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If you read about every major religion in the world, there are strands of religious beliefs and traditions that all have a similar message of love. Love through compassion, love through forgiveness, love through belief and encouragement, love through patience and honesty, love through happiness and contentment, as well as love through various other virtues and disciplines. If love doesn’t unite us all, then I don’t know what does.
“Love is the answer…” — John Lennon
Prior to getting into a relationship, finding that special someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with is the biggest challenge… But, after you wholeheartedly commit your life to another person and get married, the next biggest challenge will probably be communication. Communication is hard stuff, wholesomely complete real rhythmic communication is hard for everyone! And, as with most challenges you take on in life, those challenges can be the most rewarding. Through communication you build connection.
Communication is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of marriage and could be perceived as one of the pillars of marriage longevity. When we have needs that aren’t getting met by our spouse and we can’t communicate those needs to our spouse, then the needs continue to go unfulfilled… often leading to divorce.
Marriage is a covenant between two people meant to last a lifetime. It can often be the largest commitment and undertaking that you will ever make… and there are no guarantees. Scared yet?! But, more than an agreement it’s a PROMISE in every sense of the word, a declaration, a particular decision, a specific course of action, an arrangement of all involved and oh so much more.
Often the first recommendation for someone in a troubled marriage is to seek a marriage counselor to bridge that gap in communication and offer various forms of support. Finding a marriage counselor that both parties find fair and effective can be quite a time-consuming task.
If you are not clear about what you want to communication in your own head, then it will be even more confusing to your spouse. Try pondering the core reasons of why you want to say what you want to say, before you say what you want to say… This often leads to the realization of other ways you can communication what you want to communicate. If you have trouble pondering the core reasons, try keeping a journal (yes, you heard me and no, it’s not just for teenagers), which is actually a highly effective tool, used by many successful people that make an effort to make each day better than the last, or as close to it as they possibly can.
Mutual love, mutual life, mutual respect, mutual dependence, mutual learning, mutual admiration, mutual co-existence… Mutualism is about harmony.
What do you think matters most in a committed relationship? Perhaps you believe that, in order to be a part of a committed relationship, a deep sense of love and security must be found, or that the person you are with must be the one you believe is your soulmate, or, perhaps, you are looking for fun times and companionship with someone who brings light and spontaneity into your life. Maybe you are looking for all three.
Just as there are all types of things that people look for in a committed relationship, there are all types of committed relationships. But, the types of long term committed relationships I will be focusing on can be boiled-down into two categories: relationships that encourage, excite your passions and inspire enthusiasm; and the opposite type of relationships that restrict, suppress and depress. And, when it comes to the actual longevity of the relationship, a relationship maybe more about compromising oneself and feelings of obligation, than love.
Let’s go over some of the aspects which should be present in a healthy and nurturing committed relationship.
One powerful way to re-connect to someone that you are in a close relationship with, is to make some time for some “back-to-back” time (which doesn’t have to be back-to-back, but once or twice a week, would probably be a good start.)
What do I mean by “back-to-back”? Well, I mean literally your back against theirs. Never intentionally tried this or maybe this sounds like what you do in bed after an argument. Ok, this is different… this is where your back is pressed-up against their back. So, you say, “Why would that help?!”
It doesn’t take much to help your partner feel more valued every day. Sometimes a lot of little ongoing things — which don’t take much time or effort on their own — can mean a lot more than the rare grandiose gesture on some holiday that. No surprise there, I mean who would actually choose to wait for the most significant person in their life to show they care and value your relationship. That’s daily medicine and can fit into every routine. So, put it on your calendar and within minutes you are on your way to building a stronger connection and a more meaningful relationship that will surely mean more than you think right now.
“Choose your love; love your choice.” — Thomas Monson
Marriage is about choice (in most circumstances anyway); you are choosing a spouse to share your life with on a long-term basis. Marriage should be a choice about marriage and not just the next choice, because it seems like the next step in a relationship. First you need to decide what marriage means to you and get clear about what you are choosing, when making a choice to marry someone.
“Keeping a personal journal a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them.” — Stephen R.Covey
- It’s completely doable in just a few minutes a day, even the most busiest and stressed person can spend at least a few minutes a day on something that could greatly improve their most important relationship in their life.
- It allows you to clear your emotions that have been building up all day and putting them out there into words, can also bring a lot of clarity to what emotions you were experiencing and what may be behind those emotions.
- It can work like a free personal therapist, in that you can unload and get feedback from your significant other, when you are ready to receive input and discuss what happened or what went on internally for you.
- It can help give you a sense of direction, since you will be able to track and review your personal love history, which can help you learn about yourself quite a lot.
- It gives you a medium to freely express yourself, which the pressure of being in someone’s face about possibly very sensitive issues. Sometimes you want to say something, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to discuss it. This also gives the option for you to pass along a page from your love journal to your partner with the understanding that you aren’t quite ready to have a discussion, but wanted them to know.
- It can increase gratitude, both for yourself and for the other people whom you allow to read it… Being human isn’t easy and when people can read about your feelings and thoughts at their own pace to fully digest. It also allows them time for self-reflection, which can light-up compassion, gratitude and empathy in their hearts.
- It can improve your writing, as in, building the skills that come along with taking your thoughts and turning them into words. As well as, developing your thoughts, so that they can be effectively communicated through words… wether read or spoken.
- It can power-up your creativity, just like anything you create and pour your heart into, it can open-up facets of your being that open new possibilities to ways you can get creative and contribute to the world for the betterment of humankind.
- It can allow you to gain more self-awareness than every before, especially if you take a little extra time to go back and review your previous love journal entries. Being aware of something is the first step before you can improve upon that something.
- It improves your productivity, yeah, that’s right… you are producing something and that can have quite the synergistic effect on your life. You may just find that you get more productive in other parts of your life as well. It always help to have small daily accomplishments to keep your life moving and the energy flowing.
True happiness is a state that you choose to be, as you continue to change the world around you to support your happiness. You attract and magnetize what is similar to you. Your attitude and behavior can have a great influence on others around you and usually results in what types of situations and life experiences come your way.
Since happiness is an ever-changing subjective semi-ambiguous state of being…
- First, you must be the person you want to be, walk and talk in the shoes that feel like they are the closest fit and the most comfortable.
- Secondly, start doing and keep doing what feels like bring you the most happiest and remember to do things as the person you want to be, do things that are in alignment with the person you want to be.
- Thirdly, appreciate the things you have and every time you think you want to have something, be sure to get clear on what having that something would bring into yourself. If you have time, try to visualize that something already in your life and think about the ways that it would affect your life and the things you already have.
“There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Before a person begins to focus on how to sustain love in a relationship, they should be sure that the love is one worth sustaining: a wholesome love, a fearless love, a supportive healthy love, an unrestricted and unrestrained love. Your relationship may not be everything you want it to be all the time, and that’s perfectly fine, but ask yourself if the love is worth sustaining. If it is, then be prepared to put in the effort.