Thursday, August 20

Makin’ it work

“Our greatest joy-and our greatest pain comes in our relationships with others.”
- Stephen R. Covey

Today, I want to get everyone thinking about something that’s near and dear to everyone heart. So, let me just put it out there now…How do you make a relationship, any relationship, work?

It’s kind of funny to me, in that, here recently; I’ve had LOTS of people coming to me for help in figuring this very question out. My question to myself is usually…”Why me?” I mean come on…I’ve had two failed marriages, I have several kids, went through a period where I didn’t even speak to any of my family…who the hell am I to answer that question?

But it got me thinking. I know…bad sign right? :-)

And I started thinking about the why’s and how’s of all my relationships. And more importantly, I remembered all the bad, and sometimes downright AWFUL, advice that I got in answer to my question. Things like:

• Act like you’re in love until you are…
• Marriage is 50-50. You need to give as much, or more, than you take…
• You need to have common interests and do things together…

I’m sorry…but that’s all bullshit! It’s bad advice, it encourages guilt and accusations, and it makes a relationship a competition of who is doing more. I have yet to hear solid, relationship building, workable advice. That’s not to say that there aren’t some good nuggets out there, I just haven’t found THE advice to give. And, if I’m completely honest here, I don’t believe that it’ll ever be found.

Everyone is different. As is every relationship, whether it’s a friendship, family, marriage, sex, of any other kind of relationship. There is no one piece of advice, or book, or movie, or anything that will apply to everyone and every situation. Dr. Phil won’t cut it for everyone. :-)

“If you’ve never contemplated suicide…you’ve never been in love. If you’ve never thought about murder…you’ve never been divorced.”
– Christopher Titus

Let’s face it, human beings are social creatures. Relationships are important to us all. Unfortunately, I don’t ever recall taking a class, or being taught, how to make any of those relationships work. All I’ve ever been told is that a relationship takes work. Great! That sums it all up, right? Not hardly. Yes, relationships are work. But, so is washing my dog, and getting a degree, and keeping a job. Work is not the same and no one has ever explained what relationship work entails.

So, getting back on topic…How do you make a relationship work? I can’t tell you that. :-)

No, really. I can’t. Because it’ll be different for you than for me. I CAN tell you what I have learned about being in a relationship and how to make it work for me. So what HAVE I learned?

I’ve learned that most people don’t have a clue how to be successful in a relationship. We all seem to want to be the “right” one. We want everything to go our way and find it very hard to change directions. It’s easier to blame someone else than it is to admit you’re wrong. That no relationship is 50-50. Some days it’s 90-10, others its 10-90. Sometimes it’s just as important to listen and understand as it is to talk and be heard. My feelings are just as important and valid as yours, but not necessarily the way to go.

But, I think that the most important thing that I’ve learned is that the only way I can make a relationship work is if I take care of your needs and they are just as important to me as my own and you take care of mine and feel the same way.

See, I believe that, to make any relationship work, you have to get to know that other person inside and out. We all have needs and in a relationship, you become the only one able to meet those needs for that person. That does mean that you have to express those needs and make your own heart known. That is the “work” of a relationship.

Now…bring on Dr. Phil! I’m taking his show!

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne