Relationship Advice

For all the relationship advice I have received over the years, I can safely say that little of it served me well; if anything it contributed only to the fact that I stayed in relationships that I really ought to have ended long before I did. In fact some of them I never should have started!

I do recall my mother’s not-so-sage advice when I was embarking on my first serious relationship where she said, “try living with three different men before you decide to marry as you don’t really know someone until you live with them!” Even when she told me that something in me thought, “But what if I decide it should have been the first or second one and l’ve already moved on!”

Fortunately this advice didn’t stick and nothing of it swayed my choices to be in a relationship or not, let alone whether to marry or not. I already knew that I would only marry if it felt right.

Thirty-five years down the track from that advice I HAVE married, a man I never expected to meet and one so beautifully compatible there was no question when it came to marrying him, no matter what number he was in the ‘lived-with’ stakes.

Regardless of this compatibility, which supported us to establish a very harmonious and easy day-to-day relationship, there was still the inevitable navigation of our particular idiosyncrasies, or to be more precise, the areas where we were each still inclined to get triggered by one another.

This would lead to inevitable small irritations and occasionally escalate into a more obvious annoyance. These moments were short-lived but seemed out of place within the usual harmonious flow we generally found ourselves in.

One day, after one of these moments, I pondered a little deeper on what was taking place and how it might be addressed. I had already tried the usual head-on approach with little receptivity, unsurprisingly!

I recalled a presentation I had attended on appreciation with Serge Benhayon and he’d said something that suddenly struck home.

“If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.”

(AWT Presentation July 9th on Appreciation, 2016)

Bingo! I knew that was the answer.

Being someone with a tendency until then to see faults well before I might acknowledge valuable attributes (both in myself and others), I pondered the potential impact of my husband not feeling the extent of appreciation for who he is and ALL that he brings that is true and amazing.

So we embarked on what became a fun and playful nightly exercise of sharing one thing each that we appreciated about the other that day, each time something that had never been expressed before. The stipulation was that these could not be things we had done at a functional level; we were nominating true qualities we could recognise as present in something the other had done or said. For example, one thing that emerged is my husband has an in-built radar for truth. He can pick the ‘untruth’ in almost any situation and nail it in a few words. He is seldom swayed by the outer appearance of things and can hone in on exactly what it is that is out of order.

What unfolded for me was nothing short of incredible, with every night revealing yet another aspect or detail to this beautiful man that I had not brought to the light of day and expressed in full before. Interestingly, I found the healing in this exercise was often felt more in the expressing than it was in receiving back.

Each time something of truth was shared, we both felt expansive and confirmed in who we are, being beautiful, most definitely divine and oh, so worthwhile!

Essentially what occurred in our relationship over the next six months was that we built a foundation of love and respect for each other’s true value, a foundation that is there to this day and leaves us feeling unshakeable as a couple. There can be no focus on faults, when what is amazing and true in each other is plain as day.

As well, and quite miraculously, we got to know each other in such an intricate and detailed way that those niggles previously mentioned just melted away. There is no longer any annoyance with each other; that is now something relegated to an amusing, distant memory.

Appreciation of one another’s true value is now a natural and constant exchange between us, no longer a pointed exercise, as it is now just part of the foundation we call our relationship.

So, what resulted from a simple but profoundly true statement by Serge Benhayon became the most sage piece of relationship advice I have yet to receive.

 By Jennifer Ellis, Brisbane, Australia

Related Reading:
Appreciation in Relationships
Peeling Back the Layers of Appreciation
Making a Relationship about True Love

829 thoughts on “Relationship Advice

  1. “Being someone with a tendency until then to see faults well before I might acknowledge valuable attributes (both in myself and others) ..” – very relatable Jenny, self-critique with the cross of perfection to sabotage self-value or appreciation. No wonder there’s disharmony in relationships, friendships, partnerships and so on.

  2. ‘I found the healing in this exercise was often felt more in the expressing than it was in receiving back.’ Expressing love and letting love out, for this is who we are, is always healing.

  3. The wisdom of Serge Benhayon develops every area of your life, by starting within, and that can’t help but flow out to those around you.

  4. “There can be no focus on faults, when what is amazing and true in each other is plain as day.” I really really love this, I think we can predominantly focus on each others faults or how another doesn’t fulfil our needs or what we want – these are such tiny things when we look at the grandness and the magnificence of the person in front of us.

  5. I think everyone can relate to the irritations in relationships – whether it’s a partner, child, parent, employee and so on. It makes sense for appreciation to be the antidote, because in the heat of the irritated moment there has already been moments of expectations and a condition or two to be met, so when appreciation is exercised, that person is no longer held in the failure of meeting that condition… in other words, irritation gone.

