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Saturday, February 21, 2009
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Why do some couples stay happy together for a lifetime, while others are in conflict almost from the beginning?
Part of the answer is compatibility - making the initial choice of a partner with whom you share common values. Equally much, however, depends upon the choices each partner chooses to make during the relationship. Here are seven choices made by happy couples:
1. Trust: Suspicion and jealousy are the death knell of any relationship. If the other is going to cheat or otherwise dishonor the relationship, suspicion and jealousy will not prevent it, and such a relationship is fatally flawed in any case. Unwarranted suspicion and jealousy create misery in a surprising number of relationships. If you want to live happily, trust your partner completely. If they dishonor your trust, deal with the situation then. In the meanwhile, you will have been happy.
2. Open Communication: Tell the truth, tell the whole truth. If you didn't want to share your whole life with your partner, why are you together? If you make a mistake, admit it. If you have doubts, talk about them. Secrets and lies kill a relationship. With truth and openness anything is possible. Even if something is unforgivable, it is better to deal with it quickly.
3. Honoring the other's point-of-view: People disagree, couples disagree. Understanding that the two partners in a couple remain individuals is crucial to a happy relationship. Why would you expect that you and your partner should agree on everything? Honor that one of you is a Republican and the other a Democrat. Honor that one of you is a vegetarian and the other loves a great steak.
4. Self-Confidence: Co-dependence is another frequent cause of failed relationships. Happy couples know that they don't need each other. Each partner is a completely whole and valid individual who has entered into a voluntary partnership. Neither "owns" the other, nor "can't live without" the other. Each has their own interests and friends, as well as having mutual interests and friends.
5. Generosity: Greed and selfishness kill relationships. True love is generous in spirit. Mostly, generosity is not about material things, although that is also important. To have a happy relationship, be generous of your time, your love, and your attention.
6. Forgiveness: Resentments and thoughts of revenge and vengeance have no place in a happy relationship. Happy couples forgive each other completely for everything the other has ever done or failed to do - no exceptions.
7. Gratitude: Happy couples are continuously grateful for each other. Every day there are a myriad of reasons to be grateful for your partner. Find those reasons each day, and thank your partner every day.