“I have about 45 things on my list and you meet all of them with the exception of 3 . . . “ I can’t all of these years later remember what the 3 missing items were, although I always remember the 4th that I didn’t even think to put on the list, and boy was that one a shocker. One of the things on my list back then in 2003 was that he, the man I was writing about, had a voice that “resonated through me.”  On our first meeting I arrived on the later ferry over to the Greek island of Skyros where I was going to be teaching, so there was one seat left at the dining table.  A man sat with his back to me engaged in animated conversation with the other teachers.  I carefully eased myself on to the end of the communal bench, my arm gently resting on his back.  As he spoke his voice resonated through me however it would be a couple more days before his blush worthy declaration allowed the whole set of pennies to drop, and reveal that this was the man on from the Love List that I had written just a few days before.
The Relationship Love List as I called it back then was a Coaching Exercise that I designed for a series of month long Life Coaching and Relationship Workshops that I was flying out to run and teach at the Skyros Resort in Greece. I hadn’t intended for my list to come true in such spectacular fashion just a few short days later; I was merely road testing it for my Workshop attendees.

What is the Relationship Love List and how do you create it?

The Relationship Love List usually starts with exploring your Values, as in what’s important to you in a relationship; this might be things like love, trust, honesty, fun, openness, authenticity, etc.  With your Values we also talk about having them being ‘towards’ what you want rather than ‘away from.’  For example, wanting ‘trust’ in a relationship so that you don’t have someone who cheats on you is a completely different energetic and emotional vibe to desiring trust in a relationship because it allows you both to be fully open and brings a sense of emotional freedom and joy.

Eliciting Your Relationship LOVE LIST Values

The question to start eliciting your Relationship Values is: “What’s important to you in a relationship?” Get a pen and paper and do this as a free-noting exercise and write down whatever comes to mind.  If you hit an impasse and run out of ideas, take a short pause and then ask yourself: “What else is important to me in a relationship?”  .  You might cycle through this process half a dozen or so times.  The majority of the time when doing this exercise with clients, I find that the things that are most important to them often come out towards the end of the process long after they think that they have run out of things to say. You are going for key words and whatever comes to mind, no matter how small, embarrassing or inconsequential they might seem. For this exercise you can decide whether to focus on a loving relationship, romance, companionship, or all of the above. Once you have completed your list start to put it in order.  You can begin with the Top 5 or Top 10 in order of importance.

Now I have to say up front that this isn’t like a relationship shopping list where you rigidly move on to another store if they don’t have everything that you want.  Nor do you fire someone Lord Sugar Apprentice Style after the first date because they don’t have deep brown eyes or were not educated at the right University.  The aim of the Values exercise is to give you some clarity about what you are looking for so that when he or she goes walking past, or you have to squeeze up next to them on a bench on a Greek island, you are much more likely to notice them because your internal sensors or Reticular Activating System which is the part of the brain that acts as your internal radar system, your RAS for short, has been set and given the right co-ordinates and criteria to search for.
Having a bit more conscious awareness of what’s really important to you in a relationship can also alert you when you are getting into situations and relationships that are perhaps not right for you, and the additional self-awareness allows you to at least stop, notice what is happening, and if you choose to, take corrective action and refocus. And the reason that I say ‘if you choose to’, is because sometimes you are not looking for anything hot and heavy, so it doesn’t really matter if you both know deep down that they are not the one.

Can you live with or live without?

When you are looking for an ideal partner or re-evaluating the partner that you already have, the things you have rated most highly are the ones that you want to start looking out for.  For example, if your number one value for a partner is that they are considerate, and you meet someone who scores 9 out of 10 on your list but doesn’t have a considerate bone in their body, you might want to evaluate whether that is OK with you and if it’s something that you can live with. Alternatively if you rated ‘enjoys Salsa dancing’ as something that is important, but your partner likes a good waltz or has 2 left feet, you evaluate the whole package and decide whether or it is something that you can live with, agree to disagree on, or potentially work on.

Many happy couples have areas of their relationship where completely different things are important to them and this can work perfectly well once you come to an agreement or compromise that works for both parties, and if you appreciate and Yin and Yang nature of what you both bring to the table.   What you really need to ask yourself as you contemplate your values list is what are you willing to compromise or work on, and what would be an absolute deal breaker. If you do decide to compromise or put up with a few things, just spare a thought for what that annoying little habit might be like in 5 or 10 years time!  And if you realise that it could become unbearable, take some action to work with your partner resolve it as early as you can.

And for me such a list would never detract from the fun and enjoyment of meeting someone new and discovering who they are.  This approach is a simply a way to work more in alignment with your brain and neurology and underlying drivers which carry a vast storehouse of  information which is  often outside of our conscious awareness about what makes us tick and gives us an even greater sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. Several people who attended my Workshop that year found new love during the month that we were on the island, so magic can definitely happen when you have the right focus and energy . . . . . .

And on that note, I wish you a magical, love filled month and beyond….x