Assuming you want a healthy relationship, what does that entail? How do you get there? How do you keep it going?
Three aspects seem to underlie all the reading I’ve done for this series of posts. Intimacy, Respect, and Communication. Now, that reads “IRC,” but think of that acronym as a mnemonic that will get you the opposite result.
Also remember that at the heart, the core of any healthy relationship is trust. Attending to intimacy, respect, and communication builds foundational trust. If you can’t trust your partner, the sex can be good, but it won’t be enough to keep you together. But that is typically the first to go.
Consciously attend to your relationships in these three areas, and I can almost guarantee a positive outcome because of the trust built. Relational vigilance is required. Don’t take anyone for granted just because you’ve been in the relationship a while. Familiarity should breed respect, not contempt, or worse, boredom.
Remember that intimacy isn’t restricted to sex. Intimacy is that deep sharing of goals, values, hopes, fears, joys, and concerns. Date night has become a throwaway. “Oh, we’re going to the movie for a date night.”
Think back to the early days of your romance. Date nights were the opportunity to learn about one another. Keep that goal throughout your time together. Sure, go to a movie, but plan to have a dinner (or dessert) before or after to talk. Talk with a capital T. This is your time without distractions to discuss issues. Go deep. Tell one another what is special about the other. Share a story from before you met you haven’t told before. Get away from talking about the kids and work, and instead focus on your shared goals, short- and long-term.
Do the small things that say, “I love you,” without saying the words. If heesh always scratches your head before you go to sleep, tell shim it’s shis turn. Put little notes where heesh’ll find them unexpectedly. Do a task the other person normally does, like the dishes or taking out the trash. Buy a tiny gift that has meaning for the two of you, like earplugs because you snore.
Oh, yeah, and as to sex? Do it. Often. And vigorously. And enthusiastically. Each partner should initiate the contact.
You can’t respect others unless you respect yourself. A good sense of self is important in healthy relationships. And showing not telling, as is the mantra in writing, is more powerful than saying, “Of course I respect you.”
Respectful couples don’t denigrate one another in public or private. Respectful couples encourage the goals and achievements of their partners, but they are there to give support needed when things don’t work out. They never say, “I told you so.”
By the same token, respectful couples value the achievements of the partner and proudly let others know of the accomplishments. They never try to downplay achievements.
Respectful couples honor the ways in which each is different as well as alike. They urge on exploration of separate interests. They celebrate their diversity for the new perspectives they bring to shared experiences.
Respectful couples pay attention so they know what the partner needs in situations and they act on their insights.
Is there anything new to be said on this topic? We all know how important clear and frequent communication is. And we all know the trope that “ Men are from Mars, . . . “ blah blah.
There is truth to be found here even if the message is an old one.
Assumptions make an ass out of you and me. Remember that one? Tell shim what you want, what you feel, what you think. Mindreading has never been a reliable source of information.
“He ought to know.” “She’s seen me do it a hundred times.” Umm. Right. But heesh doesn’t know, right? So just say the words, respectfully, of course, to get your thoughts, wishes, hopes, fears across to your significant other. You’ll both be happier when the message is clearly sent and received.
Of course, for us writers, building story lines around trust, intimacy, respect, and communication is what we’re all about, both successful and unsuccessful relationships.
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Facebook: What are the four components to create and maintain a healthy relationship? Writers use them all the time as major book themes. See if you agree with Sharon Arthur Moore that these are the four. http://bit.ly/2BEC94a
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