Not only do we celebrate Father’s Day during the month of June, June has also been recognized as the month for marital bliss to take place. For decades, June has been touted as the month when many men decide that it is time for them to surrender their player card and exit the player club, by finally committing to a long-lasting relationship…WITH ONE PERSON!!
I am sure when many of you consider engaging in relationships, you are probably looking for that special one that will stand the test of time. The problem is, how often do you stop and consider all of the hard work that is necessary for you to find and engage in healthy, positive, and long-lasting relationships? Also, how often have you stopped to consider the hard work it takes to maintain and retain these relationships once you find them?
It is very easy to engage in a situation of convenience with someone else, for the short term, but it is an entirely different story when you embark upon a committed relationship that you desire for the long haul. Many of you are probably looking for that relationship that will last for a lifetime, when you are only putting forth behaviors that will bring you situations for the short term. If you would truly like to have healthy and positive relationships that will last for the long haul, you must understand and put forth actions that will ensure the type of relationships you desire. These types of relationships don’t just happen; they are built, and they must be built on a solid foundation!! However, if you want them to last, you must also maintain that solid foundation!
It is imperative that you recognize, and understand that the way you start your relationship will determine how the relationship will continue…if it continues at all. Anything worth having is truly worth working hard for; a healthy, positive relationships should be no exception! When you have the right and proper ingredients and you are willing to invest them in your relationships from the onset, you determine how your relationships will continue, if at all, as well as their longevity.
As a matter of fact, if you and your mate are willing to invest in the characteristics necessary for your relationship to flourish and last, you will come to recognize that your investment in your relationship is also an investment in you and in each other. In other words, your relationship investments are sure to yield you positive and healthy returns; not just for the time at hand, but for a lifetime! What you put into your relationship is what you will get out of it…get ready for a hefty return for a lifetime!!
“Twelve Characteristics Needed to Build Lasting Relationships”
You must have a relationship:
1. That has God as the head and at the helm-It’s important that you recognize that you are not in control of anything in your life. You must be willing to surrender you and your relationship to a higher power and trust that this power (I call God) knows what’s best for you. By having a greater power lead and guide your relationship, it allows you to do the right things for you and your relationship on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, this greater power provides a protective covering for you an your relationship.
2. That starts out at least in the same chapter of the same book-You and your mate must have many things in common and be able to relate at the same level. You must at least share some of the same beliefs, values, goals, attitudes, as well as spiritual and other aspirations. Some might call this being ‘evenly yoked.’ You must also be willing to work closely with your mate to move from the same chapter to the same page, in the same book.
3. That allows both of you to be yourself while committed to the relationship: This freedom to be you doesn’t allow either of you to rape the other of your beliefs, your ideas, your dreams, your hopes, and your feelings. It is important that you and your mate respect each other enough to allow each to be him/herself, without trying to change each other or to parent each other. Anyhow, PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE!
4. That has an agenda (not a selfish one, but a couple’s agenda)-It is important for you and your mate to have a relationship agenda. The same way you develop a work agenda each day, week, or month, you must have a relationship agenda that encompasses relationship expectations, individual and couple’s goals, as well as timelines. This agenda should encompass both of your individual and couple’s aspirations for the relationship, including children, finances, worshipping, fun, travel, work, weekly dating, etc.
5. Where you bring your own happiness & share it with each other…NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU AHPPY!! You must have a modicum of internal happiness that you use to not only sustain you, but to also share with your mate. You must realize that you can enhance your mate’s happiness, nut not try to give or make him/her happy. If you or your mate don’t recognize your inner happiness, with which each of us is endowed, there will probably be feelings of neediness, low self-esteem, fears of rejection, sadness, depression, control, anxiety, fears of loneliness, isolation, etc., that could jeopardize the stability, sustainability, and longevity of your relationship.
6. That is built on honesty-There is no such thing as a “small white lie!” A lie is a lie, is a lie, and once you start telling a lie, you must tell another to cover the one you previously told. To exhibit honesty is for you to show your mate respect. It is a sign of transparency on all sides and allows your mate to see you as a human being; someone who can and will make mistakes, but not tell lies. Your honesty indicates your love and trust for your mate.
