The Key to Relationships that Work: Judgement Kills, Gratitude Grows

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Have you ever had a relationship that started off hot and heavy? Where nearly every thought that went through your mind was about your new lover? Everything they did was funny or cute or sexy and you were counting down every second until you could be in their arms again? Have you ever had that end in disaster? Heartbroken. Depressed. Wallowing in self-pity… until… the next sexy thing comes along and boom! It’s off to the races again. I know I certainly have. The cycle of falling in and out of love is one I know all too well. 

What happens when relationships that were once alive, playful, and sensational go sideways? More importantly, what can be done to change it and create relationships that work? 

These are my top 3 tips on creating a relationship that works: 

Judgment is the #1 relationship killer.

When relationships begin to deteriorate, you can be sure that judgment has entered in. Judgment often begins with us and then bleeds over into judgment of our partner and of the relationship. We judge our bodies for not being perfect. We judge our partner for not listening enough or not spending enough time with us. And we judge the relationship for not being as good as someone else’s or not looking the way we decided it should look. Judgment can start small but if left unattended it will continue to grow and eventually choke out what was once wonderful in your relationship.

relationships that work

The antidote to judgment is gratitude. Judgment and gratitude cannot exist simultaneously. When you are judging, you stop seeing the things you are thankful for. When you are grateful, you stop seeing the things you judge. Gratitude is something you cultivate. You can start by creating a journal. This journal is a place for you to write all the things you are thankful for about you, your partner, and the relationship. Use it daily. Look for and write new things. Eventually, what you like about you, what you adore about your partner and what is satisfying in your relationship will be the predominate focus and your relationship can thrive again. 

What’s love got to do with it? 

Those 3 little words, “I love you.” How I used to crave them. To love and be loved was an endless search. The problem with love is that it is packed full of judgment and what love means to you may be very different than what it means to someone else. This difference can create conflict, misunderstandings and ultimately leads to more judgment. If my, “I love you” means let’s get married and have kids and your “I love you” means I enjoy your company, it is only a matter of time until I start judging you for not taking this relationship seriously and then the insults, fights, and unhappiness start. 

What if, rather than saying I love you, you played with the phrase, “I adore you.” I adore you does not have the expectations that come with I love you. I adore you is filled with gratitude and allows you to focus on the gift that the other person is to you rather than the demands and definitions of love. 

Whether you are gifting or receiving gratitude and adoration with your partner, it changes the entire dynamic of the relationship. There is allowance and space and ease and joy and play. 

Drop the conclusions. Ask a question.

We all have moments where we are not at our best. A bad day at the office. Challenges with family. Day in day out life circumstances. If you find yourself choosing judgment of yourself, your partner, and your relationship, don’t make it worse by judging you more for being in that place. Stop and ask, “What’s right about me that I am not getting? What’s right about my partner that I am not getting? What’s right about our relationship that I am not getting?” These questions disrupt the negative, judgmental thought patterns you may find yourself in and the door to reconnecting with gratitude becomes available. All it takes is a question and a choice. 

Regardless of where you are in your relationship right now, you can rekindle the spark if it has been lost or turn it up even more if it’s still there. Lose judgment by choosing gratitude. Focus on your adoration of your lover and even in challenge moments, ask the questions which allow you to engage in the infinite possibilities. How much ease and joy would you like to choose? It truly is up to you! 

This guest post was authored by Venus Castleberg

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Venus Castleberg is the author of the best-selling book, Here to Forever: Finally Free to Be Me, and a holistic healthcare practitioner with over 20 years of studying and practicing a range of modalities. She is a seasoned entrepreneur and coach, and a devotee of joyful possibility. You can learn more about Venus at and follow her on Facebook @venuscastleberg and Instagram venus_castleberg.

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Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.