If you consider the metaphor that a relationship is a "game" and the people involved are the "team" it will be much easier to develop good, loving relationships. Realize that teammates ought to be playing by the same rules. Games are defined by parameters or rules. It is important that all players know and understand the "rules".
The rules for any relationship must be created together and not decided by other peoples rules or games. it is really important we create and play our own game. Many of us get caught up in playing other people's games like those of our parents, friends, family or neighbor's. Every relationship needs their own game and their own rules no matter what "others" are doing.
The rules of each couples' game should be based on their values, principles, and goals. As the relationship changes and grows then too the parameters of the game can be changed or redefined. These changes must be done together to accommodate the growth.
The following is taken from the book Tantra by Charles and Caroline Muir.
No matter what work you do as a couple, collaboration is the cornerstone of a good relationship because it endows the partnership with the unique productive quality that comes from working together. Working together on a project or at a job is symbolic of working on the relationship - paying attention to it, and in so doing, paying it homage. As you work together as a team, whether on mundane chores or an inspired creative endeavor, you are also working together toward the goal of harmony. Teammates help each other out for the sake of harmony. Where on is weak, the other provides strength. The couple covers for one another, supports one another. they are teammates; that are pals. They build each other up, they never put each other down - they know that to hurt one's partner is to hurt oneself.
This is an important lesson to assimilate and put into practice. But it's not always easy, especially when your partner has done or said something you consider hurtful, and which seems to demonstrate a confused mind, or unconsciousness, or simple thoughtlessness. We need to develop a method of speech, a way of talking to one another - even in adversity - without blame.
When you are hurt, or angry, or insecure, you need to communicate your feelings to your partner but you need to watch your words in doing so. You need to avoid blaming your partner for your own feelings. See Express and Own Your Feelings. Bad feelings that aren't aired can become infectious in a relationship.
Watching one's language with a close partner, however, is not an easy thing to do. Somehow it's easier to be careful about what we say when we're among strangers that it is when we're with the person we love. Somehow we believe that one of the comforts of the close partnership is not having to watch every word. And while the tantric doctrines don't say "watch every word" precisely, they do ay that you must be conscious of your method of communication and conscious of how your words may be interpreted. This is especially important for couples, because intimates not only know how to give one another pleasure, they also know how to inflict pain. Admittedly, painful remarks are most often made "unconsciously", like a Freudian slip, but they are no less potent, no less destructive than if they had been spoken with malice aforethought.
Lets' face it, no matter how good our intentions, no matter how hard we try, disharmony occurs. We are influenced by things outside of us as well as inside - we are human. We get out of sync with our partner. We get angry, hurt, hassled. Sometimes we get bored. Disharmony in and of itself is no a bad thing. In fact, the tantric books consider the occurrence of disharmony an important part of a relationship, and necessary for its growth and health. The partners are, after all, inherently opposite, and they are both complex beings, with personal conflicts and individual contradictions and uncertainties. On top of that they are both in a constant state of change, of growth and evolution; who they are today may be different from, possibly even the opposite of, who they were and who they may become. There really is no one to blame for disharmony when it occurs, and without it our notion of its opposite would pale. But since love languishes in disharmony, the couple, devoted to their love, should take immediate steps to change the atmosphere and restore harmony.
The tantric lesson on the subject of conflict in a relationship uses the metaphor of an archer whose arrow will move forward only if he pulls back against his bow. It is the contraction (or when we talk about a couple, their contraction, their pulling away from each other in opposition) and the subsequent release of tension that propels the arrow (and the couple) on a forward-moving path.
A master archer will let go of his arrow as soon as his contraction is complete and his aim is taken. In the same way a couple should know that to hold onto contraction or disharmony beyond a certain point expends needless energy and strains both partners to no advantage. A couple should be committed to "letting go" as soon as possible. As long as the partners continue their argument, engaging in a verbal expression of opposition, they will not effect a cure, solve the problem or restore peace. In fact, nothing will be accomplished until someone "lets go".
Research has shown that most arguments or disagreements stem from and escalate out of the fact that one partner is communicating logically, the other emotionally. When a couple speaks tow different languages; neither can "get" what the other is trying to say. As long as couples speak from these two disparate frames of reference, they cannot reach agreement. The logical partner will remain certain about the "rightness" of his or her convictions, because they make perfect sense. The emotional partner will continue in his or her position because the truth of feelings cannot be denied.
In this kind of contraction, where emotion and logic are at odds, it serves nothing for the rational person to attempt to explain anything rationally. the emotional person doesn't need to be at this moment - in fact, can't be convinced, because that requires a logical mind and for now the emotional mind is in charge. The emotional partner wants only to be heard, held and love, and only wants harmony restored. Whichever partner first becomes award that they are speaking different languages then it is up to them to become the master archer and "let go". That person can say something like, "Listen we're not connection", or "We're no in harmony. I don't think we can solve this by talking any more. We can finish this discussion later when we're not so upset." Then agree to talk things over when you are not under the influence of anger or hurt.
Try the "no-fault language" ritual. In this verbal recitation of love and forgiveness, both partners express sorrow for their part in the disagreement, and affirm their love and their desire to restore harmony. The each partner forgives the other for his or her part in the argument. This may seem contrived, but ritual is a contrivance that c9mmunicates on a much deeper level than the actual words do. In this ritual the partners are acknowledging that their disagreement belongs to both of them, that each owns a part of it, and that love and forgiveness and mutual harmony have the strength to quiet and calm it.