Sunday, May 20, 2018

What Makes for a Rockin Relationship?

And when I say "Rocking Relationship," I mean healthy, generally really happy, a mutually satisfying, solid connection between two people.

(Important note:  While the article I am writing is primarily geared towards romantic relationships, much, if not all of this can apply to many other types of relationships with people in our lives).

(Other important note: each relationship between two people is very often a combination of both healthy behaviors/thought processes, as well as a few unhealthy ones.  I just read that very tidbit on an informational about relationships, and its one I agree with. 

This is because each and every one of us has both good and bad inside.  Each and every one of us can be healthy, as well as unhealthy at times.  All of us have great qualities/thought processes, as well as a few we are ever needing to work on and grow from.  This is not to say that a person should remain with a partner who is distinctly unhealthy, with a lot of problems or behaviors that cause damage to the relationship.  This is not to say you should remain with someone who doesnt have their life together, who behaves badly, or whose values are distinctly against your own.  Not at all.  

Instead, I point out the aspect that "each relationship between two people is very often a combination of both healthy behaviors, as well as some unhealthy ones," because this will help one not to see their relationship as so black and white.  Such as, if your partner makes a mistake, or has a bad moment, or struggles with one particular thing which isn't the healthiest, though it doesnt cause damage to your relationship, within these examples, this can still likely be a person worth staying with. 

That all of us have some "bad" or unhealthy things in us that are needed to be worked on.  And that as long as each person is actively doing so (that's the important distinction here), actively pursuing growth and improvement, that this is a potentially promising thing.  And that good relationships, those worth keeping around, are the ones that are healthy the majority of the time.  Those that are good and happy the vast majority of the time.  And those in which both people are blatantly pursuing growth and emotional health).

Now, without further ado, read on with regards to what makes for a rockin relationship!!

Sure, you don’t have to tell your partner every single thing/thought/feeling/occurrence in your life.  Everyone has some things that are just their own.  This is healthy, good, and normal. 

In general though, you should confide in and converse openly with your partner much, if not most of the time.  There should not be things you hide from them, which you know would be damning if they were to know.  And sadly, Ive heard of many couples who don’t tell their partner a wide berth of things, out of fear of their partners reaction or because they feel certain that their partner “wouldn’t understand.”  If this is the case, its likely there is something about the union that is a bit off.  Lacking in the full depth or openness it could have. 

Though also, PS. withholding information and truth from someone you love simply out of fearing them not liking it?  Not a reason to avoid honesty.  Sometimes we will do things that will piss off the people we love.  This is normal, its part of human relationships.  Not a reason to dodge disclosure.  If anything, that is cowardly and will prevent being as close with this person as you could be.  Know that sometimes, you might choose to tell them something that, in the nature of being honest, will upset them.  This is ok.  People who love each other and are close sometimes get pissed at each other.  They will not always like everything the other person does.  In fact, sometimes they will even be hurt by it.  This is part of close relationships.

However, being forthcoming and brave is one of the best ways to maintain and continue growing emotional closeness with someone you love, as well as to problem solve together and work through it.

Sounds like a no brainer.  Shockingly enough though, there are LOADS of people out there, married or in long term committed partnerships (or, in shorterm ones too) who just aren’t that nice to their partner much of the time.  Who take advantage of their partner, talk down to them, are dismissive or disrespectful to their partner, are impatient or rude.  You name it. 

Of course, everyone has an occasional shitty moment.  But far too often, people write off frequent mistakes or mess ups as being “rare,” when really, they are occurring often (read: not occasional).  Kindness is of upmost importance for rockin relationships.

Yup.  This goes for each person individually, as well as relationships too. 
Ive witnessed a handful of relationships that kind of seem to just float along from day to day.  They've plateaued.  Rarely, if ever, challenging one another.  Both people living pretty routine existences.  The two of them not really seeking new opportunities nor learning, both personally, and as a couple.  They eat at the same places, do the same things day in and day out.  Their conversations have grown dull.  Assuming they already know all there is to know about this person (which is of course, always incorrect).  Their sex life is stale and uninspired.
These relationships?  These relationships are mediocre at best.  Kind of just puttering along, day after day, until one person grows so stifled, disinterested and resentful, that the relationship dies.  Often in these kinds of connections, the love sort of just sputters out.  There is nothing sparking it, giving the love cause to flourish and continue swirling ever upwards.  There is no draw (other than comfort and routine, a safety in their shared history- which is not a reason in and of itself to remain with someone) nor much real resonating power between these two people any longer. 

Often times, people in these kinds of relationships aren't even conscious of the fact that they are actually pretty unsatisfied until something comes along that is distinctly the opposite.  Something that jars them out of this half sleep and flat lined relationship.
Thus, growth, continued perpetual growth, is a requisite of truly good, satisfying, happy and healthy relationships.  Resulting in the most fulfillment between the two people, as well as more passion and connectedness.
The remedies for perpetual growth in a relationship?  Endless. 

Read new books, both together and individually...then discuss them in depth.  Cook novel recipes together.  Experiment with food that is difficult to make.  Adventure to new places, both together as well as solo.  Read articles about different, intriguing, invigorating and fascinating ideas- talk about them with your partner.  Take up new hobbies on your own...this breathes life, not only into you as an individual, but your relationship as well.  Be racing towards a passion or goal other than just your partner...whether its running a marathon someday, publishing a book, opening your own cafe, growing braver and stronger within yourself, starting your own company, adopting a pet, publishing a scientific paper, planting your own garden, you name it.  This will also add attraction, depth, and passion to your union. 
Challenge each other where needed.  That's not to say be combative or argumentative.  Just that, instead of hiding from your partner and avoiding any upset, be courageous and understand that growth as well as problem solving can not occur where there is not openness and realness- which sometimes means there being disagreements or challenges to work through. 

