A while ago I was having a disagreement with my partner and he made the statement
“The reason neither of us have ever been married is because we suck at relationships.”
I was stunned into silence by this statement. Is that really what he believed? Because it was totally not my belief. I believed that the reason I have chosen to not marry over the past 25 years (and I had multiple opportunities) was because I am true to my soul and even though all those past opportunities were with fabulous people there was something that just didn’t feel right.
Plus, after being present on the wedding day of over 1500 brides, I never wanted to get married and not be 100% sure about my decision. The reason is because I am old school on the getting hitched thing. Go figure, most people think I am all about free love and no commitment but in actuality it is the opposite. I do believe in the union of marriage and that it is for life. I come from a family of big long term marriages, my siblings have both been with their partners for over 30 years and my parent’s well they were together for 49 years. Have all those years been happy? Hell no! Many, many of those years sucked big time. I remember the one night my Mom started packing her suitcase. When my Father saw the suitcase he stopped dead in his tracks and he stopped yelling. The door closed and I did not hear another word. I don’t know what went on in that room but the next day something had changed and my parents did not fight as much after that. I remember asking my Mother a few years later what happened that night. All she said was, “When you’re married honey, you work it out because deep inside you love each other.”So I may not be an expert on marriage because I have never been married. But, I sure as shit know a hell of a lot about relationships because I have had a freakin crap load of them over the past 25 years. My relationships have varied in length some a few months others several years. I believe that I now rock at relationships for the one simple reason I have way more experience than most of my friends who have been in one or two relationships or are married . My friends have learned to grow and change with one person. I on the other hand have had to learn, adapt and grow with many partners and each of those partners have been unique in their own way. Which has been awesome experience for me because with each one I have had to face my own crap and grow in different ways. Because really all our partners/friends and relationships are in truth just reflections of ourselves.
What we don’t like about the other person is what we need to look at in ourselves. Plus, in between the relationships I have had those periods of being single and being on your own has its perks as well. The best one is you get to do everything that you want to do, when you want to do it. The other thing is you get to work on your own crap. It is usually the long time after the end of the last relationship. It’s those months where you realize what you learned, what you could have done differently and what you will never do again! Ah, yes . . . that one is always a great epitome!
I could go on about “how to find the perfect partner” but that is all about what each person is attracting to themselves. This is about what to do when you find them. After years of relationships I truly believe there are 3 keys to making them healthy and long lasting.
First key is keeping true to yourself and your path (in other words don’t lose yourself in the other person) and having the openness and communication to share your dreams with your partner. Plus respecting your partner for them being true to themselves and listening and supporting their dreams as well. From this point you build a life that is a partnership where you are independent but still partners (A.K.A inter-dependent). In the course of building a life together each of you may have to adapt, change and alter “not yourselves” but perhaps your lifestyle, living environment and career. You may initially resist these changes but if you overcome that resistance you will be rewarded with being in a loving relationship with a totally wicked partner. The long term partnership is worth the short term uncomfortableness of change.
The second key is simple: If it is not workin then fix it. Talk to each other and go to a counselor and get help, right away. Don’t ignore it or think it’s a phase or hope it will get better. Sticking your head in the sand or hoping is not doing to fix anything. The only people that can fix what is not working is you and your partner, so do it. As my Mother said “when you love each other you work it out.”
The third key is prioritize your life and stick to it,
Your priority list or Love list as I like to call it, should be similar to this:
- Love yourself and take care of yourself FIRST. As the saying goes you cannot top up anyone else’s cup if your cup is empty. Keep your cup full and it is easy to give love and support to others around you, including your partner.
- Love your partner and your relationship: this partnership is what is going to get you through everything else, give it the time and energy it deserves.
- Love your family/friends: Parents argue this one, they say the kids come before everything else. But, if you don’t love yourself what do you have to give your kids? If you’re not loving your partner they how do you think the kids are going to make out when you split up?
- Love your career, if you don’t like it then change it because the money is not worth it. When you love what you do, the money will flow in abundance and you will have the time to keep your top 3 priorities in balance.
- Love your community, give to the people around you and Mother Nature. Pay it forward just because you want to with no expectations. You will be amazed at what happens.
- If you make it to #6 go back and repeat #1! Love yourself!
Keys to a Great Relationship based on 25 years of multiple relationships and single hood!
- Love yourself first, love your partner second and accept the other person for exactly who they are.
- You can never change your partner or fix them. You will be lucky if you can aesthetically alter. This swings more for women trying to change men, but men do it to women as well.
- Play together and often. The couples that play together stay together. (In other words have hobbies or sports that you do together and both)
- Have sex a minimum of 2-3 times a week. If you say you’re too busy or too tired or not into it…then take along hard look at yourself because your priorities are way out of whack! Being intimate with your partner is really a double whammy, it takes care of your #1 and #2 priorities.
- Laugh a lot with each other but never at the expense of each other. Make sure the words you speak to each other and about each other are always kind and respectful. In other words, you can joke with each other but make sure you never cross the line or hit below the belt because words are powerful, they can be forgiven but they are never forgotten.
- Take a holiday/weekend away by yourself at least once a year, then take a holiday/weekend with just your partner (no one else) at least once a year. Spend time by yourself to check in and see where you are at, then spend time with each other and connect. Talk about nothing and everything, sleep, laugh and just be together.
- Talk about important things in the morning, when you are rested and clear. Talk about light and fluffy things at night when you are tired and just want to relax.
- When you are having an important conversation with your partner, turn your phone on silent. Be present with your partner. If you were in an important business meeting you would be damn sure that your phone was off, as you would not want to offend your co-workers or boss. So give the same respect to your partner.
- The saying “If it ain’t broken don’t’ fix it” is crap. Find and hire an awesome relationship counselor and go for a check in appt every 6 months. It does not mean that the relationship is having issues. If you both feel that everything is great then use this person to help you create your future goals together. Having a trusted 3rd party adviser in any relationship, personal or business, is a good idea, it only leads to success on every level. You tune up your car every six months why not your relationship?
- If you make it to this one…then repeat #4! Just have more sex, it always makes things better!
Like everything else in life, the more your practice something the better you get at it. It took me 14 years to be a surfer and it was a lot of hard work and dedication, it scared the crap out of me and it hurt. Sometimes it hurt a lot. But with practice and patience I have something in my life that I absolutely LOVE. Surfing! Relationships are the same, they require lots of practice, hard work and dedication. They may scare the crap out of you and they can sometimes hurt really badly! But with a lot of practice, patience and love of yourself you will find the relationship that you absolutely LOVE!