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Feb 5, 2010

The Secret to Love that Lasts

Well if you haven’t been keeping up, February is relationships month on SOLO dot MOM. With Valentine’s Day around the corner and the official one year anniversary for me and , what better time to talk about relationships.urban scene

I can talk about relationships all day and they don’t have to be romantic; all relationships in our lives are important and worth evaluating to make them better.  With this thought in the back of my mind, I recently read a blogpost, “The Key to Lasting Love May Surprise You,” by my fave author, Donald Miller.  He references an article found in magazine, titled: , by Robert Epstein. 

There were several exercises outlined in the original article that the author also uses in the classroom as they study increasing bonds in relationships.  They range from “Soul Gazing” (staring into the eyes of your partner) to “Let Me Inside” (closing in on each other’s space intentionally getting as close as you can without touching) or “Secret Swap” (sharing a deep secret).  Through research he has determined these to be effective “Love Building Exercises” increasing positive affection toward the other person (even when they were strangers). Several exercises make up his full list. 

I enjoyed Miller’s post and  after reading the mentioned article in full I could appreciate his summarizing positivity as a key factor.  He also mentions another article, The Happy Couple by Suzann Pileggi which highlights the fact that “thriving couples accentuate the positive” in life as a couple. Recently I shared about being a cheerleader for your spouse in my .  It’s nothing new for me to agree with this idea.

So is this the secret key to long lasting happy marriages?  Keeping a positive attitude and approaching your significant other with the idea that the glass is half full not half empty will be encouraging, uplifting, and should be reciprocated… well most of the time.  So that’s promising.

Michele Dortch shares in her latest blogpost some other keys that I think are also important and tie in with with this idea.  She reviews the book, titled: The Language of Love & Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate by: Dr. Emerson Eggrichs.  The communication ‘codes’ simplified are: for the ladies to communicate respect to their spouse and for the men to communicate love.  How profound.

Perhaps there is more than one key to happy long lasting relationships.  Communication and commitment also rank pretty high.  But trying them out and keeping them in the forefront of our minds are more important than just knowing what they are.  Practice makes perfect.  So I plan to practice these keys.  I know I have tried to be a positive person for many years, but I also know there are times I can speak with a lack of respect to someone (especially those closest to me).  Even if it’s subtle disrespect, it still is… disrespect.  I’m just being transparent.

This is where I want to focus on my relationship skills: communicating with respect consistently. And this goes for all relationships in my life: with my children, Mr. M., family members, and friends.  Now that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try out those other “love building exercises” I read about.  “Soul Gazing” sounds interesting, for example as well as “Let Me Inside”.  But respect will be primary.

February is not only going to be relationship focus month, but also having fun in your relationships month!  Well… you know what I mean.

Leave a comment below with what you consider to be a key to happy long lasting relationships.

Find yourself… keeping it real

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress.com/dip


Laura Sherman said...

I am happy to report that I have been married for 17 years now. Wow, that's pretty cool isn't it?

Communication is key. However people can take that in the wrong direction, I think. I try to communicate in a way that my husband can accept easily. I say what I think, but I have learned HOW to say it and WHEN. (In the middle of the Super Bowl, for instance, isn't the right time)

A good friend once told me that he felt the best approach was to be the best partner one could be for the other person. Focus on them, not you. He's been married longer than I.

And finally it is crucial to make time for you and your spouse. You must always build your marriage, continually. We have three young children now and have recently put back in "date night". We had forgotten this important ingredient for a while. We try to go out a few times a month now and it really increased our mutual affinity.

Thank you for your article!

Laya's Blog said...

I agree that one should approach relationships with a positive attitude. Constantly looking for faults or as you said it, seeing the glass as half empty, is not the best way to approach a relationship.
I feel this is the key to any relationship.Even good and lasting friendships.

Anonymous said...

I have been married for almost 26 years. I cant say it has always been easy. My husband has had significant medical issues so I am often more of a cargiver than a spouse.

We have used humor and gratitude to make our marriage work. We focus on the positive aspects of each day.

Katherine said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies. And wow 26 years, Julia - that is commendable, I must say; but so is 17 years, Laura. Your comments are good advice for anyone in their early stages of a relationship or marriage. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

Very nice and intrestingss story.

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