A Breakdown of Relationships

Relationships can be complicated but the breakdown of their success is really quite simple.

Relationships built on mutual values and goals, work. Both parties feel a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. When there is no sense of shared values and goals, the individuals begin to feel disconnected and confused about their purpose which often leads to the relationship falling apart.

So how do you establish mutual values and goals?

Through clear communication that allows for give and take, enabling you to build the trust that every relationship needs.

Clear communication rules include:

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

Praise in public, criticize in private.

Don’t bully people into agreeing with you.

Respect the other’s opinion.

When we focus on the goals of the relationship as a whole, and they align with the goals of each individual that’s a party to the relationship, success inevitably follows.

Advertisements

I Hope You Find Someone Who Fills Your Heart…

“I hope you find someone who fills your heart and I hope you let them in. I hope you learn that you don’t have to achieve anything to be happy.”

This is a quote from the movie, Passengers and it’s stuck with me ever since I first heard it. So much so, that I actually wrote it on top of my calendar for the year 2017, in order that I could be reminded of it each day. And what a blessing that has been!

For a lot of us, this quote hits close to home. So let’s break it down.

How do you know when you’ve found someone who fills your heart?

So you’ve met someone new and you’re totally infatuated with that person. During the dating process, you often find yourself thinking, “If only I act just a bit more _____, we’ll be perfect.” Or “I just need to _____ less, and I know (s)he’ll be totally crazy for me.” If this rings true, he/she’s probably not the one who fills your heart.

Any time another person makes you feel as though you need to do or be anything more or less than what you already are, they’re not right for you. Plain and simple. It’s nothing personal and this can be a hard lesson to learn.

When you find the one who fills your heart, it’s easy. It’s natural. You feel safe and secure. Like nothing you could ever do or say would change things between you. Because (s)he knows your flaws. (S)He acknowledges them, then accepts, and even embraces them. (S)He pushes you to grow in your weak areas but (s)he never causes you to doubt her/his adoration for who you are, flawed and all. Not once do the earlier thoughts of, “I just need to do this, and all will be well,” cross your mind.

All that you are and all that you do is totally and completely enough for this person.

And he/she makes that known.

Now on to the next part of the quote, “…and I hope you let them in.”

For some of us, with a string of past relationship failures, when we find that someone who fills our heart, letting them in is often the most difficult part. “How can he/she love me when I act like ______?” “Why would he/she want to be with someone who _____?”

Thoughts of self doubt ring most true when we find someone who fills our heart. Because it’s hard to believe. We’ve met someone who accepts and adores us so purely and wholly. Someone who wants nothing from us but to receive their love. This kind of interaction is life changing and mind blowing. And it’s common to have a hard time believing in its possibility.

But it happens. So believe it when it does. And let that person in.

Which brings us to the final portion of this powerful quote.

“I hope you learn that you don’t have to achieve anything to be happy.”

That person we’ve described above is how you learn. Once you’ve let them in and embraced the love that they’re offering, you realize what life’s about. That you don’t need to acheive anything to be happy. That to love and be loved is enough. In fact, it’s our whole purpose.

Letting Go

Letting go of an ambiguous loss is often the most challenging and important task we face.

At some point in our lives, we all experience it. Someone important to us isn’t willing to talk. Maybe we need to talk, but the other person needs not to. The more history involved and the higher our expectations for that relationship, the more painful their silence.

Painful events happen to all us. But our real problems arise when we attach to that pain.

Often we have this fantasy that somehow by holding on to our anger, the other person will magically decide to apologize and/or come back. As long as we hold on to our anger, we hold on to our hope. Or so we think.

But while you’re sitting there ruminating, the person in question may very well be out having a wonderful day at the lake. The simple fact that you’re the only one suffering, should be your own best argument for letting go.

Negative attachment is still attachment.

Anger is often the glue that keeps us stuck, expressed as an ongoing obsession about “why” this person has wronged us. It’s human nature to want to understand behavior. But the fact is, it’s hard enough to understand our own, let alone somebody else’s. And we simply can’t force another person to talk to us or own up to “the truth” as we see it.

Sometimes we just have to let go.

A sad ending doesn’t negate the value of a relationship. And while it takes two people to form an intimate relationship, it only takes one to end it.

We have to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.

It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

My Top 10 Relationship Principles

I think it’s extremely important to have guiding principles in various areas of your life. Such principles keep you grounded and help you to see the bigger picture when it’s so much easier to get caught up in the small stuff. I decided to share with you my top 10 relationship principles. You can read them below. These relationship principles simply serve as grounding reference points in my day to day life. Also, one should note, they aren’t specific to romantic relationships. I try to implement these principles in all of my interactions, across a variety of relationships.

What are your relationship principles? Let me know in the comments section below!

