Here's a great article about what good relationships have that not-great relationships don't have. What do you see is missing in yours?
One of the things I am quite frank about is the fact that I have had my share of screw ups in the relationship department.
If there was a mistake to make, I made it. If there was something I was told I shouldn’t/couldn’t do, I did it. And I suffered a great many heartaches because of it.
I began to correlate drama and dysfunction with love and romance and nothing could be further from the truth.
Part of why I consider being a relationship specialist my calling and why I am so dang good at it is because I have been there, done that and burned the t-shirt. This includes the hard work on my relationship with love to get to where I am today.
Where am I today? Married to the man of my dreams after a long road of off and on, long distance dating with two kids and another currently taking residence (and causing me to waddle rather ungracefully around the house) in my womb.
Here is what I have discovered those in healthy relationships do differently:
1. The past cannot be erased.
Many people will tell us that we must release the past or leave the past behind us. While that is a novel idea, it’s complete and utter B.S. We will never forget or release the past, and why should we? It brought us here.
Everything we have encountered, whether good or bad, was a learning experience designed to aid our evolution. People in healthy relationships haven’t suddenly forgotten or “released” their wounds, they have transformed them. They have learned to honor their past and all it entailed as necessary steps to take in the ladder to their personal evolution.
They bring with them the appreciation for each moment and respect for where they have come from and what they have gone through into their current relationship. It adds a richness and depth that would otherwise be lacking if we truly had an ability to push a button and drop our pasts down the chute.
2. Honesty Counts.
And, honestly, this has been the hardest part for me. As a rather independent woman who made her own money and did her own thing for so many years, it became difficult to imagine that suddenly I was supposed to share where every penny went or had to tell my partner where I was going.
My rebellious nature would kick in and “it’s none of your damn business where I’m going” flew from my mouth more than a few times. This, however, does not a healthy relationship make.
While I was playing secret squirrel, my husband was telling me about where the money he made went, into what savings, toward what household project. If he was leaving he would say where he was headed and approximately what time he would be home. It wasn’t done with the feeling that he needed to, but the feeling that it was therespectful thing to do. I took note.
When we are in a healthy partnership, it’s time to open up about these things. Whether it’s where we are headed on a Saturday afternoon or just how many new pairs of shoes we bought as we try to stuff the evidence in the closet.
It took me a long time to realize that I needn’t view it from an adolescent-like perspective and fear that someone was encroaching on my space. We can still be independent and open—those in healthy relationships get that.
3. Separate but together.
People who enjoy reasonable health and sanity in their relationships get that a relationship cannot be that which makes their lives full but rather an addition to their already full life. So many, and yes I am looking at my ladies here, find someone they are interested in and suddenly drop their friends like hotcakes and start to devote their every waking moment to their new paramour. Then when the relationship starts to die a slow death due to a lack of space, their entire world falls apart.
When we are in a functional and healthy relationship, there is an understanding that we each must have our own goals and passions. We should have time away for ourselves to explore our own interests. Nothing is sexier than a man or woman who is passionate and capable of holding their own.
Healthy doesn’t mean problem-free by any stretch of the imagination; my husband and I clear the emotional pipes from time to time with a good ol’ spat. But, thankfully, we have learned a few healthy habits that allows us to do so in a fashion that doesn’t undermine the integrity of the relationship.
What can you do to incorporate more of these into your relationship?