Making It Last!
10 Great Lessons
by Theo McNee
I discovered that great relationships come from the acquisition of personal skills that are just so necessary to couple success as the surgeon’s knife is to an operation. The following are some steps that have been tried and proven to cut frustration, stress, and aggravation in half and replace them with cool, calm behavior in a relationship and aid it towards success.
- The perfect person does not exist. If you’re looking for someone who is everything you want, forget it! He/She is not out there! They are not on the planet. Learn to accept Joe, Jim, Sara or Nancy, for who they are, not what you want them to be. Lesson: Be tolerant of those small things that are not to your liking and focus on that which is. Make a list of which points dominate the others. The “good” list should keep things in perspective.
- The only power you have in a relationship is over yourself. You cannot control or expect to control another human being because you want your way. If your mate doesn’t want to see you when you wish to be seen, don’t try to manipulate. It’s much more fun when the interest is mutual. Don’t push to get your way. Love does not love when one partner is more demanding than the other. You cannot change or influence the way someone feels about you. Lesson: It’s important in a relationship for you and your partner to be on the same page, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If these things are not in sync, perhaps you should move to another page.
- Stop the madness before it gets out of hand. Our attitude towards our own self-respect gives others clear instructions on how to treat us. We must nip all actions that are offensive to our psyche “in the bud.” Lesson: Never pretend to like what you don’t like. It doesn’t add value to your status.
- Don’t cry the blues and do nothing. If the relationship causes suffering or pain, don’t be afraid to complain and/or let go. Don’t think that because you want it so badly, it will eventually work out. Sometimes in bad relationships, it’s hard to let go because you can’t see the future and the possibility of a better replacement. Lesson: Don’t just moan when you’re unhappy. Exercise your options with confidence.
- You are not always the same, so don’t expect your partner to be. Feelings and actions are heavily influenced by circumstances (what happens to us on a given day). Feelings are not bound in concrete. Recognize mood swings and work to understand them. Don’t be so quick to be affected because the mood in the relationship shifts from time to time. Moods and confusing signals are not always personal arrows directed at you. Learn to give space when it appears that it’s needed and divert your attention elsewhere. Lesson: Supervise your ego and strive to be more sensible than emotional.
- Watch your mouth. Words cannot be withdrawn. In relationships, words and expressions are stored away and never forgotten. You can think what you want, but don’t say it, unless you don’t care how it’s interpreted. If you must say what you feel and it’s ugly, be prepared to sever the tie. If you wish to call a spade a spade, be prepared to dig in another garden. Words are more hurtful than actions. With actions, one can continue to guess or speculate. With words, there is no room for doubt. Lesson: Gauge the atmosphere in your relationship and wait for the proper time to say what needs to be said, but use good words.
- Be what you want. In a relationship, no one appreciates a person who gives criticism instead of praise. The ideal is to have someone with whom you can relax and be yourself. A person you can speak your heart to. Not someone who monitors your speech and actions for academic or etiquette merit. Encourage, build up, and listen intently to your partner and if the physical attraction is there, they won’t be leaving. Lesson: If you use wisdom, you can get out of a relationship what you put in.
- Never envy someone else’s relationship. Learn to accept who you are and/or who you’re with, and concentrate on making that situation the best it can be, until you don’t want it anymore. Never compare the present with the past. If it were so great, you’d still be there. Lesson: Never envy that which you can’t see up close.
- Learn to forgive as you would want to be forgiven. You cannot hold a grudge or smolder forever when you’ve been hurt or disappointed in a relationship. Grudge-holding affects the quality of your life. Forgiveness to a relationship is as the soil is to a flower. Lesson: First forgive, then forget. You can’t do one without the other.
- Life is not always fair. Don’t expect equality in relationships. Things are not equal. Someone is going to give more and it may be you. Accept it and learn to live with it. Never keep score. Sometimes it evens out, but most times it doesn’t. Only keep track of major imbalances and then act accordingly. Lesson: There are no such things as 50/50 relationships. It is all given and take.