    1. Well said, Rachel, for irritation and reaction to occur we do have to have a picture, a condition or an investments and thus we are not bringing love and all of us to the relationship. Appreciation of the other but just as much of ourselves is the perfect antidote.

  6. A great sharing Jennifer and I totally get what is shared here, how when we do not appreciate, we can easily find ourselves in issues down the track, and that appreciation extends to both ourselves and the other.

  7. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” SB This is a real show stopper probably for most if us at some point in our lives. A simple moment of appreciation for another, however small can be significant enough to start to turn around any relationship that may otherwise be challenging.

  8. What a beautifully written wise blog. I have read this before and knew the value that was there in it. There is a question here because I know how this works. So what in you would not take up this loving exercise with your own partner? Is it not funny (not haha) that we can potentially have the best in relationships but we do not choose it. For me I have ultimately realised that appreciation takes one to be responsible about truly loving and adoring yourself in every moment .. before others. Depending on the relationship with yourself or another both are important.

  9. Gosh what if we all lived this piece of advice or truth “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” The world and all of our relationships would be completely different! Thank you for sharing this its Absolute Gold as anything shared by Serge Benhayon is ✨

  10. What a very beautiful blog Jenny and what more needs to be said, for you have said it all. You have inspired me, I have played a similar game with my new partner but not every night and not a new thing each time. I love the simplicity of just one thing new each night.

  11. Serge Benhayon totally lives and walks his talk. He has the most amazing, loving relationships with his wife, previous wife, many children, grandchildren and thousands of others – he is well qualified to speak about relationships and his advice is awesome. I have observed many other people who have terrible relationships freely giving relationship advice of the standard of their relationship, so I would say always look at how someone lives their own life before considering what they say and how it resonates with you.

  12. I love the simplicity in this advice and simple advice is always the best advice. When it’s too complicated it’s too hard to apply and it won’t work.

  13. “There can be no focus on faults, when what is amazing and true in each other is plain as day.” Beautiful words Jennifer and very true about what the power of appreciation can do for relationships.

  14. This is a beautiful reminder Jenny of the power of appreciation, it simply gets us to focus on the ‘what is’ allowing all our relationships to expand and truly evolve.

  15. Very true Jenny. Knowing that we are first and foremost made out of love, we should always see each other deeply for that equal loving being. Even if we live in an opposite way of that love. Let those who observe be the wise and love all everyone in good and bad days.

  16. I love coming back to your blog Jenny it is a great reminder that picking faults with someone never works and creates unnecessary conflict. I know as soon as I appreciate someone then what ever needs to be said is said in a loving way and not with criticism or judgement.

  17. Too many of us in relationships seem to put too much focus on our partners faults which over time can erode the relationship, but what you have presented here is the total remedy for that, through appreciation we can strengthen and grow our relationships to new levels.

  18. And what I appreciate most about your nightly ritual Jennifer is that we can apply this same principle to our work colleagues, our family and friends… anyone and everyone. It’s a genuine game changer….

  19. When one really stops and considers something to appreciate about another, even if it is someone that has been abusive towards you, there is always something there to appreciate (in my experience), even if it is a small thing, and shows by seeing the beauty inside someone first before all the behaviours that may mask it, we can heal our relationships through more understanding.

  20. ““If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” I love reading this sentence because it rings so true in my body. All issues really come from a lack of appreciation in some way.

  21. “Relationship Advice” – i spent years searching and trying to get the best advice on relationships [to get “a relationship ie partner] until one day a friend suggested so dearly to me to stop thinking that being on my own is a handicap! Thus began the best relationship and one which I’ve been enjoying over the years, deepening it until today – and that is the relationship with myself.

  22. What you offered here Jenny in regards to true appreciation really does go so much deeper than our usual superficial level that right now I am feeling for myself has got more to do with a self-centred neediness than true appreciation for the qualities that someone brings to the world. So much of our ‘appreciation’ seems to be based on ‘What have you done for me or someone else lately’, and feels quite hollow. I look forward to practicing this in a deeper way now with all my relationships.

  23. It makes so much sense that cherishing and honouring each other by appreciating all that it there, is the antidote to any criticism or annoyance, as it then will outweigh any negative thought that wants to creep in.

  24. To share one thing that we appreciate about each other every day – wow, what a great appreciation programme, and when you set about that you can’t but be making love in your everyday interactions with each other.

  25. At the moment there is a real call for my partner and I to deepen our relationship and allow more intimacy in, and this sharing is a treat to read as it shows that intimacy can be in conversation. And I know that it starts with that. The more we talk about true things we feel or observe, the more love I feel and can therefore express to him.