  1. Be honest and direct in your communication. You’ll be amazed at how many problems you can avoid by being direct and honest in your communication.
  2. Show vulnerability. Don’t try to be perfect; it’s isolating.
  3. Be clear about what you need and ask for what you want. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t expect them to be.
  4. Be grateful. Appreciate how this person adds to your life. What if she/he were to disappear tomorrow?
  5. Remember that what the other person thinks, feels, and does isn’t any of your business. Your business is what you think, feel, and do as it pertains to him/her. 
  6. If there’s an elephant in the room, point it out. The sooner, the better.
  7. Keep your humor. Life’s not that serious.
  8. Listen more, talk less. Other people are our greatest teachers when we allow them to be. We weren’t given two ears and one mouth for nothing!
  9. Prioritize the relationship needs over your own. Don’t forget that there are three parties to every relationship. You, the other person, and the relationship itself!
  10. BE PRESENT! Probably the most important one of all. How can you experience the joy of true connection if your mind, body, and/or spirit is elsewhere?

10 Ways That Happy Couples Argue Differently

Every couple argues. The difference between a happy couple and an unhappy couple is the way in which they argue. In fact, according to Relationship Expert John Gottman, the single strongest predictor of whether or not a relationship will succeed or fail lies in the way the couple deals with conflict (Gottman, John Mordechai, and Nan Silver. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Crown, 1999 Print). Thus, in order to grow and be successful in our relationships, we must adopt healthy coping strategies for the difficulties that exist in them. Compatibility is not always key, but dealing with incompatibility is. Here I list 10 ways that happy couples argue differently.

  1. Commit to dealing with the problem. Often it can be easiest to run from conflict, especially if you’re a conflict avoidant person. But remember, this isn’t about you or whether or not you feel like dealing with the problem. It’s about what your relationship needs; so put those needs ahead of your own. Both partners must be fully committed to tackling their problems because running from conflict, won’t make it go away.
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. You have to remember that your partner is on your team. Always support one another, even when you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t take your frustrations out on the other person. Keep your focus on the problem and attack it together. When it comes to relationships and being right, always choose your relationship over being right.
  3. Practice intentional listening. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Even if you don’t understand where they are coming from, you can still respect it. Intentional listening means devoting your entire self towards the other. Turning your body towards them, looking them in the eyes, turning off the TV, and putting away your phone. These are all characteristics of intentional listening, which will ease the defensive barriers between you. It demonstrates that you actually want to hear what your partner has to say and breeds the sort of supportive environment that’s necessary for conflict resolution.
  4. Encourage honesty and transparency in communication. You can’t bite your partner’s head off for voicing their opinion and then expect them to continue to be honest with you about their feelings. Both verbally and behaviorally, encourage them to be honest and transparent with you. You do this by making them feel safe, with your words and actions. By letting them know, I will love you anyway.
  5. Get all of the facts. Nothing can be more damaging than jumping to conclusions without first getting all of the facts. Don’t waste your time or energy attacking the wrong problem. And before you go searching for a solution, make sure a problem actually exists. Check and double-check your facts.
  6. List all of the options. Approach your relationship problem just as you would one at work – objectively. Make a list of what your options are. This helps to keep emotions in check, personal bias out of the equation, and keeps your focus centered on the solution. While it might feel a bit silly, it’s never harmful to form a list of your options. It helps to clarify that the two of you are on the same page and demonstrates your commitment to finding a solution.
  7. Choose the best solution together. As you begin to decide on a solution, remember that you’re a team. Tackle this problem together; the two of you vs. it. Prioritize your relationship over being right and strategically choose a solution that benefits you both.
  8. Look for the positives. It can be easy in an argument to start focusing on the negative. Choose instead to look for positives. What can you learn from this situation? How can you grow from this conflict? In every challenge, there’s an opportunity. Find it.
  9. Let the other person save face. Even if you are right and your partner is dead wrong, you only destroy ego by causing another to lose face. You have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. After all, what matters most is not what you think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Always preserve the dignity of others. In an argument, always let the other person save face.
  10. Never withhold love. No matter how bad things get, never withhold love from your partner. Of course, you can tell them how you feel and express yourself, but make sure your love underlies it all. Love is the single most powerful change agent on the planet. So if you want to make some changes in your relationship, you’d be wise to never withhold it.

A Short Course in Human Relations

A Short Course in Human Relations (From Relationships 101 by John C. Maxwell)

 

The least important word: I

The most important word: We

The two most important words: Thank You.

The three most important words: All is forgiven.

The four most important words: What is your opinion?

The five most important words: You did a good job.

The six most important words: I want to understand you better.

Conversation with God on Dating

You must approach dating with a pure heart, as that is my heart. Do not lust after your brother or sister, because then you are not approaching him/her motive-free.

Think of how you came to know and love me. It is because I first loved you. For no reason. With no motives. And so you accepted my love. And then returned it.

Dear one, this is how you all are wired. If you play the world’s love game, you will surely lose. You are on my team, the winning team, and if you play by my rules, you will always be victorious.

For men: The Do’s and Don’ts of a First Date

http://theurbandater.com/for-men/dos-donts-first-date.php/

Relationships are like Plants

Relationships are like plants. If you get a new one and water it too much, too soon… you kill it. Take it slow. 🙂

plant

You Can’t Hurry Love

“Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don’t have.” – John Ortberg

Just like you can’t hurry love, you can’t love when you’re in a hurry.