Somehow I find this list of suggestions for building and sustaining a healthy relationship extremely valuable for myself at this point in time, and something that is important to share with my readers… Hope they offer you guidance and inspiration. No doubt about it… Relationships of any sort are hard work and need ongoing nurturance and care.
In honor of Dolly and Jim (miss you guys…) and the 65 years that they sustained a strong marriage, here are some powerful goals for all of us to work toward in our own relationships with those we love…
- You openly and frequently talk about your life: your respective dreams, fantasies, fears, pressures, victories, and disappointments.
- Without nagging or policing each other, you encourage each other to stick to your plans to better yourself.
- You offer help to each other when motivation to live healthy begins to sag.
- No one is victimized by the choices you make as you try to take better care of yourself.
- You help each other make time to take care of yourselves.
- You encourage each other to reward yourselves for this healthier way of living.
- You allow each other to express strong emotions.
- You accept that relationships, just like individuals, grow and change and that you therefore must periodically alter your expectations and ways of relating to each other in order to adjust to new ways of being together — just as you would with a financial plan.
- You are honest with each other about what you think, feel, need, and want.
- You are flexible in your roles as you deal with the tasks and responsibilities facing your family.
- When you have conflicts, you listen, empathize, and compromise with each other, or maturely agree to disagree.
- You privately and publically express respect and appreciation for each other.
- You avoid using power-struggle tactics. You are direct, honest, and fair in trying to get your needs and desires met.
- You are gentle and forgiving in dealing with each other.
- You encourage and help each other develop abilities and traits that will make you more complete people.
- You try not to be driven by stress and frustration.
- Rather than clinging to the unrealistic belief that a relationship can work naturally, you accept the fact that you will have to work to keep the healing spirit of your relationship alive.
- You are able to forgive each other for mistakes.
- You are at peace with the fact that no one — no matter how good or loving they may be — is perfect.
- You regularly have fun together.
- In your marriage, you continue that “boyfriend-girlfriend” action that serves as the core of your romance. You regularly notice, court, and romance each other.
- In your marriage, you regularly let each other know that you still choose each other.
Are there any of these that you and your partner do well? Any that you think you could work on? How might you do that?
Sotile, W. & Sotile, M. (1996). The Medical Marriage: A couple’s Survival Guide. Carol Publishing Group.