5 Fundamental Steps to a Thriving Relationship

Posted on May 13 2013 - 10:51am by Cherie Roe Dirksen

5 Steps to a Thriving Relationship - Love Fairy

“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” — Bruce Lee

My Fairytale Romance

I met my husband when we were still at school.  It was love at first sight.  We had a 4 year fun, tumultuous, exciting, frustrating, explosive and exploratory courtship and then decided to take it to the next level.  We got married in 1996.

We never looked back.

Turning Pumpkins into Golden Carriages

After 17 years of being happily married, I can safely say that I may know a thing or two about keeping a healthy, thriving, loving and successful relationship alive.

We have both been working from home over the last 8 years, so we are in each other’s hair 24/7, 7 days a week!  However, we still manage to fall in love anew each and every day.

Here’s how:

  •  Communication — this is a biggy, hence why it made it to the no. 1 slot.  I learnt this early on in our marriage.  If you don’t have an open channel of communiqué, your relationship is doomed.  You will start assuming, begrudging and pretty much get the wrong end of the stick every time you decide not to openly talk about your problems.  Women are usually good at communicating but we also need to learn when we’ve said too much and when to start listening.  Men are generally not the best communicators — so guys, you need to work on your listening skills, it could save your relationship.  And there is no greater turn on than a man who listens attentively. Always make your dialogue an even contribution.  This means that you both get time to state your case and —on pain of death — don’t override, scream over or continuously interrupt your partner.
  • Trust — we all have the capability to earn and lose trust.  One can always build up trust if it is lost, you may have to work a little harder but trust is an integral part of building the foundations of a lasting partnership.  If you let that little green monster called ‘jealousy’ into your relationship, you are on shaky territory.  If your partner is not trustworthy, you need to look elsewhere.  I know this sounds harsh but a relationship without trust is disaster-prone.  If you’re a jealous person and your partner has done nothing to make you distrustful of him/her, you are also walking the gang-plank.  Be careful, your jealousy could drive your partner to the edge.
  • Excitement — never stop jazzing it up!  Don’t fall into the trappings of complacency.  Do you look good on the outside?  I’m not implying plastic surgery nor am I implicating that you have to be a beauty queen or bodybuilder.  Just don’t let yourself go, this is a no-brainer.  Keep your appearance fresh and appealing.  If you want an attractive partner, you’ve got to keep yourself well-groomed, fit and clean.  It also doesn’t hurt to keep in shape and have strong personal hygiene routines.  You’ve also got to spice up your love life every once in a while.  Don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with but don’t be closed to all ideas — you never know what might literally tickle your fancy.  When it comes to everyday life, you’ve also got to think out of the box.  Doing the same thing week in and week out is boring.  Inject a bit of pizzazz into your social/play-time schedule.  Keep trying new things like eating out at that new restaurant, taking trips to museums/exhibitions, trying out a nightclub or just getting out into nature together by enjoying a stroll on the beach or a hike up the mountain.
  • ‘I Love You’ — not a day goes by when we don’t express this simple phrase to each other.  Don’t take for granted that your partner knows how you feel.  A little love goes a long way.  Hugs and kisses are also great daily practices, especially when they come at unexpected interludes.
  • ‘Thank You’ — always show your partner gratitude for what they do.  From the smallest things — like doing the dishes or picking the kids up from class — to the bigger things — like working hard or being a great listener or shoulder to cry on.  Appreciation shows you partner recognition.

They Lived Happily Ever After…

When you excite and love yourself with your particular brand of uniqueness and zest for life, you’ll be an electrifying, lovable, irresistible rogue to your partner.  Own who you are and what you want out of life and make sure you are allowing your partner to express the same thing in his/her life.

Be open to change, new ideas and constant dialogue and you will be well on your way to a successful, healthy relationship that will last.

A partnership is all about balance, love and respect.

About the Author

Cherie is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and meditation music composer from Cape Town, South Africa.  She has weekly blogs on her site www.cherieroedirksen.com where she discusses practical and insightful perspectives on taking responsibility for your actions and ultimately living the life you came here to experience.  She also devotes a weekly blog to creativity and the artistic process. You can follow her on Twitter (@cheriedirksen) and Facebook (The Art of Empower)


Lovely blog Cherie. That Bruce Lee quote is awesome!! "Love is like a friendship caught on fire." Adore that! Bernadette :)


Have I screwed up and how to get on track ASAP.  I met someone over the weekend - we both were in awe.... How?  Why?  Where did you come from? The whole bit.  I did what I swore I would not and spent the night with him. (I'm 52, old enough to make that decision)  Next day was awesome, he wanted me to come to his place and stay.  I did not (we both had to work the following day and it was 45 minutes to his place.)  Yesterday he was working in a town just south of where I live (he's north).  We texted a bit and I thought he might stop in town on his way home.  When he texted me I let him know I had about 45 mins left of work.  When done, and I texted back and he said he was almost home.  Disappointed and feeling that "I blew if feeling" and expecting a call  "to come stay over" - I responded - "I figured that out on my own".  (My snotty side - not needed, not nice - ugh)  Of course I got the "come over text" - that "I guess some things are too good to be true" cuz we both had kept saying that and that I was disappointed.  I never explained why, never went over and ignored his calls til late because I was embarrassed for acting so childish.  How do I get this back on track?  Communicate EVERYTHING?  Which is basically, we slept together, now it's just "come over" .... oh yea, and now he has his daughter this coming weekend.... Oh, I so blew this one I feel... and there was some real chemistry going on here....which has been absent for oh so long in my life.  Maybe you can give me some advice... Thanks


@LivingLifeIf you think he is worth it, start again.  It's that simple.  Phone him and invite him to go and have a coffee or lunch - keep the exchange fresh and light.  Take it slow and get to really know each other before you are intimate again.  You really need to figure out if you are compatible or not at this stage.  Find things you have in common and build on that.  You need a foundation to build a relationship upon.