TEG Life Lessons

Critical Success Factors for Long Term Relationships


  • Common core values, e.g. kindness, honesty. Do what you say you will do.

  • Compatible demeanor, e.g. optimism, humor, helpfulness, gratitude.

  • Solid friendship, based on mutual respect and trust. Flexibility and resilience also help.

  • Readiness to be emotionally open, available, and vulnerable.

  • Strong desire to understand and help each other grow, and to be their very best.

  • Willingness to make the relationship and its maintenance an important priority.


  • Practice kindness, patience, trustworthiness, mutuality, reciprocity.

  • Strive to maximize appreciation, affection, tenderness… and joy / laughter!

  • Provide a safe emotional environment for communication and disagreement, to wit:

  • Always give the benefit of the doubt and presume good intentions.

  • Never disrespect or denigrate the other person or their beliefs.

  • Remember that everyone wants and deserves to be valued and loved.


  • Be positive and optimistic; focus on seeing and appreciating the good.

  • Deliver criticism or negative / disappointing messages with sugar and kindness.

  • If in doubt, ask --don’t assume.

  • Be clear about your preferences and desires; Be explicit and direct… but gentle!

  • Assume counter-suggestions are welcome --but silence will be taken as assent.

  • Don’t let frustrations fester, or pretend all is well. Avoid passive-aggressive spiral.

  • Consider regular check-ins; ask what (if anything) has annoyed or disappointed you.

  • Consider Why My Family Talks About Peaches and Pits Every Night at Dinner

  • Establish a daily habit of thinking about how to strengthen the relationship.

  • Remember the power of smiles, hugs, words of affirmation, and terms of endearment.

  • Continually add to the shared reservoir of good vibes and positive experiences.


  • Resolve to talk thru problems ASAP (unless immediate response would inflame).

  • Revisit hurtful comments thru lens of good intentions; get to underlying reasons.

  • If either person gets defensive, be patient and don’t escalate.

  • If either person is being clueless or oblivious, gently help clue them in, without disdain.

  • Remember the good times, and why the relationship is worth fighting for.

SUCCESS INDICATORS (Questions to help each partner to assess)

  • When together do I feel: Happy? Loved? Adored? Warm? Trusted? Connected?

  • Are affection and tenderness flowing in both directions?

  • Is being together a joy that energizes, not a chore that exhausts?

  • Are there opportunities for us to co-create and/or jointly make a positive difference?

  • Do I feel good about our balance of mutual contribution and commitment?

  • Do I feel you are interested in learning what makes me tick and supporting my goals?

  • Are my accommodations to your lifestyle comfortable (i.e. they don’t pinch)?

  • Is our balance of “solo/alone” and “joint/together” time comfortable?

  • Do we have good conversations and frequent laughter?

  • Do I feel like a wanted / integral part of your world, not an outsider waiting to be let in?

  • Do I want to be with you more than anything else on earth?

Terry Gray (22 Jan 2022)