  26. This is so beautiful. Having read this blog some months ago I remember it when I have an issue with someone. I remember the quote you shared – “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” Thank you for highlighting this. It brings love to any situation. It has helped me beyond words.

  27. Loved coming back to your blog Jennifer I can feel how you have truly embraced your relationship and through Serge’s quote recognised the change you needed to make. It is also a great reminder for me to stop and appreciate rather than jumping into fault finding and the disturbance in the relationship this causes.

  28. Very beautiful Jennifer that by choosing first to appreciate each other and focussing on the values it became a natural expression between you both. Deeply beautiful.

  29. It seems that we get programmed by society where there is focus on what we do “wrong” instead of appreciating what we do right, And then we are not even mentioning the focus on appreciating the beauty of our beingness, which is almost absent in education, work, AND parenting

  30. We can often search for relationships advice and ‘think’ that others have the answers only. Stopping to feel what is true and not true in all our movements is a great start to initiate our responsibility towards respect and love and all else that follows.

  31. Very wise relationship advice Jenny that you are now passing on as an ageless lived gem of wisdom yourself. I agree how often relationship advice is never offered me the truth – this proves that love in relationship is not truly being lived. The true reflection of relationship that has ever been offered to me is from Serge and Miranda Benhayon. Its stupendous. I admire how they catch any form of tension before it even enters into the relationship when most find it normal to live with tension on a daily moment to moment basis. Going back to basics of having respect and decency goes along way.

  32. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” This is a great one to take into every day, with all the interactions we have with each other.

  33. Head on approach vs melting away approach. After reading this, I know which one feels nicer (after doing many many many head on approaches in my time 🙂 )

  34. Indeed when we appreciate another’s quality rather than something they do we confirm who they are in essence, love.

    1. And then it does not matter how much or how little we do. It does not matter if they are rich or poor, eloquent, educated, sporty, tall or short…. we all have a divine quality. How much are we living it?

  35. There is such a difference between appreciating the function and the quality – the function is like the clothing someone is wearing while the quality is an aspect of the person.

  36. There does seem to be a lot of should’s and must do’s when it comes to relationships these days. So, what ever happened to the sweetness of simply falling in love with a person and dedicating ourselves to that love, and to exploring ourselves in that love, with all the learning and making of mistakes that follows. Surely it is better to dive in full and give it all you’ve got with every ounce of love you have, rather than following the rules about what should or should not happen, which are usually centred around not getting hurt. In my experience however, getting hurt in relationships is an inevitability. But that is not what really matters. What really matters is how much of the love that you are have you brought to that relationship – regardless of the hurts and the fears.

  37. Bringing this sort of appreciation to any relationship is bound to sort things out, how wonderful a world we would live in if we could only bring this sort of appreciation to all our relationships? Even our relationship with nature and all it holds for us.

  38. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.”

    (AWT Presentation July 9th on Appreciation, 2016) This beautiful quote is key to the quality of our true relationship with others. There is so much to appreciate in the midst of the detritus of the self-interested war against oneself.

  39. We can never write too much about appreciation… I love working with this in workshops and discussions. Recently when there was a lot of resistance to even starting to let appreciation in, we likened it to letting the words of appreciation feel like sunlight, and allow them to shine through… Why would you want to cut yourself off from sunlight?

  40. Exploring the true meaning of respect recently I realized that I somehow took it for granted that I am respectful and thus haven´t given it too much thought in the past, but by taking a closer look I exposed the arrogance and ignorance that often runs as an undercurrent of judgments and expectations and keeps me from fully appreciating and accepting another person for who they are and where they are at. That deficiency in respect inescapably becomes the hindrance for having a deep connection, intimacy and trust with each other and usually plays out in reactions, rights and wrongs, ‘because of you’-phrases etc., no matter if this is openly expressed or just a suppressed internal conversation in my mind.

  41. Like many of Serge’s quotes and comments – they may be brief but there is a profound wisdom that underlies them all. So even living one of these, in full, is and can be life changing. Consider that he has books and books of these and you start to get an appreciation for the gold that is out there.

  42. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.”

    (AWT Presentation July 9th on Appreciation, 2016)
    I was just reading this and thinking this applies to one self as well.

  43. How unifying and confirming it is when we openly share and express our appreciation for each other. Thankyou Jennifer for sharing how the power of appreciation can deepen our relationships with love and truth, whilst resorting trust in knowing and living who we really are.

  44. Love is always simple. No complication or drama, simple teachings and revelations and profound deepening in our relationships with each other.

  45. Try living with three different people… interesting advice. It shows me how so often we try to live to a formula, compartmentalising something so we don’t have to feel every moment, connect deeply with everyone. I think better advice for me would have been ‘just be in relationship with yourself first’ when I do that I automatically connect to everyone I meet.

