Ever notice how some couples are happy and contented with each other, never running out of things to talk about even after decades of marriage to each other? If you’re like me, over the years of observing this (in stark contrast to those couples who can barely stand each other’s company and don’t speak or engage at all), you may be left wondering ‘how do successful couples do it?’
I’m sure there are as many answers as there are happy couples, but here are a few ideas:
1) Love who you’re with. “It matters not who you love, where you love, when you love, or how you love, it matters only that you love.” (John Lennon)
Don’t be continually looking for the “Bigger Better Deal” (also known as BBD syndrome) — if you’ve found someone whom you love to be with, then laser in your focus on that person and give them all your attention and charm. Love who they are today; and then love who they are tomorrow.
2) Love your partner ‘as is’. Our US culture teaches women to find a ‘fixer-upper man’ and then mold and shape him into the ideal mate — needless to say, this doesn’t work. And it teaches men to find a wonderful woman and then expect her to stay that way forever after, never growing or changing.
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” (Sam Keen) Once you’ve fallen in love with your partner, consciously choose to embrace their perceived flaws as a part of their charm and uniqueness. Challenge yourself to perfectly love their imperfectness.
3) Put it all on the line. Don’t hold back on the chance that it ‘might not work out’, for then you are almost assuring the relationship’s failure. “Life is risky; love is dangerous. Both are worth it.” (Unknown) Give your all, your everything, to your relationship (while still maintaining your healthy sense of self, of course). Love with everything you’ve got — I promise you, you won’t run out of love.
4) Be fully present to what is happening in your relationship today. Don’t allow the past to trigger problems in your present. “Bring the past only if you are going to build from it.” (Unknown)
Unless something helpful or contributory from your past is going to provide a solid foundation upon which to build your present, then leave it in the past. Move forward, embracing your current partner for who they are, not for some characteristic or quality they remind you of from a past partner.
Challenge yourself to see your mate clearly, as is, and not to overlay anything old on them. It’s important to remember that the only thing consistent in all your past relationships was you — now that’s food for thought!
I’m sure there are many more ideas about how to build and maintain a loving, supportive, fulfilling, fun relationship with a partner. We are so green in our understanding of this, that we are literally like children stumbling into love.
If you have ideas, please share them here.