I started reading about RPW when I first met my boyfriend about 3 years ago. I am happy to say that, last week, we got married!!!
I would love to give back to the community by writing a little about the strategies that were most important to the success of my relationship. It’s mostly basic RPW theory, but applied over a long enough time, they work wonders.
Feel free to skip the next few paragraphs, but I would just like to go over what our relationship looks like with these strategies applied consistently.
For the entirety of our relationship, the honeymoon period came and never left. He feels respected, cherished and loved everyday while I feel like there is not a thing I need to worry about and my only job is to be happy and inject our relationship with laughter, brightness and positive energy. He buys me gifts and gives tokens of affection unprompted, tells me “you’re the cutest” or “you’re the most beautiful woman in the world” every day. He made my friends swoon because one time I asked him if we could do something in front of them and he replied “we can do anything you want”. He actually planned our entire wedding to a dreamy perfection while I picked out flowers and sat there looking very pretty.
When we disagree, it is always a vulnerable experience (on my end especially). We never dig up old dirt, we have never raised our voices, and although I apologise first whenever I can, he sometimes beat me to it because he values me so much more than being right. This is all with the context of him being the sole breadwinner (I was a student) and doing about half of the chores. Not because I don’t want to do chores, but because he explicitly forbade me from doing them. Almost shockingly to me, he sees this as a “fair” division of labour - that’s how much he values my presence in his life.
It is the absolute perfect relationship that brings me joy and pride every day, and much of that is thanks to the things I learned here.
Now, on to the strategies I followed:
1. Work on yourself first and work on yourself constantly (“Own your shit”)
This is the most paramount foundation to everything else I am about to say. I grew up in a conflict filled household with a busy absent businessman father and a frustrated mother who viciously beat her kids. It was perfect for developing borderline personality disorder. I am drawn to conflict and I am afraid of stability because I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, not to mention daddy issues for days. If I had not done significant work on this prior to and during my relationship, I would have self sabotaged countless times. If you have any destabilising issues, read relevant books, see a therapist, talk to friends, or else you will be fighting an uphill battle with yourself while attempting to find a happy relationship.
Think about your role, your faults, and your responsibility in any relationship breakdown first.
2. Realise it is more important to be happy than to win
This is another super important foundation. I think a lot of people reading these strategies might think “how is it fair that I have to be so careful, do so much emotional work, prop up his ego, can’t just say whatever the fuck I want”. The answer is, it doesn’t matter. It’s a fallacy to think that you can say whatever you want to people closest to you because they “should love you for who you are”. I have personally seen people being super careful about not hurting their friends’ feelings only to say whatever they want to their SO. That makes no sense.
A happy, effortless looking relationship is in reality maintained with a lot of care and compromise, as both sides love each other so much that they rather not get the final word than see the other person upset. My mother’s 25 year long marriage is falling apart partially because she always wanted to win and always said whatever she wanted. When she finally realised at 50 something years old that she just want to be loved, she has pushed my dad away irreparably.
3. Choose who you trust, then trust who you chose. Never give advice unless asked, never try to force control. STFU.
All of RPW strategies require you to seriously trust your partner and let go of control. This is something that is hard to do but you must do it. There are many reasons, and I personally think the most important reason is that you will never have a relationship where things are done for you willingly by your partner if you have a death grip on the control. If you partner feels like you think nothing he does is ever good enough, he will never do anything.
Tying into this, if you have something negative to say to your partner about what he is doing or saying, and it’s not actively concerning anyone’s safety or wellbeing, just STFU. As mentioned in tip 2, the strife that will follow is never worth the temporary enjoyment of “A-HA, I’m right and you’re wrong”.
Remember, absolute trust is one of the biggest hallmark of respect. I think most men value respect above all else.
4. Be loveable. Facilitate really easy wins for him. Make it easy and pleasant to make you happy. (i.e. get good at “receiving”)
There are two things I see woman in relationship do that make me die a little inside. Firstly, some are in the habit of never praising things their partner does right, and always criticising things their partner does wrong. Please do the literal opposite of this. Secondly, some like to criticise their partners, lightheartedly, for giving them expensive gifts. “Oh honey you shouldn’t have, this is too expensive!”, because they feel like they don’t deserve it. Although this is mostly benign, please try to avoid this as well. Instead, just express a lot of happiness and gratitude.
In my relationship, I made sure it was easy and pleasant to love me and treat me well. I beam at any small gesture and start gushing at anything big. I’m a naturally bubbly person so I understand if that’s not everyone’s style, but please express your version of happiness and gratitude and make his job of making you happy as pleasurable to do for him as possible. This is why I “get away” with doing so little around the house. The reward of doing something for me exceeds the reward of having something done.
A lot of people ask me how I get people, including my partner, to treat me so well. The answer is I make them feel really good about doing it. It’s that simple.
5. Do not get mad, get sad instead.
I try my absolute best to never get angry at my partner. Anger is a very hostile emotion and almost always trigger a hostile response back. Anger is also a defensive emotion, likely masking some sort of hurt or sadness underneath. Instead of getting mad, which always escalate a conflict, I try my best to get to the base emotion immediately.
For example, if I’m mad that he forgot to get me flowers even though I asked for them, I would instead realise that I actually feel hurt because I really wanted flowers and I’m scared that he didn’t get them because maybe he doesn’t care that much about me. Furthermore, I would realise I have this fear because I love him very much. When we have this conversation, I come to him extremely vulnerably instead of aggressively, and it always facilitate much better conversation and resolution.
(Another pro-tip is to proactively apologise when you are being unreasonable. The first time I did this, my husband was actually shocked as a woman apologising has never happened to him before.)
6. (NSFW Hot Take Warning) I don’t say no to sex, ever
If my partner wants to do something sexual, I am game 100% as long as it’s legal and hygienic. (TMI but I literally only say no to anal if I’m worried about hygiene. Otherwise, any time baby).
If this is not something you could do, that is 100% valid. I am not conservative or religious so I don’t view sex as something sacred, just something usually enjoyable, fun, and a way to express love. I also have a very high tolerance for sex while not in the mood. To me, it’s like most other couples activity. You can get into the mood for while doing it. A lot of men, my husband included, put a lot of value into sex. My husband goes with me to random date night activities he’s not super into all the time, so I view sex (on the rare occasion I’m not in the mood but he wants it) much the same way.
Also, regardless of how often you turn your partner down, I recommend getting good in bed and being enthusiastic. It’s a very important expression of love, so I personally want to do it right.
Bonus: get good at creating a pleasant atmosphere at home
Although I said I don’t do a lot of chores, I am actually a very good cook. 9 days out of 10 my husband comes home from work to something delicious smelling that he can eat immediately. You don’t have to pick cooking as what you do, or you could do it all (I’m just not nearly as good at everything else), but I do believe there is a lot of value and happiness to getting this right.
However, my mother was ran a beautiful household as a stay at home wife while I was growing up. The home was spotless and inviting, her food tasted better than mine, but none of that matters if you don’t provide the mental and emotional happiness and support first. She was an angry woman who berated my father at every turn and was not pleasant to return home to. I made sure I was not that before working on homemaking skills.
That concludes this very long post. I am really grateful to the community for my relationship and I really hope this helps.
Happy to answer any questions or give clarifications. Have a good day everyone!