7. That is built on trust-Trust is earned, not given. The honesty that you share and display will most certainly forge the trust you will gain from your mate and vice versa. If you can’t be trusted, you won’t be respected. Like respect, once lost, trust is very difficult to recover, but essential for your relationship to last.
8. That is embedded with respect-Like trust, respect is earned and not given. You must exude a great level of trust through your words, works, deeds, and actions, in order to be respected. You must be a woman/man of your word and stand for something or you will fall for anything. Your character and overall being determines your level of respect. Like trust, once lost, respect is difficult to recover, but essential for the longevity of your relationship.
9. That is built on selflessness (Give & Take; (60/40, 80/20…) SHARING & CARING-Men, because society, your mother, and many other women have allowed you to build your life on selfishness from the time of your youth, you cannot carry this characteristic into a relationship you hope to become or continue to be a long-lasting relationship. You must become selfless. Sometimes it’s not all about you and what you want; it’s about others. It means compromising and putting your ego aside. Women, being selfless in your relationship does not mean you become a doormat, doorknob, light switch, or invisible entity. It is caring and sharing with clear and succinct boundaries; it is positively reciprocating what you give and what you get. It is sometimes genuinely putting your mate first and taking a back seat. Either way, being selfless means taking care of yourself while sharing your total self with your mate, unconditionally. However, it DOES NOT mean reckless abandonment of you!!!
10. That bands blame, but reveres accountability & responsibility—Your positive, healthy, and lasting relationship must be blame-free. Blaming is a form of shaming, and that’s not the fiber or base on which you want your relationship to be built. There is nothing wrong with falling, faltering, or failing; the problem is when you don’t get back up and take responsibility for the errors of your ways. It is admitting you made a mistake, taking responsibility and being accountable for your mistakes and your behaviors. It’s not only accepting responsibility and being accountable for your behaviors, it is atoning to your mate for your behaviors and developing a plan of action that will allow you to not repeat the same actions and/or behaviors. And if you cannot take on the full level of accountability and responsibility, here is the time for you to engage in psychotherapy with a mental health professional. If you are not willing to exit the blaming cycle and become accountable and take responsible for your behaviors, you will engage in self-destructive and relationship-destructive behaviors, guaranteed to stop your relationship building process!
11. That is filled with forgiveness-Yes, I know; it is hard to forgive when your mate has trampled on you, emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, and financially. It does hurt to the core. However, to engage in and maintain a positive, healthy, and long-lasting relationship, you must learn to forgive. Forgiveness starts with forgiving you, allowing you to forgive others. Forgiving does not mean accepting the behavior(s) and/or actions, but it does mean accepting your mate with his/her flaws, mistakes, and other seemingly egregious behaviors. It is releasing your mate from the behaviors and/or actions that he/she has agreed to no longer engage. And remember, it is incumbent of you to forgive, but it is also incumbent of your mate to make atonement and cure the wrong committed. It is important that through forgiveness, you don’t engage in enabling and denial, which are behaviors that will not only stagnate the growth of your relationship; but will also sabotage your relationship and diminish your very being.
12. That maintains the fire of love that your relationship was founded on…keep putting logs on the fire-Remember, the same thing it took to get your mate, it will take the same thing to keep him/her. It is imperative that you don’t try to renege on your promises, your vows, and your commitment to your mate. You must not only continue to invest in your relationship and your mate as you did in order to reel him/her in, you must take your investment up another notch. As you grow and get better, your relationship should grow and get better. There are several areas that are imperative for you to maintain, retrain, and entertain on a daily basis, in order to ensure that your relationship lasts for the long haul.
a. Keeping up your outer appearance
b. Maintaining your high self-esteem
c. Recognizing that chivalry is not dead
d. Engaging in giving daily positive compliments & daily positive conversations
e. Engaging in daily loving physical and emotional touches
f. Engaging your regular weekly dates (designated the same day of each week)
g. Recognizing your King & Queen status, both privately and publicly
h. Showing off each other; not going off on each other, both privately and publicly
i. Engaging in love making, not sex. You can have sex with anybody, but you make love to and with your mate everyday…mind, body & spirit!!
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