Rate Your Relationship?
Voices On The Subject
by M.K. Allison
Diane and Greg have been in a relationship for a little over four years. According to Diane, Greg is attentive, fun to be with, communicates openly – but he had periodic affairs outside of their relationship. Yet, on a whole, Diane contends: “It’s not perfect, true. But my relationship with Greg is good, despite the fact that he’s unfaithful once in a while. He’s never disrespectful to me…I’m never shortchanged in any way because of his “flings.” Does Diane make a valid point? Can a relationship be perceived as good if infidelity is present?
Walt says: “If a person knows about and doesn’t mind that his or her mate is out there shopping for food, when there are full cabinets and a full fridge at home – that’s crazy! Here’s a news flash for anyone who thinks that’s okay: YOU DO NOT HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP!”
What about the old adage: Different strokes for different folks? People are different. So are their perceptions of what’s right and good for them within the confines of their own ideologies.
Sandra says you just know when the relationship is good. “It’s not just one thing. It’s a broad concept. It’s like when Carl comes over and begins massaging my shoulders, without my even asking him.”
Philip: “Sometimes for hours, no words at all are exchanged between myself and Audra and it feels good, just knowing she’s right in the next room: reading, writing or doing whatever has captured her interest at the time.”
The significance of tolerance and patience can’t be overemphasized with regards to relationships. Does it jerk your nerves when he picks his teeth at the dinner table? Does it drive you up a wall when she straightens your collar in public? Or how about the way she runs her hand along the side of your head! We all have our idiosyncrasies…those irritating little things about us that grate against somebody else’s nerves. People in good relationships learn how to minimize those negatives and maximize the positives.
Karen: “I feel like choking him when he gives me a loud smacking kiss on the cheek in public. But his keen sense of honesty, his compassion for the less fortunate, more than compensate for his little irritating ways.”
In many instances, an intentional focus on even one small, positive aspect can draw us back away from the thing that most annoys us, making the situation appear (from the different perspective) much less serious than we had first believed it to be. This is not to say that a bad relationship can magically be transformed into a good relationship simply because we alter our focus. Not so! However, a deliberate shifting of focus (away from the negative and onto the positive) can, and often does, have a powerfully positive impact on our relationships.
Well, how are we to tell whether or not our relationship is good or not? Keep a relationship status log. Record all pleasant and unpleasant incidents (in daily, weekly or monthly increments). After awhile, you should be able to see at a glance from your well kept chart, exactly where your relationship stands. In the dark where all “bad” relationships lurk or in the glowing light where all “good” relationships abide.
Some, who believe their relationships should definitely be categorized as good, shared some of those little things that go into making a relationship it so.
“He laughs at my jokes (even though I know they aren’t all that funny).” (Sarah)
“If I’m angry about something, he always waits until I get through spouting off before he tries to reason with me.” (Kelly)
“She’s always praising me for something I’ve said or accomplished. She never fails to compliment me when I put on a suit.” (Bill)
“We both finally realized that we don’t have to be together 24 hours a day…we give each other space and I think that makes our intimate times 100% better.” (Farley)
“If he does something nice for me, I try to outdo him by doing something extra nice for him. He tells people we have a ‘love competition’ going on.” (Laura)
“No matter what color I’m wearing, he always says ‘Baby, that’s your best color.” (Barbara)
If we look closer at our relationships, we might discover that they are much better than we thought. Perhaps good relationships aren’t all that hard to find after all.