Try something totally new, something that even scares both of you a little bit, together.  Do something slightly out of both your comfort zones, together.  Exercise together.  Grow something together.  Have one another's backs unyieldingly.  Write each other a love letter once a month, as heartfelt and honest as you dare, telling them something different each time.
You get the idea.  Grow, both alongside of, and together with your partner.  Seek this actively and intentionally.

Joy. Light.  Playfulness
A relationship should be both a source of growth, inspiration, companionship, and very importantly, a source of joy.  One of the main, very top points in having a relationship, is for the joy and light it should bring to your life.  

That is not to say that a relationship will never go through challenging phases or moments, and that during said phase(s), the relationship may be hard and require some healing or recalibrating.  In general though, a relationship should add immensely to your life, not take away from or load on distress.  If it does this regularly, it may no longer be a healthy relationship, or just not the right one for you.

To add a note on playfulness...supposedly, children laugh a couple hundred times per day, whereas the average adult laughs something like 10-15 times per day. 
Wow.  Talk about a sad disparity in that statistic.  Why do we lose our boundless joy, our silliness, sense of play and daring as we grow older?  And how sad is that?

Dare to play with your partner.  Let go of your pride, that fear over how you look to others (which ultimately is a semi self centered way of thinking anyway.  Rarely does anyone care nearly as much about what we are doing as they care about themselves.  Most people are too focused on and worried about themselves and how they look, to worry about you ;-)), and just have fun together.  Do something out of the box, totally laughter inducing, and fun.

Go to an arcade together, or an amusement park.  Play board games.  Invent a comedy routine together.  Send one another jokes.  Be goofy with each other.  Make one another laugh.  Dont take yourself so seriously.  Have a water fight, or better yet, a food fight.  Have a cooking competition.  Paint or draw together.  Wrestle.  Play Hide and Seek.  Make a scavenger hunt for your partner with an exciting prize at the end.  Compete in mini golf. 

The list goes on and on.

Being unafraid to disagree and challenge one another where needed. 
This is not to say being combative, abusive, difficult or dramatic are encourage able, healthy, or good.  Instead, I am referring to constructive conflict or disagreements that lead to understanding, problem solving, and growth.  There is a distinct difference. 

Put any two people together…you will have conflict.  This is part of close relationships.  The point though is: is it healthy, productive conflict?  If yes, this is generally a positive thing.  

Prioritizing your love to the highest regard
Other things will ever be perpetually competing for your attention.  Their faces may change, but there will be constant, consistent competition for your focus, affection, thoughts, time, even love.  To be a truly phenomenal partner, as well as to have an emotionally deep/close relationship to your love, you need to consistently keep your partner as a very top priority.  This isn't something that will just happen.  You will have to make choices actively to make it so.

This can mean, and fairly often, having to say no to others, even when its difficult.  And as a result, this can sometimes mean upsetting others in your doing so.  When we draw lines and exercise boundaries, people close to us can get upset about it and feel slighted.  This is normal.  However, part of having good boundaries means that, while you dont want to hurt anyone intentionally, understanding that this isn't your problem.  That you cannot possibly live your life pleasing everyone.  This is impossible, and attempting to do so will only result in much stress, disappointment for both you and others, and never really living for yourself.  You must be able to say no and draw lines where needed, even if/when it upsets others.  People with strong boundaries have happier lives and better relationships.  

ctively choosing to prioritize your partner is the key way though, to protecting both your love, as well as the connection to your partner.  In having solid boundaries of your own and being willing to draw lines with others when needed, as well as making sacrifices when the moment demands such.  This will help protect your relationship like the treasure it is.  Keeping your relationship strong, present, and flourishing.  

This may be the most important quote of this whole entry.

Relevant and worthwhile side note: The quote above was actually talked about in depth, within a book I just finished last week.  "Changes That Heal: Four Steps to a Happier, Healthy You" by Dr. Henry Cloud.  They talk about this exact concept.  How so many people avoid this knowledge and considering of such a truth, and instead, tend to take their partner for granted in their preferring to avoid and dismiss what is actually the reality that, at any moment, this person can be lost or exit our life. 

In Catch 22 fashion though, this very behavior and thought process actually often leads to their losing this person.  

Whereas instead, if they kept that awareness front and center in their mind regularly (that at any moment, we can lose our partner, or the relationship can end), one might cherish their partner much more, making far more obvious their love and cherishing of this person, and as a result, less likely to lose them.  To maintain and keep love, you must prize it above all else, protect, cherish, and treasure it.  This requires both word, and action.  

So, that's all she wrote with regards to what makes for a Rockin Relationship.  There are of course, other very important facets that make a relationship healthy, good, and worthwhile. 

These include:

--Honest and constructive communication
--Focused and effortful listening
--Emotional maturity

--Taking care of ones individual physical and emotional health (because when you aren't healthy and dont take care of yourself, you will not be your best self to those around you and thus, not as emotionally present nor as mentally able to be a good partner). 
--Trust is essential. 
--Respect is essential. 

With regards to
the list given in the blog entry above, I decided to write about a few of the less often highlighted though equally as important aspects that make up a great relationship.

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