Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy & Healthy Relationships Bear No Secrets!

Relationships come and relationships go. However, if you want your relationships to not only come, but you also want them to stay, you must recognize the importance of engaging in happy, positive, and healthy relationships from the onset. It is important to remember that the way you start your relationships will determine the direction as well as the destiny of your relationships.

I am sure that on many occasions you have sought that one man or woman who could ‘make you happy.’ In reality, no one can ‘make you happy!!’  Happiness is an internal state. And if you are not already equipped with internal happiness (which we are all afforded), you will not find happiness or discover happiness in anyone or anything outside of yourself. If you want happiness in your relationships, bring it with you when you enter into your relationships; don’t go looking for it…you will probably be disappointed!

One thing you must recognize is that those engaged in happy and healthy relationships have no secrets.  The secrets of happy and healthy relationships only exist for those who don’t have happy and healthy relationships; those who don’t know how to have happy and healthy relationships; those who have never had happy and healthy relationships, and those who are not in a relationship at all!

You CAN have happy and healthy relationships! And if the keys to having happy and healthy relationships are a secret, it means that you are probably not engaged in a relationship that is happy or healthy. As a matter of fact, you are probably engaged in a situation and not a relationship! The reality is that happy and healthy relationships have no secrets!!!

If you are currently involved in a happy and healthy relationship, you will be able to identify with the ‘ingredients’ of happy and healthy relationships (and not so much the ‘secrets’) listed below. And if you find yourself involved in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship (a situation), or if you are not in a relationship at all, it is hoped that you will find the ‘ingredients’ of happy and healthy relationships helpful for you in developing, engaging in, and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.

Ingredients for Happy & Healthy Relationships—They are Not Secrets

  • You must define what happiness is for you.  Too often, what makes one partner in a relationship happy might be different for the other partner.  You and your partner should have a conversation about your individual needs and expectations for happiness and healthiness in your relationship.
  • You must bring your own internal happiness to the relationship.  Too often, you and your partner are looking for each other to make you happy.  No one can make you happy!  Happiness is an internal state.  If you depend on external things and people (including your partner) to make you happy, you will engage in a dependency that is controlled by others and external things.  If your happiness is predicated on others and external things, when someone doesn’t fit your expectations or when they leave and those external things no longer exist, your happiness will no longer exist!
  • You and your partner must at least be in the same book and the same chapter with each other, even if the two of you are not on the same page.  You and your partner must have the same vision, the same or similar expectations of and for each other, as well as of and for the relationship.
  • You and your partner must have a relationship agenda.  This agenda must include short-term and long-term relationship goals, as well as documentation of how your individual goals, aspirations and expectations will fit with your couple’s goals, aspirations, and expectations.  You must also engage in clarification of your individual roles.
  • And if you never totally understand everything about your partner, there must be mutual respect and positive regard for each other.
  • You must have a sense of humor.  Learn to live and learn to laugh…VERYDAY!  Too often, one or both of you in the relationship tend to take life too seriously.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!!
  • You must get to know each other better.  What is it that makes each of you tick, and what is it that will tick each of off?  By paying attention to each other and observing the behaviors as well as the likes and dislikes of each other, you will get to know each other better.
  • Take time each and EVERY DAY to touch each other. A kiss and/or a hug in the morning and at night can work wonders! You can also touch each other with a positive phone call, a sweet text message or email.
  • Stop trying to change each other!  You were attracted to each other based on some positive characteristic(s) that you felt you just couldn’t live without.  Accept your partner for who he/she is. And if you can’t accept him/her, GET OUT OF THE SITUATION!!!!  Your partner and your relationship should be an asset, not a liability!
  • Find other ways to be intimate with your partner. Take showers together.  Lovemaking is more than having sexual intercourse.  You can have fun and enjoy each other, and enjoy the bodies of each other in the shower. Engage in intellectual intimacy, spiritual intimacy, social, and other forms of intimacy to keep the fire burning.
  • Don’t be selfish; share your time, talents, and other positive characteristics with your partner. 
  • You must remember that the same thing it took to get your partner, you must keep doing the same thing to keep him/her. And don’t be afraid to give more! A fifty-fifty relationship is a mere fallacy. Why are you counting in the first place?!?
  • Chivalry is not dead; she still likes and needs to have her chair pulled out and doors opened for her.  He still likes to see you with sexy negligee’ at night, not in your grandmother’s flannel gown.  Take the rollers out and let your hair down!  Let the fire burn!!!
  • Don’t be afraid to do something special for each other. He still likes for you to surprise him with his special meal, a nice greeting card, a special gift, a special night out, and just quality time with him…without nagging!
  • You and your partner should have a date night that nothing or anyone on the outside will get in the way of that night occurring. It should be an agreed upon day each week.
  • And you should be willing to share in social and other interests with each other. If she is willing to watch sports with you (Sunday and Monday night football games), you should be willing to watch Scandal with her!!
  • Pack a picnic basket and find a nice spot to go on a picnic.  Both of you can prepare the picnic items together. The more time you spend together, the happier you will be as a couple.
  • On the other hand, you each need to have a day for yourself.  Happiness starts with you and ends with you.  You must have and take time to rejuvenate alone, so that you will have more quality time with each other.
  • COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!  Communication not only entails talking, it also entails listening.  Learn to listen to each other and to respect each other as the other speaks.  You don’t have to have the last word; it is important to share your words!  Also, remember to watch your body language when spending time with your partner. Your relationship is a  collaboration, not a competition!
  • Remember to compliment each other on a daily basis, and remember that you are together to complement each other, not compete against each other.  You are not in a race against each other.  It is important to remember that you should be in a win/win relationship. Not a win/lose situation.  If one of you loses, both of you lose.  On the other hand, if one of you wins, both of you win.
  • Engage in periodic relationship checkups. Sit and talk about the positive aspects of your relationship.  Look at the negative aspects, but don’t become consumed by them.  Find ways to use the positive aspects of your relationship to overcome the negative aspects.
  • You must practice forgiving and forgetting; but also remembering that saying “I am sorry” or receiving an apology does not mean that you are given a key to commit the same negative behaviors over and over again!
  • If you both have taken an oath of and for happiness in your relationship, you will work hard to maintain that happy and healthy relationship!  Write down your individual and couples relationship oaths, and both of you sign the contract. Post them in a visible place as a reminder of your inner happiness that you vowed to share with each other!
  • And if you don’t seem to be able to hold it together yourselves, don’t be afraid to engage the services of a professional psychotherapist, marriage & family therapist, or other mental health professional, who possesses skills in working with individuals and couples.

There is only one time around in life; and no one has ever come back to tell you what it’s like after they left!  Life has no eraser and there is no rewind button. Therefore, each relationship you engage in should be filled with happiness, healthiness, and wholeness!  GO FOR THE GUSTO!!!