If I want a beautiful home, I spend time flicking through magazines, looking at colours, seeing how they work together, planning and budgeting for the stuff I want around me. If I want a beautiful garden, I take time to pluck out the weeds, I sweep the paths, and I stroll around garden centres and gaze at pictures I love. If I want a lovely wardrobe, I invest time to keep my clothes tidy, washed and presentable; I buy the pieces that are missing. If I want a successful business, I read articles, I speak to marketing specialists and social media gurus, I hire good people, and I check my books and plan for the future…
This is common sense to me, it’s not rocket science and yet so many people expect a relationship – the core relationship that is central to their lives and happiness – to just happen!!!
I’m not a relationship specialist in fact I’ve had the most fiery relationship of all with fights, screaming battles, he walks out, I walk out and yet we’re still together why? Because we decided to invest time and energy into making it a success, to understanding each other’s needs. We haven’t got it right yet but like the garden, the house, the business, it’s a work in progress and like the garden, the house, the business… take your eye off the ball and things can drift, dust settles and weeds appear!
When we commit to “till death do us part” no one gives us a handbook telling us how to overcome the drift, the loss of communication, the how do we get the joy back into this or the rediscover the fun? No one tells us that but as with any friendship, effort has to be made and if anyone tells you “love will make it work” then they are selling you a bunch of hooey! Love gets us together but common sense keeps us there and for me the key to a successful relationship is learning to understand that it takes effort to understand the needs of another and it takes effort to help that other understand our needs.
The turning point of my marriage was when I stopped asking him to make me happy. When I learned to make myself happy and learned to enjoy him for who is. The turning point in my marriage was when I stopped asking him to be a male version of me and relaxed into seeing the parts of him that attracted me to him in the first place: his dynamic sense of self, his obstinacy, his boyish sense of fun.
What nearly broke us was when I started asking him to completely change his character and take care of me, to take care of our home, to be Mr DIY, to be this version of manhood that totally undermined his reality, his character and made him feel inadequate. The same is true for me, if his expectation of a wife was a woman who cooked, did ironing and spent hours in the mirror looking pretty, he would have been sadly disappointed!!!
When things started to work was the day I learned what made him happy (I’m still learning and have chosen to spend my life learning) and when I started being really clear about my needs (not asking him to meet them all but at least letting him know what they are).
So many men and women fall apart because they haven’t even taken the time to know themselves let alone learned how to get to know another human being!
I’ve just started to read the 5 LANGUAGES OF LOVE by Gary Chapman and I like the principles he espouses. I haven’t finished the book yet but it makes total sense.
Sure learn their language but before you do, know what you need and want and learn one really important reality: THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY IS YOU.
When you get that, everything else becomes a real bonus.
That’s just my opinion but what do you think?