Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe for a Happy Relationship

What makes a relationship healthy? Why does it seem like every time I turn around, there's another female starving for more respect, more attention, more quality time while men sit comfortably complaining about their nagging girlfriends/fiancees/wives? Why are we taught to yearn for this perfect prince charming Cinderella and Snow White showed us would sweep us off our feet and introduce us to a life of bliss and singing forest animals?

Relationships are hard. No doubt about it. But as I sit and think about what would make a happy relationship to me, I realize this introspection is more difficult than expected. My therapist this morning gave me the assignment of drafting out what a happy marriage means to me. What with my doubts about marriage and distaste for the use "obey" in such sacred vows, I question all reasoning for saying "I do". Why do we create these semi-permanent bonds? What are we hoping to get out of them? These questions are more rhetorical than anything as I try to find my reasoning for wanting to be in a relationship, period.

Kay tells me a relationship should be about giving...about the concern of the other person's happiness rather than one's own. Okay, maybe that's not exactly what she said. What she means is people get into relationships expecting the other person to make them happy. We're together, now make me happy! My take away from this is that happiness should come from wanting to provide for another, take care of the other's feelings, needs, maybe sometimes even wants. I have found selfless giving to be a rewarding trait to have. However, where is the line drawn between giving and the other person taking for granted everything you do. How is the balance created if the giver becomes the resenter?

So what makes a happy marriage to me...let's see. Respect, honesty, appreciation, laughter, tickles, cuddle sessions, good food, shared responsibilities, daily acknowledgement of appreciation, praise in private and public, and genuine concern and admiration for your partner. Loving them through their worst and being able to see beauty in their imperfections. Willingness to dig for the root of toil rather than fix and forget. Hugs to comfort tears. Morning kisses. Gifts just because (yes, notes count). Never being too busy creating a living that you forget to create a home. Putting family first. Doing special things for each other, even after children come into play. Doing something that makes the other person happy, even if it's not on your top rated list (can we say dance lessons?). I'm sure much more will be added to the list over the years, but for now, I'd say that's a decent start for a smiling Ta-Ta :)

Until next time...
What's on your list?