I am not a relationship guru by any stretch of the imagination.

I am a married woman to a wonderful man for 26 years. Certainly, our relationship is not always a bed of roses. But we have learned a thing or two over the course of our 26-year relationship.

The following advice is for you—if you wish to turn or establish a lasting relationship. I originally wrote this for a girlfriend who had a hell of a time keeping a relationship, but, by the looks of it, the young generation could use it too.

ADVICE FOR MEN AND YOUNG MEN:

1. When a girl talks, pay attention. Give your full attention, then acknowledge her. Your objective by doing this? Letting her know that you’ve heard her.

2. Know this: Women’s (and girls’) no. 1 desire is to be listened to and desired. Your actions, gestures, and body language should re-assure her of this—ALWAYS.

3. NEVER EVER be silent. Silence sends the message that you don’t care, which makes her angry (or angrier). If you don’t know what to do or say, then just give her a hug. Or an acknowledgement. Sometimes, all you really need to say is: “I hear you and I don’t know what to do, but I am here for you.” If she is giving you the “silent treatment”, don’t do the same. Tell her you love her and let her know you are ready to talk when she is.

4. Re-enforce no. 2 above: your girl needs attention. Give it as much as you can, but you may need to draw the line sometimes. However, communicate it clearly (firm without anger)—such as: “I am busy but I am thinking of you.” Don’t just say, “I am busy!” That’s harsh and can come across like you don’t care.

5. Give your girl some space, time, and maybe some money once in a while to do whatever she wishes without judgement. And if you are married with kids, don’t make her find a babysitter before she can take off—take the load off of her.

ADVICE FOR WOMEN AND YOUNG LADIES:

1. Before you pour your drama or how you feel onto him (or whatever), let him know that you just want to vent and he doesn’t have to say or do anything about it. Often times, men feel they are obligated to DO something when all you really want him to do is listen, be there for you, and acknowledge you.

2. Men and boys react differently to drama and rants than your girlfriends. They are men; they have less patience (or capacity) for drama. So if you want their attention, cut the drama (and the whining) a little. Drama stresses them out—seriously.

3. You can’t change a man. If your desire is to change him—you will make a mess of the relationship. Either love him for who he is or find another one.

4. If you want a perfect man in your life—be a perfect woman for him. Let me spell it out: you can’t expect him to be perfect if you yourself are not perfect . Know his desires and dislikes, then work on them.

5. Give your man some space. They need their own space and time. They have parents, they have siblings, they have cousins, and they have buddies. They need to make time for them  with or without you. Respect that and don’t be needy. Understand the “blood relationship” they share and know that you can’t break that no matter how special you are to him.

Lastly (and this is for both genders), whatever you do, avoid making each other wrong. There are ways to say what you need to say WITHOUT MAKING a big deal out of the situation and making the other person wrong. You have your point of view and so does he or she—respect that. You are both unique, self-determined individuals who posses different qualities. So when you decide to join forces, know each other really well so you can combine the qualities together and create a bombshell of a relationship.

P.S. When you have an argument, disengage and take a break; go for a walk in different directions. You’ll gain new perspectives and, sometimes, you’ll realize the stupidity of what you are arguing about.

P.P.S. It takes two to tango. What that means is that it takes two to make or break a relationship—always. I don’t believe you if you think he or she’s done you wrong. My question to you would be: “What have you done to contribute to this?”

P.P.P.S. Like flowers, always work on nurturing the relationship; it requires constant watering from both parties.

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