  46. When an issue arises we seem to have two choices; to either get frustrated and angry at someone, or choose to see a) our responsibility and role in the situation and b) that the person may be acting differently to their normal self as a result of things happening in their life. Jumping to conclusions and judging does nothing to evolve the issue, but bringing in understanding can offer a different path for the conversation to go and inspire the quality of the situation to come back to respect, love, decency etc.

    1. It certainly highlights how holding steady in our connection to truth is everything, allowing us the insight, awareness and ability to respond with truth, love and care in any situation.

  47. You really feel the difference when relationship advice is delivered by people who have a deeply loving relationship with everyone, not just their partner. I attended a relationship workshop with Annette and Gabe yesterday and the room of women felt very settled and surrendered as we explored our familial role models of intimacy and what it actual is. As only 10 women in the room felt they had true role models when they were growing up, it shows that not many people are really in a position to give relationship advice.

  48. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” – i just love these words of wisdom they really makes so much sense … Appreciation takes away the spiky thorn leaving instead in its place a bud to bloom and blossom. And there is nothing to not love about this!

  49. Choosing appreciation as the foundation for all our relationships, starting with the one with ourselves, literally changes everything and I am totally up for continuing to explore and deepen this experience. Thank you, Jennifer.

  50. How often do we lead with the faults and negativity of a person or a situation (never more than 5%), rather than appreciating all that they are, the qualities inherently in them, and flavouring that with a good dose of understanding of their circumstances, their day, their upbringing? Its gorgeous when you approach someone from this – it feels full and rich and the rest just becomes a speck you might ask them to flick off their very gorgeous shoulders.

  51. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” What a solid gold nugget that is. This dissolves tension simply by reading it. If we apply this to our relationships it could transform them.

  52. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” – WOW this is a show stopper -another deeply profound piece of wisdom that asks us to take responsibility for how we are in the world.

    1. It sure is a show stopper – so often we can go into blaming or judging the other person.The more I start to see and take responsibility for my part in the world and what is before me the less I react to others and what is going on around me. Simply stopping to ask myself ok so what am I being shown here and why gives me a much deeper understanding of what is going on rather than simply staying with purely what my eyes see and ears hear.

  53. Thank you Jennifer, your blog is one of those perennial pieces that I can come back to and apply to my relationships. It’s so common to want to fault find and fix, or finger point in relationships, and whilst we do so we miss seeing the bigger picture of the qualities we all have and appreciating those. Appreciation is definitely a foundation for love.

  54. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” It is such a true statement the moment we deeply appreciate another there are no issues.

  55. Appreciation about mere function, whilst great can come empty from the safety of ones mind. When one truly expresses from their heart about the true quality of a person and what they bring there is a definite feeling of open exquisiteness and expansion. A feeling perhaps rarely felt in most conversations and interactions but a feeling nonetheless that ought to be the norm.

  56. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.”- This is certainly the simplest, yet most profound key to building true relationships and letting go of any protective guard where we blame someone else for not staying open and loving with them. When I have allowed myself to appreciate someone’s natural qualities (even thought they may have previously done something I felt to be harming or unloving) it has felt like the judgement of them kind of melts away, and is replaced by at least a greater understanding of what is going on for them and why.

  57. “I recalled a presentation I had attended on appreciation with Serge Benhayon and he’d said something that suddenly struck home “If ever you have an issue with someone it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before” that’s worth appreciating when out of the blue when most sincerely feeling into what can support you and your relationship you recall one of the thousands of Serge’s profound sayings that is so pertinent for that moment and your willingness to embrace by putting it into practice. Simply beautiful Jenny.

  58. My family and I have taken a short three days get away and we have been playing some appreciation games while we are away, one of them has been fluffing up the simplest of tasks and really going to town on them. We were in an elevator and I was just playing around with how amazing the elevator ride was, “it’s like a rocket, it’s like a ride, its lifting us up in the air, all the way to the top of this building!” Watching the kids eyes while I was mucking around made me remember that we create our own reality and that life is what we make it.

  59. “If ever you have an issue with someone, it’s because you haven’t appreciated them well before.” I have read this before but having just experienced this I can feel how true this is.

    1. Love it – the power of experiential practice over a theory. There is plenty of knowledge out there in the world that does not really get us anyway, and not so much livingness which is the real gold needed.

      1. Having just come back to this blog I have also recognised that unless I live the truth then it means nothing and still remains knowledge. Learning to appreciate is the antidote to finding fault in another and allows a stop moment to feel whether what I am about to offer is needed and if it is how am I going to say it.

  60. I know that if another has lived that truth I resonate with it so much more. I am more likely to try it as I am inspired by another whose actions confirm their words.

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