How to Program Yourself for an Amazing Relationship

lasting relationship

Everybody wants a meaningful and lasting relationship. So, why does there seem to be such a scarcity of great relationships these days? Is there some way that we could be better prepared before we take a big relationship plunge?

While every relationship has its own unique complexities, I believe that what we bring into a relationship emotionally is crucial to the success of that relationship. Too many people make a commitment to another person without being emotionally aligned with the reality of that commitment. They are still thinking like an individual instead of a couple.

When one becomes two it’s time for an upgrade

When we decide to settle down in a relationship, we need to change the way we think.  We need a different kind of internal program if we want to enjoy all the benefits of a relationship that can go the distance. When we are single, it’s easy to be centered on ourselves because we live in a simpler, more singular world.  Function on that singular level is not very complicated.

To be part of a lasting and supportive relationship, we need to expand our thinking because life gets a bit more complicated and requires a program with greater capacity. That means it’s time for an upgrade. To succeed in a relationship, we need to reprogram the way we think about life. If we do it right then life gets better, more meaningful and rewarding.

Out with the old, in with the new

Anytime we raise the bar of expectations in any area of our lives, we need to upgrade our internal programming.  Those who choose to stubbornly stick to their old way of thinking can’t experience meaningful growth.

If we want to accomplish something extraordinary, like a truly successful relationship, the place to start is internally.  Our old way of thinking got us where we are, and that was what it was designed to do.  But now we are ready to move on, to grow and expand our world and reach out for more.

Know what you want

When a computer programmer decides to create a new program he always has a reason, an objective.  Programs are designed for very specific purposes.  If the programmer doesn’t understand what he is trying to accomplish, how can he design the right program? Likewise, before we can change our thinking, we need to have a clear understanding of what we intend to accomplish, and why.

Let’s go back to our single person who wants to build a relationship.  For the sake of discussion, let’s just say he’s a single guy who has enjoyed living on his own for the past five years. Now he’s met someone really special and as the relationship grows he wants to take it to the next level.

The relationship shift

Now his internal focus has shifted to include another person and his mental reference point has changed from me to we. At this point his life needs to be played by a completely different set of rules because he has a whole new point of reference.

Including another person in your life means changing the way you think about everything.  It’s your life times two and then some, which means it’s at least twice as complicated.  We won’t even talk about what happens when you bring children to the mix. So why do it?  Why purposely complicate your life? Because you know that it has the potential to be at least twice as rewarding and enjoyable. You know it and you want it.

A real relationship needs a serious commitment

Here’s a chapter from my own life. I didn’t get married until I was in my thirties, and the reason for that is – I only wanted to do it once and I wanted to make sure that I did it right.  My dad had drilled it into my head as a kid, “don’t make promises you can’t keep.”  I knew that marriage would be one of the most serious promises I would ever make, and I wanted to be sure that I could keep my word.

So I waited.  I waited until I met somebody I knew I could not live without.  Obviously, I wanted it to work.  Realizing that there are certain things that can quietly undermine a marriage, I wanted to make sure that these things were handled before I made a major commitment to our relationship.

Leave the baggage behind

One of the subtleties that will unravel the fabric of a relationship is when someone carries a fantasy about a past flame. I’d seen it happen to other marriages, and I wasn’t about to let it happen to mine.  So I did a little self-examination to see if I was harboring any fantasies of this sort.  I made sure that each memory of past relationships included complete closure.

For a single person, perhaps such fantasies aren’t considered harmful.  But they can spell disaster for a marriage because every time there’s a disagreement you can escape into the fantasy of “what if.”  This may seem like a small change and obviously there were others that needed to be made as well.  But 27 years later, here I am, still married to the same, wonderful woman.

Channel your emotional power

So, why was I motivated to do this self-examination and to root out any little problems that I found?  Because my emotions were fully engaged and I was highly motivated to make whatever changes were necessary.  I knew that I wanted to build a  relationship that could go the distance, and I wasn’t about to let anything stand in my way.

In this crazy world, a truly meaningful relationship really is an extraordinary thing.  If that’s the kind of relationship that you want, then you need to be willing to upgrade the thinking that drives your behavior. You need to program yourself for a relationship that will bring genuine joy and meaning to your life.

How well is your internal relationship program serving you?
What do you think is the most important quality in a relationship?
The lines are open!

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Ladies, want to know how to rewire your man’s brain so he will pay more attention to you and treat you better? You’ll want to read this article.


