SECRET #2: You must tend an intimate relationship
An untended garden grows weeds that can ultimately overtake and kill even the heartiest of plants. And so it is with an intimate relationship. Many people basically ‘hook up and sit down.' “Ahhh, the hard part is over. I found someone – the rest is all on cruise control.”
Well, of course, there ARE times when you can cruise, and even go on autopilot. That is one advantage of a successful intimate relationship. But a couple that is dedicated to their relationship has strategies to handle things when cruising just isn’t working. Let me give you an example.
At one time I conducted a weekend couples retreat titled, Love, Sex, and Communication. In this seminar on tending an intimate relationship, we learned the 14 Rules for Arguing. Every couple in the Retreat had argued – some more often than others. Each couple had experienced a rough time settling differences.
It is important to address problems and misunderstandings immediately, but how many of us are good at this? Guess what the first rule is in the Rules for Arguing for an intimate relationship? Yep: We agree to argue by the Rules for Arguing! (If you want the whole set, just email me at Anthony@DrD-J.com. They are the bomb! I will probably publish them here one by one.) In other words, they knew what to do when an argument occurred.
Some people believe that a good intimate relationship just happens naturally. Truth is that a good relationship, like anything you wish to succeed at in life, must be worked on – tended to – on a regular basis. No different than a neglected house, garden or car; neglect a relationship and it will disintegrate…usually slowly and, near the end, painfully.
How to best tend an intimate relationship
Neglect the intimate relationship, and it will go downhill. It is much more fun to see yourself as a creative relationship gardener: “What can I do today to not only save but enhance this relationship?” I cannot say it enough: YOU HAVE CHOICES. You can choose to just let your intimate relationship coast and disintegrate, or you can choose to take deliberate action – make deliberate choices to sustain, nurture and continually improve your intimate relationship.
Tell me why it is so difficult for a couple to sit down and make eye contact and say, “I love you, and I just read this great blog on maintaining in intimate relationship and it came to me that we can actually choose – we can decide to really make this relationship awesome, or we can just let it slide into routine and boredom and disintegration. Let's commit to making it awesome! Are you with me?” If that sounds corny then take another look. It makes perfect sense. Okay, put it into your own words and then read it out loud. Now how does it sound?
Make a commitment to sit with your partner, when the time is right, in the next two or three days and have this talk. Put it on the calendar and have this chat at least every six months.
Isn't your relationship more important than an oil change? You do that every 3,000 miles, why not give your relationship a higher priority than your car?
In other words, think about things such as, “What kind of surprises can I create?” “What does he/she need help with?” “What is the best way to handle our money issues?” “Let's do something fun together.” “I am going to ask him/her on a date!”
Take care of your precious garden…and it will feed you forever.