For Healthy, Happy Relationships, here are some basic guidelines for reference. They are in alphabetical order only, not order of importance.
Acceptance – Don’t try to change someone. This is a must. If a person really wants to change, that person will need to be motivated and take action. Also regarding acceptance, accept limitations. He is not Superman; you are not Wonder woman. No one is perfect; so do not expect perfection. Accept the little flaws that come with each person. You accept theirs; they accept yours. That’s life!
Bonding – Bonding with another person generally does take time. Communicate – talk, listen, share the good and the bad, ask questions, compliment instead of nag or insult. In short be a friend; make a friend. That is healthy. If this bonding is lacking, it may mean professional help is needed (like a counselor or therapist) or it may be time to move on to healthier relationships.
Communications – Be open to the other person. Check judgmental attitudes at the door. And give chances. Be fair, flexible and friendly. If and when things get out of hand and it is your fault, apologize and ask forgiveness and move on. Similarly, be acceptable to apologies and grant forgiveness, too. Life is too short to stay focused on the negative too long. No need to deny it; face it, deal with it and move on past it to improve and strengthen your relationships.
Dependable – Be a friend; i.e. be dependable. Things happen from time to time and cancellations are a part of life. But on the whole, if you say you’ll do something, do it. Take responsibility for your own actions.
Expectations – Movies, romance novels and television shows often portray life, especially human relationships, very differently than it is in the real world – this is no secret. How many people really always look like movie stars, have zero health ailments, endless income without hardly ever going to work, fabulous cars and homes, friends and family who totally adore them and come to their beckon call, no long-term problems because they all end so quickly, etc.? And who can battle serious issues like one person having an affair with someone else, and wrap the whole storyline up in two hours? Get real. Expect a little less than the media portray and learn more about humans by joining the real world scenario.
Flexible – Keep a little mystery in the relationship. Juggle your schedule and invite the other person to a surprise picnic or walk at a local public park area.
Goals – People usually have some goals together over time. Develop some together. Toss what no longer works, what you outgrew or what may no longer seem important or is finished. And then inherit or create new goals. Working toward a common cause like saving for an annual vacation or a new garden area can help people grow together.
Health – Take care of your own health and encourage others, too. Even in this day and age of cable television with movies and the Internet available 24 / 7, it’s still amazing the number of people out there who can’t “Just say no” to unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drug abuse. Don’t be afraid to share your healthy views and encourage healthy choices and living.
Intimacy – Closeness with a person takes time to develop. And there’s more to intimacy than physical contact. Intimacy can mean a hug during a tough time, a smile of encouragement in the face of adversity and compassion when you least feel like giving. Don’t abuse or take advantage or the other person. And don’t let yourself be abused or taken advantage of. Intimacy takes commitment and sharing.
Just say no – You don’t always have to be voiceless or agree with someone in a relationship. Be able to say, “No” and be an individual, too.
Keep in Touch – Don’t let life separate you too long. With technology today, you can stay in touch with cell phones and email. No need to overdo it and be obsessive and controlling, but do stay in touch off and on throughout the day with quick “Hellos” and “How things are going?”
Lemonade – Make lemonade out of those relationship lemons. And “yes” there will be some, since life is not perfect! For example, when your partner is late and you miss a movie date or restaurant reservation, don’t make it a night of terror and destroy what’s left when you finally do get together. Do something else instead, like relax at home with a video and scented candles, and order subs (and lemonade!)
Make the Honeymoon Last – Remember how your felt when you first got together? Do those little things that you did at the beginning and make the honeymoon last. Bring home fresh flowers, shut off the television, turn on some music and dance with your mate, compliment your mate, make dates to go to places you used to frequent (the old neighborhood pizza parlor, a local drive in, a hotel you went to on your honeymoon, etc.)
Nuts and Bolts – Don’t focus so much on the “nuts and bolts” of who said what, when, how often and why they were wrong…. In other words, sometimes during an argument, try losing your memory of who did what, when and how many times in the past. Instead, humble yourself, apologize for having messed up and hug your mate.
Open – Open windows when doors close. If you feel you’ve been pushed to the limit and don’t want to try one more time, close the door on that angle of the issue. Take a walk, get some ice cream and cool off (literally). Then return relaxed and refreshed, and open a window to air differences.
Parental Issues – Even the best of relationships deal with someone’s past parental issues from time to time. Counseling can help, yes, but something out of the blue can still trigger a parental issue that someone struggles to deal with regardless of age. In these cases, just realizing and stating that it’s normal, may never get resolved and it is okay to move on, can work wonders – for both parties.
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Quality – With hectic schedules, quality time is important. So even if you can only meet to watch a 30-minute comedy together every evening, make and keep that date. You’ll probably be especially glad you did when times get tough and have the wonderful memories to help get you by.
Respect – Respect not only each other, but each other’s property, friendships, time, job and …everything. Remember you are sharing life together and need to be courteous to one another.
Sharing – Likewise share and don’t be stingy. “You reap what you sow,” and “You can’t take it with you” when you die, as the sayings go.
Trust – Healthy relationships involve people who trust one another. One person doesn’t get involved in unhealthy risks with a third party or lie to the other. There is an open, positive exchange of trust. So if this is lacking, seek help from a professional counselor, if necessary, and see what’s wrong.
Understanding – Happy, healthy couples try to understand each other even if it means joining a self-help group, reading library books about something foreign or unknown, or taking time to research and delve into an issue. In other words, take time to gain knowledge and wisdom before jumping the gun on something you may not really understand.
Violence – Violence is not welcome, period. Don’t accept it. Don’t dish it out. Anger Management is not just a movie term today. There really is help out there if you or your mate needs it.
Warning Signs – Healthy people are generally alert to warning signs of trouble and head them off. Denial isn’t part of their life.
X-Ray – Happy people in healthy relationships generally don’t look at each other as they look at x-rays. They don’t see close-ups of each flaw and character make up. They learn to look beyond the bare essentials and see the whole person.
Youthful Attitude – A youthful attitude can go far in relationships. Old outlooks can spawn resentment, skepticism and other negative connotations. A little dose of daily humor (reading comics, watching or listening to comedy, etc.) and keeping in touch with youth (church activities, neighborhood / social nonprofit functions and events, etc.) can help maintain a fresh, youthful outlook.
Zombie – Don’t go through life like you’re a zombie! It’s not up to your mate to fulfill your life. You need to take charge yourself!