Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, February 13, 2011

10 Secrets for a Lasting Relationship

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching I figured I would do a special post for those in relationships, working towards a relationship, or desperately wondering why they’re not in a relationship. Last month marked fifteen fabulous years I’ve shared with my partner. I keep hearing from my single friends (and good God there are a lot of them) about how difficult it is to find and keep a mate. So on the eve of Valentine’s day I feel I need to offer this challenge to those struggling to find their “happily ever after.” Maybe the problem is you.

I keep hearing the same arguments over and over and over again: “He just wasn’t my type.” “The dating pool is so shallow here.” “All men are dogs.” It may be time to do some personal reflections because the problems do always lie externally. Remember, the only common denominator in all those bad relationships have been YOU! And I don’t want you to take this offensively. I am in no way trying to be judgmental or sarcastic. I am sincerely trying to offer helpful advice that could point you towards a relationship that is mutually beneficial, fun and long-lasting.

Unfortunately I’ve witnessed friends repeatedly make awful relationship decisions. Now I know what works for one person does not necessarily work for the next. But there are some truths that are just universal and I feel apply to almost all couples.

So below are some notes from me that I hope will help you in your quest for the love of your life. These are my laws of relationships that all should abide by. I hope you find them helpful.

Law 1. Relationships are not based on sex alone. I have quite a few friends that are meeting their “dates” on hook-up sites. Oftentimes they meet on Adam4Adam or Craigslist and their initial face-to-face contact is exclusively to have sex. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. It is important to have a healthy sexual release. But be a realist. Know that a hook up is just that - a hook up. And for those that really do enjoy courting and dating, in the beginning the sex usually is phenomenal. As time goes on, the limerace disappears and the sex may not happen as often. This is the normal progression of a relationship. This is not a sign that it is time to flee.

Law 2. There is no happily ever after. Far too often I have witnessed friends dismiss potential partners after just one disagreement. And usually it is over something petty, trivial or just plain stupid. I mean really – is it worth leaving someone great just because he/ she didn’t replace the roll of toilet paper. In all relationships there is going to be some discourse. The only way to stand the test of time will be to reflect on how you react in the rough times. I’m not saying you need to stay in an abusive relationship, but I am saying that you will never find someone you agree from now through eternity.

Law 3. If you were miserable before your relationship then you will be miserable in your relationship. Many people long for the perfect relationship because they think it will end whatever unhappiness or depression they are experiencing in their life. I have some really shocking news I have to share with you. You will never find happiness by looking for it outside of yourself. As much as I love Anita Baker’s You Bring Me Joy, that joy is only fulfilling if you already have self love. Having a special person in your life is not going to make you happy if you cannot make yourself happy. I hate to be the one that disappoints you but that’s just the way it is.

Law 4. The perfect mate does not exist. Don’t expect to change your partner into what you want them to be. Don’t think that with your help you can make him/ her into a better person. You must love and accept your partner as is – flaws and all. This is a tricky law because it is still very important that you know what your boundaries are. You cannot expect to love a person long term that doesn’t respect you and your boundaries. If smoking cigarettes is deal breaker for you then why in the world would you think can make a smoker “the one.” There is a difference between boundaries and preferences and people often mistake the two. Know your boundaries and if you enter into a relationship with a person that does not adhere to them that is more a bad reflection on you than on your mate. Your significant other will never live up to all the things that you want in a partner. Be able to love him/her as is.

Law 5. It is okay to have separate interests. My boo loves computer gaming. If he could he would marry his computer. I really don’t get it. I’ve tried playing World Of Warcraft and it held my interest for all of thirty seconds. I have an ungodly almost supernatural love of music. NeoSoul/ R&B. Hip-Hop. Pop. Even country. My partner could care less about new music Tuesdays but each week I have to check billboard.com to find out which artists are releasing something new. I don’t harass him about his computer time and he doesn’t bother me about my CD collection. And we have found a way to meet in the middle. I love all comic movies (X-Men, Fantastic 4, Spiderman, etc). Now we have discovered Comicon and we can both have our geek tendencies fed together at one event.

Law 6. Common Values are a Must. Different interests are one thing but different values are a totally separate subject. One thing I’ll agree with my old pastor on is this - “you must be equally yoked.” That means that the core values, principles and morals of one partner must be shared by the other. Let’s be real, a Christian and a crackhead trying to make it work just aren’t going to go the distance. A person that values monogamy is not going to last long term with a person that is interested in an open relationship. You must have a moral center equal to that of your partner.

Law 7. Don’t Always Take Advice From Your Friends. As much as I think this is a no brainer, this is really one of the biggest culprits in ending relationships. I want to know how is it that my friends, most of whom are single, feel they are equipped with the knowledge to save my relationship. Now if you’re talking to someone that is in a successful long term relationship and may actually know a little something about how to make one work, by all means listen. But oftentimes your friends speak from their own viewpoint. Just because they would react a certain way in a situation does not mean that is the way you should react in a relationship. Do what works for you and what feels right for you.

Law 8. Keep People Out of Your Business. For many this rule ties closely with the last rule (regarding your friends). You know how people say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” That should apply to what happens between you and your partner also. If there is trouble in your home and you need external help, go to a professional. There is nothing wrong with seeing a couple’s counselor. But be weary of sharing all the intimate, personal details of your relationship with others close to you. The reality is people do not always have your best interest in mind. Misery really does love company.

Law 9. Allow your partner room to grow. As I stated earlier, Chris and I have been together for fifteen. I am not the same person I was fifteen years ago. He is not the same person he was fifteen years ago. Change is a necessary part of life and as your partner evolves you need to give them the space they need to become the person they are destined to be. With patience, love, acceptance, respect and communication, everyone involved can have personal development that helps (not hinders) the relationship.

Law 10. Don’t Take Your Partner For Granted. It takes two people to make a relationship (or three or more if you’re into that). The point is, you cannot always be “me” focused if you want your relationship to last long term. Sometimes you need to give your mate the attention they need. Do something to show your affection. You will be surprised at how far a spontaneous massage or breakfast in bed or an unexpected gift can go. Do something to show your partner that you care.

I hope this advice helps someone. These rules have worked for me and I really think if you apply them in your relationship they will work for you also. But I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know everything. So if you have any additional tidbits that can help someone in their relationship, please feel free to share.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing your advice! I find what you wrote to be very true and wise.