partner can result in feelings of hopelessness or finger-pointing.  If you’re challenged by this APPROVAL piece, I do understand.  However, once you incorporate it, the positive shift can begin.

So, after accepting that things are the way they are (that your partner is this way or is operating in a less-than-optimal way in life or in your relationship) it’s time to find/notice something GOOD about him or her.  This is where reparation of any relationship begins:  finding something to approve of regarding your partner (good meal prepared, house is neat, great with the kids, good provider, etc.).

That action will move you from finding fault/seeing the shortage to being a “good finder”.  As a clarification: the approval is of THAT thing that you have located to validate- not the negative behaviors.

And, finally – the 3rd Step is APPRECIATION!  So, what is meant by appreciating?

Well, if you’ve ACCEPTED that “this is where he/she is”, now you have a starting point. If you’ve emphasized the APPROVAL piece of looking for genuine things to find about the person to line up with in an approving way, the 3rd “A” is like magic – easing the relationship to an enjoyable place.

Get the first two steps in – and then just spread APPRECIATION all around.  Appreciation offers to the other person a verbal or written expression of what you’re acknowledging are POSITIVES about them or their actions.

Don’t spare on it and don’t save it just for the big things!  Creating an environment of APPRECIATION is absolutely magical in growing any relationship to a higher level of love and harmony.  An abundance of it will overflow into your career and your relationships with others, as well.

What I challenge you to discover for yourself is that the “3 A’s” are absolutely GOLD 100% of the time!