Intimate Relationship Secrets – #1
Couples in an intimate relationship can be 20, 45 or 75, and come in all colors, shapes, sizes and income brackets. It doesn’t really matter how long they have been together. Whatever the demographics, when you see a happy couple, you just know it – you can feel it. What is that mystical ingredient that some couples in an intimate relationship have that creates jealousy in others?
How do these couples stay in love, in good times and in bad? The answer is NOT “Just lucky!” Whether they knew it going in, or developed it along the way, they have learned that a good intimate relationship takes willingness to grow, and a commitment to stick with it. Stick wiith what, you ask?
I am a coach and a recovering psychotherapist. The only way I could get listed in the Yellow Pages in the Ohio town where my practice existed, was to be under “Marriage and Family Counseling” …the only category they had for psychologists. It turns out I was more of a “divorce counselor” because, as I learned, most couples wait until they are on their last legs before they seek counseling. Once certain things are gone from a relationship it is usually a matter of trying to exit people out of the relationship with as little collateral damage as possible. I doubt that is what you want, right? My guess is you are reading this because you are worried. Maybe you are thinking, “Is it too late?”
[Guess what sounds the death knell on an intimate relationship – the ONE THING that dooms a relationship when it leaves? I will tell you later.]
Soooo, let’s focus on those essentially positive ingredients, providing a guiding menu of success and happiness in your intimate relationship. Because so few couples know about all of these areas, I think of them as the “intimate relationship secrets” whereas many are hidden in plain sight.
[By the way, although this came out of looking mostly at couples, much of this could be applied in many relationships with a bit of tweaking.]
Successful Couples and Their Secrets
Develop a realistic view of what a committed intimate relationship looks like.
Recognize that the crazy infatuation you experienced when the relationship was new, won’t last. (ohhhhhhhhh!)
A deeper, richer relationship, and one that should still include affection, will replace it. (yayyyyyyyy!)
A long-term intimate relationship of ANY sort has ups and downs, and those who expect it to be all sun and roses is just unrealistic. It doesn’t have to be Guns and Roses, either, but people are different, and they might put those differences aside and focus on commonalities in the first blush of the relationship. (“Ohmigosh, you are a Libra and love chocolate, too?!?!?!?”).
Sooner or later, differences emerge, and it is how the couple handles those differences that will quickly determine how smooth a path the relationship will follow. “I cannot stand anyone who doesn’t believe in being a vegetarian!” is quite different from someone who says, “Each to his own. I am a vegetarian, but I also realize it isn’t for everyone.”
The keyword here is commitment. A well-known comedian, Danny Thomas, spokesperson for the wonderful St. Jude’s Hospital for kids, related a conversation with his parents who were together for 60 years. When asked, “How did you make your intimate relationship last so long?” His Lebanese Dad responded, “Your Mom and I came over from the old country. We didn’t know we had a choice!”
Well, commitment IS a choice. It is made every second you are in an intimate relationship. It is one of the first things to go when a relationship crumbles, usually right after respect, which we will get to later. It is huge part of the Christian marriage ceremony: ”…through sickness and health, forsaking all others…” is all about commitment.
Commitment is the glue that holds the intimate relationship together through rocky times, mistakes that are made, emotional overboil, and boredom and/or despair. Commitment says, “You are worth sticking with through thick and thin, through hell or high water.”
Commitment – The First Essential Ingredient for an Extraordinary Relationship.
[Thank you Dr. DJ and Maud Purcell for your input!]