Thursday, December 25, 2008

Creating a Long Term Successful relationship

Creating a Successful Long Term Relationship

The average marriage lasts 6.8 years. Makes you wonder about the “seven year itch” Marilyn Monroe spoke of. Historically most couples stayed together for financial reasons. Today, financial support will not hold relationships together. Emotional support is required for a lasting and successful marriage.

What is emotional support? It is the love bond that exists between two who want to join their separateness into one. It is the ability to communicate feelings. It is the quality of friendship that must exist in a marriage if it is to survive the challenges of stressful life.

When a relationship begins to turn sour, inevitably most people blame their partner. Being right and making the other wrong holds more value than love, peace and harmony. The ego reins, and love begins to die. Mature individuals resist the temptation to blame and make the other evil. Watching grown adults fight like children in kindergarten may be understandable, but it doesn’t create soul. Mature and loving people face their inevitable challenges with dignity and grace and resist the temptation to throw insults at each other like children in a sandbox.

What to do when your relationship is faced with challenge. First and foremost, accept the reality that a wonderful relationship isn’t just destined, it is also hard work. To believe that relationship is effortless is to believe in magical thinking. Children use magical thinking as fantasy to avoid responsibility and work. Grown adults too often revert to such childish behavior when they give up when the going gets tough. No relationship is always easy. Just as a beautiful rose garden is created by a dedicated gardener, so a beautiful relationship is weeded, watered, and fertilized by the couple who treasure what they have. It may be tempting to see a beautiful cultivated area and magically believe it “just happened” but I can promise you, some dedicated gardener has spent countless hours caring for the elegance that you are beholding.

Beyond accepting that all wonderful relationships require work and effort, it is also important to engage each other using your differences as strength, not weakness. Too often, people see differences as difficult, rather than understanding that difference is healthy. If we were all the same, we would never grow. It is in our differences that we are challenged and created. Sameness is boredom and death. Difference is aliveness and creation.
Finally, a successful long term relationship understands the value of patience. Good things happen to those who wait. It is in the waiting that growth occurs and love deepens. Impatience is short sighted. Patience is at the heart of longevity.

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