  1. Sandra Lee December 21, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I love this phrase: “upgrade our internal programming.” It could be applied to so many different facets of our life. I like the clarity you have about the fact that a relationship is 2x as complicated plus as being on your own. That really presents a clear picture. The benefits are wonderful too.

    • Jonathan December 22, 2010 Reply

      Hi Sandra, when you think of the awesome potential of a really good relationship, it’s no wonder it is a core desire for most people. Like all other potential though, it needs to be cultivated and nurtured. I wish more people would think about that aspect before they take the plunge.

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    I was very interested in reading this article because I know you have been successfully married for a long time. I appreciate your wisdom about thinking as two, committing, and channeling your emotional power.

    Sounds like you have figured out the formula for making it work. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Jonathan December 22, 2010 Reply

      Hi Gail, we have made our relationship a top priority and I think that’s why it has been successful. Sure, it takes work, but it’s the absolute commitment that really makes it possible. Seems Ironic how many people shy away from the idea of absolute commitment because in so many ways it is very liberating.

  3. Stuart December 22, 2010 Reply

    Wow Jonathan, I love this post. Sometimes when people get into relationships, they just don’t realise what it involves. Love can be hard work at times, but it’s always worth it in the end.

    I love your sub-titles by the way, very imaginative ;-)

    • Jonathan December 22, 2010 Reply

      So right Stuart, but the work is insignificant compared to the depth of the experience. So worth it.

  4. Steve December 22, 2010 Reply

    There are a couple of key points here: first, as you pointed out, is the shift from me to we. Having been married 13 years now, I am daily working on that shift, because by nature, I’m selfish. My marriage has been a gift to me in the sense that it has forced me to become more selfless. Second, the fantasy of a past flame: so important, not only to guard the heart and mind from not only the past, but from the present and the future: I work hard to have a heart and mind and eyes for my beloved wife, and not for anyone else. When I do that, I am completely hers: and I know she knows that :)

    • Jonathan December 22, 2010 Reply

      Well said Steve, real trust doesn’t happen automatically, it needs to be instilled in a relationship. Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on that. Excellent.

  5. Henway December 22, 2010 Reply

    I think the most important part of a lasting relationship is intelligence. Not many ppl know what it means to love someone, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We may try our best, but without intelligence and wisdom, we will most likely fail.

    • Jonathan December 22, 2010 Reply

      Hi Henway, that’s an interesting take. What kind of intelligence are you thinking of specifically?

  6. Rocket Bunny December 25, 2010 Reply

    I think my generation is prone to believe a relationship is a “happily ever after” deal. Both genders want the fairy tale relationship and when reality sets in with stress and normal routine problems, one or both want to bail out of the relationship and find comfort elsewhere. Not necessarily with some other person. Their work can be thier mistress or gigolo.
    I really liked what Gail said.
    Unfortunately, not all see it this way. I have had many long lasting friendships work and cherish them all.
    I hope I don’t sound bitter. I believe in marriage. It needs reinforcement !
    Thank you for this article.You always make me think.

    • Jonathan December 28, 2010 Reply

      Hi Bunny, marriage is a bit of a paradox. Do well, it has the potential to be on of the most rewarding of all human experiences. Done any other way and it can be a total nightmare. You nailed it when you said that marriage needs reinforcement. So true.

  7. Joy December 26, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    I love this from your comment “but the work is insignificant compared to the depth of the experience”..so true of anything, especially love.
    When we look for a quick fix, we miss the process of unfolding.. involving trust..essential for a meaningful and lasting relationship..
    Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • Jonathan December 28, 2010 Reply

      What a beautiful comment Joy. I love the unfolding aspect of life. That’s where that wonderful sense of adventure comes from.

  8. Marty January 13, 2011 Reply

    My take on a lasting relationship is be aware that being best friends is very important. Being best friends means allowing space for each other and having a oneness in every day matters. At times it is not easy, but the core friendship is what keep folk together. I will be 23 years married this July to my wonderful and caring wife Christine.

    • Jonathan January 13, 2011 Reply

      Hey Marty, congratulations on your 23 years together. That kind of relationship longevity is becoming pretty rear these days. I agree that a close friendship and mutual respect help to form a solid foundation for a truly meaningful marriage.

  9. Tracy January 18, 2011 Reply

    I like that, “upgrade our internal programming”. I agree that selfishness does not work in a lasting relationship.

    I think one of the most important things in a relationship, especially a long-term one, is trust. If you don’t trust your partner, chances are you won’t open up as much to them, which won’t bring you closer together.

    Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • Jonathan June 21, 2011 Reply

      Hi Tracy, you are absolutely right about the importance of trust. In fact, for a truly meaningful relationship trust is more than important, it is vital.

  10. Rachel June 21, 2011 Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this! I have had relationship problems my whole life. I am 41 and not yet had someone stay with me or ask me to marry them. I date men but it always ends up the same. I get dumped. I take good care of my boyfriends too. I don’t complain. I cook and keep the house clean. I do everything for them. My friends tell me that I’m too nice. But, I always get the same excuses. It’s not you, it’s me. I want to be single for a while, etc. I might believe it if 90% of them didn’t have serious relationships in the near future after breaking up with me. It used to bother me really bad. Now, at my age, I just feel that I’m destined to be alone. I don’t let it bother me as much as I used to. When I was younger, I attempted suicide twice because I really thought something was wrong with me. I still think there is, but I won’t do the suicide thing again. I was mentally abused by my mother my whole life. I still am. Every time I meet someone new, she tells me that they don’t want me except for one thing and, after they get it, they will move on. Really nice words to be telling your daughter! I don’t talk about the abuse or any problems to the guys I date, but maybe it bleeds out, and I don’t realize it. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Jonathan June 21, 2011 Reply

      Hi Rachel, I truly feel your pain and understand you deep desire to have a mate. Sadly, relationships are the stage where all of our imperfections and shortcomings get acted out times two. I know so many good and caring people in a similar situation to yours because of one unavoidable fact – It takes two to make a relationship work, but only one to destroy it. Finding that other good and caring person in a world that programs people to be self centered ans selfish is becoming increasingly more challenging. About the only way to meet this challenge is to continue working to become the best possible version of yourself and to give yourself the validation and approval that you deserve. This doesn’t guarantee that someday the right person will discover you, but it does improve the quality of your life in the meanwhile. It also makes you more attractive to those who value such qualities. Often, when we develop the ability to let go of a need, we actually open the way for that need to be filled. I realize that can be difficult, but it’s one approach that I have seen bring good results.

  11. Chris July 31, 2011 Reply

    I am a marketing manager whom has been single for most my life as it is often so busy that I just never took the time. It was very hard, and still even now I seem to have trouble from time to time with my own programming. This post has been very helpful and I just want to take a moment to thank you for it’s posting. In marketing we are programmed communicators however I have found that we only hear what we want to hear and often have a way of twisting words or situations into our own likes so that others see our views. This post has truly assisted me to reprogram my self to stop and listen to all that is being said, opposed to just waiting for that key set of words that I can use to turn the tables. I have found that since I began using the small things such as adjusting to doing little things here and there on a daily basis to make her smile or just something as simple as picking up dinner on the way home when she has had a long day. Has made a positive change in our daily life and strength of our relationship. Once more I just want to thank you for this posting. I would gladly stand as a walking testimate to validity of many of the key points within it..

    • Jonathan November 16, 2011 Reply

      Hi Chris, you made an important distinction in your comment about how our motives influence the way we listen. You said: …assisted me to reprogram my self to stop and listen to all that is being said, as opposed to just waiting for that key set of words that I can use to turn the tables. This “turning point” will make a huge difference I’m sure. So glad that you are putting these things into practice and benefiting from them Chris and thank you for your kind support.

  12. Nancy November 15, 2011 Reply

    Hello Jonathan and how ironic that you wrote about programming yourself for a lasting relationship and my blog post this week was “What is it about love?” So we are on the same wave frequency! You make some very good points and the letting go of baggage is a MUST – until we totally forgive then we carry around what doesn’t serve us anymore to the new relationship and eventually it will get sour….

    It all comes down to love in it’s purest form – unconditional to build on a lasting relationship. RESPECT and TRUST are 2 biggies too!

    I do invite you to come over to my blog every so often and check the posts out; don’t be afraid just because it’s entitled MakeGirlfriends.com – I have many men commenting including David Stevens and Jimmy from Your Life Architects….

    In love and light,

    • Jonathan November 15, 2011 Reply

      Greetings Nancy, sometimes I think that words like “unconditional” and “total commitment” scare people, but in reality they are a must for a deep, meaningful relationship. Once you close all the escape routes then there is only moving forward together.

      OK, I’ll pop over as long as you say it’s safe. :)

  13. Lycka February 10, 2013 Reply

    Dear Jonathan,
    I am truly very appreciative that I found your website.
    Your analyses of happiness & relationships are worded in such an understandable way that I do get quite enlightened when reading it.
    I hope to write more to you. I will find more time to read the contents in your website.
    Thank you,
    Warm wishes,

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