We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work, yearning for promotions, huge salary increases, or if we are entrepreneurs, obsessing about the growth of our businesses, and naturally, we obsess about our bank accounts, because it is the ultimate metric in our myopic notion of success.

We spend a lot of money buying many things. But, we oft neglect a pivotal part of our lives. Of course, we pay lip-service to it.

We oft gloss over that facet of our life, which could bring more color and joy — a joyful relationship. A harmonious relationship can be deeply satisfying because it fulfills a natural longing – the yearning for a complement. We can experience and achieve more if we have a complement.

What does it mean when we say two people are complementary? It means that they enhance and help accentuate the qualities of the other. It means that they are supportive and are in harmony.

A relationship is an astounding opportunity to support and be supported, to challenge and be challenged. It could unleash the best in us. We are meant to flourish luxuriantly in our relationships.

The truth, however, is that many relationships are deeply troubled, some are on the verge of collapse, while some would probably never collapse, but they are sad shadows of their former selves.

The couple may not even be fighting. There may be “peace”; it’s just that passion and genuine love are gone. In truth, many feel stuck. They yearn for the excitement and commitment which characterized the early days of the union, and they wonder how the relationship grew cold in time.

Heaviness weighs upon the hearts in the relationships. And a quiet longing for a renewal remains unquenched in the same hearts. What’s to be done? Is there truly hope, or are the parties doomed to perpetuate the status quo till death do them part?

There are many suggestions that could trigger a change in the quality of our relationships, and in this piece, we’d explore just one of them. It’s not new. It’s probably something you were practicing naturally in your relationship before things took an unpleasant or tragic turn.

And it’s vital to mention that unless there is a genuine commitment to applying this simple key, there probably won’t be any heart-warming change because this key is at the heart of what it means to have a relationship. It is the core.

Before I tell you what it is, let me suggest that you should not denigrate it: This life-changing key is so simple. We tend to underrate and denigrate simple things. We have more respect for complicated stuff and we erroneously assume that something must be complicated before it can be profound and effective. This is a dangerous myth.

This key I am about to remind you of is a simple law. It is one of the most potent and universal laws of life.

The key: Become obsessed with giving, not taking. Most relationships are troubled and out of balance because many fixate on what they want to take from it. They’re not giving enough.

For any system to be in a state of equilibrium, giving must balance taking. Think of breathing. Inhaling must balance exhaling. Being awake must be balanced by sleeping…

Problems start to surface and fester when we neglect this great natural law. When we explore troubled relationships we can be sure that this law is not being observed. This non-observance manifests in many forms.

So, we should refrain from thinking that the giving, mentioned here, relates merely to physical or material things. Oh, no. It embraces and actually starts with the spiritual and psychic. You know this is true, in the sense that there are relationships where both partners still share gifts of a material nature, but their hearts are no longer in the relationship!

Two of the most vital things we could give include having a listening ear and paying attention to all that concerns our partners. Please, put that phone aside for a while. If we are glued to our phones when we are with our partners, we are actually saying they are not as important as the virtual distraction we are interested in at that moment.

Look into your partners’ eyes when you are with them. It’s simple and easy to do. And it speaks volumes. Hold their hands.

If you are genuinely resolved to start giving your partner all that’s enchanting, exciting, and noble, starting with a special place in your heart, you’d be astonished at how you’d experience more peace and joy, and if they are sincere, they’d naturally reciprocate. In fact, you’d become happier once you see that they’re becoming joyful as a result of what’s you’re giving.

Their joy is your reward!

So, who would initiate or reignite this process?

The ego wants the other party to restart that scintillating cycle of giving which characterized the relationship when it began. Ignore the ego and listen to the guidance of your heart. Make a resolve to give unceasingly. And you’d be astonished at the relationship’s heartwarming rejuvenation.

As we conclude, it’s fitting that I reiterate the key: Become obsessed with giving, not taking.

Michael Newman