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October 19, 2009

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE EASIER THAN YOU THINK: BASIC RULES TO FOLLOW

When I ask people if they know of any couples who they believe have a healthy relationship, I’m shocked at how many people say no.  Most people laugh when I ask that question.  Some get quiet and ponder the couples they know in their head and slowly scratch one couple after the next off the list.  Sadly, parents seldom make this list.

Although many of you are not going to believe this, creating healthy relationships are much easier than you think.  There area a few basic ingredients or building blocks that are pivotal.  Once you get these building blocks down you can add a few more key ingredients and move up from healthy to enriching.  Let’s start first with healthy:
Key Ingredients necessary for healthy relationships:

1.    Always be respectful even when angry.  I cannot believe the number of people who think it’s no big deal to yell or swear at their partner.  Yelling, swearing or calling your partner names IS A BIG DEAL!!!  It stops intimacy and connection in its tracks.  I don’t care if that was how you were raised or if you think it’s not that big a deal, you cannot have a healthy relationship if you’re not respectful.  Period.  Clean up the disrespect; this includes rolling your eyes, sighing and using a derogatory tone when you’re speaking.  This one shift will drastically change your relationships.

2.    Don’t take things so personally.  Use a better boundary.  Learn to decipher what’s about you and what’s not about you.  If your partner had a bad day and comes home mean-spirited—first, realize that their mood is not about you.  Second, set a limit. Third, don’t allow your partner’s bad day to become your bad day.
3.    Be interested in each other’s lives.  Do not make your entire life about your children, job or whatever other distraction you can think of.  Check in daily with one another about how their day was.  Ask how things are going. Get curious. Get interested and be each other’s friend.
4.    Deal with issues in the moment.  When something bothers you, speak it.  Trying to avoid conflict is the quickest path to divorce.  Avoidance leads to a build up of resentment.  This includes being so angry with your partner that you don’t speak to them for hours or even days.  Ignoring someone is rude.  Grow up and deal with issues directly and in a respectful manner. 
5.    Be spiritually kind. Before you can work on adding kind acts to relationships, you need to have a kind spirit.  Too many couples treat one another with contempt.  They speak down to one another, make sarcastic comments and constantly point out the other’s mistakes.  Sometimes one partner becomes the butt of all family jokes or gets “teased” when out with friends.  This gets old fast.  You need to have a sense of reverence for your partner.  If there’s an issue you’re annoyed with then deal with it head on.  Otherwise, speak to your partner with love.  Speak about your partner with love.  Insure that those around you do the same, beginning with modeling this yourself.  

The tips above are some of the basics necessary to have healthy relationships.  If you’re doing all of these 95% of the time, chances are you have a healthy relationship.  If you’re not then you might want to think about what changes YOU can make to get your relationships more healthy.  Clean up your side and hold your partner accountable for doing the same.  It doesn’t matter how you were raised, disrespect is disrespect.  Stop justifying it and start removing it from your lives.

CHALLENGE:  Scan the list above and choose the one item on the list that your partner says you do that creates the biggest problem for your relationship.  Don’t challenge it or dismiss it and instead work to change it.  Be diligent about this for one month and let us know what happens.  Good luck!  

Comments

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Hi Lisa,

I was wondering if you have written an article about what to do when you and your partner want different things in life? I have been trying to find some help on this one and can't. I think both of us feel there is no way we could be happy going with the other one's ideas. We have talked about it endlessly. There is no way that we can see to satisfy both of us. We have 2 daughters that we love very much and do not want to get divorced.

I am so tired though.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
I feel like there is no helping us.

Dear Lori: Thanks for asking this question since it is such a common one. As of yet, I have not written anything on this. Let me play with this and come up with a post. In the mean time...READERS--chime in and help Lori out. Any suggestions?


Ways to building the love relationship. All through our lives we create emotional bonds. Whether it is family or friends we try to build relationships that are solid and hopefully long-lasting.

I'm going to print this out so I can show it to my husband, I'm not sure how he's going to react as he thinks he never does anything wrong. I asked him years ago if we could go for counseling and he said why so I can hear how wrong I am? That told me alot right there, but it was too late we were already married. To the ones getting married this is for you. My husband treated me like crap before we got married but I loved him so much and I kept believing that he'd go back to the kind loving man I'd fallen in love with. That didn't work, things have only gotten worse. We don't talk at all anymore, he doesn't like to listen to me and tries to make me feel like I'm stupid. He was always putting me down and it didn't matter who was around, I did put a stop to that!! My so called best friend would join in with him and I jumped them both!! I didn't talk to her for 3 months. If I try to talk to him he yells, cusses, and screams at me, I walk away crying and stay away from him for all or most of the day. I don't like living like this I'm as far from happy as I've ever been. I also have to tell you that when my mom died he took one week off work and told them I needed him, you know how much time he spent with me? NONE!! I don't have a husband I have an over grown kid that is never going to grow up!! There's so much more, I think this is enough to make you stop and think before you jump into anything. Things only get worse as long as you don't put a stop to it before. God Bless y'all. Cheryl

DEAR CHERYL: It's never too late to put a stop to it. You deserve to be treated well at all times--remember? Your comment is a great wake up call to everyone. Don't settle! Don't waste another year of your life regretting not stopping things sooner and instead start making changes now. If your husband's not willing to change then get yourself stronger--strong enough to leave if you have to.
No relationship is worth being so unhappy. If you have children, your staying without changing the situation is not serving them or helping them.

Remember: it's never too late to put a stop to bad behavior.
Take care-Lisa

I've been reading a few articles from your blog and it makes me feel how wrong my relationship is. I know it and i want it to change but it seems to be impossible. My bf has had a very bad example from his parents and he takes everything I say or dislike personally and against him... it's so hard for me. Because of that we fight a lot and I don't know how to change it. We're supposed to get married early next year but I wont be able to do this until I get him to accept that what he does is not correct... I just don't know how at the moment. So I am reading your blog... thanks so much!

DEAR TANJA: Good for you for not running to the altar until this is resolved. Marriage often just escalates what's already there--the good and the bad. Too many people get married hoping it will solve their problems only to find it enhanced them. Get help if you need to as a couple AND don't get married unless the changes you need to see, happen.
Best of luck! Lisa

Great article. I am getting married next year and this kind of article will really help me and my fiance to prepare. Thanks!

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