April 12, 2011
Contributed by Nadia Persun, PhD
Your marriage is far from perfect. It’s a work in progress, a path seeded with joy and mistakes. But it’s the only chance to try to create more good memories than bad, more joy than grief, and to preserve some enduring sense of happiness along the way. It is a process with no final destination but small victories and moments of closure. You try hard, you take it seriously, but often fail.
You are not expressing things right to your spouse, mostly because you barely understand them yourself. Other times you are talking out of stress and fear. Your spouse does the same and for the same reasons. Trying to talk it out, you both say too much, too loud. Then you can’t hear each other, talking over each other, busy arguing about who is right. You fight about respect, fairness and appreciation, shouting so loudly that it hurts your eardrums, often using one sided and self serving arguments. Answers and solutions drown in the excess of words and volume. Common sense leaves the room, as emotions spill over the space in vanity.
There will be more arguments and painful conversations that go past midnight. But there will also be love confessions where you say or hear something important and defining that gives hope and helps sort it all out. There will also be kisses and embraces that make your heart race and speechless moments of genuine connection that bring tears to your eyes. That wicked cycle of raw constructive and destructive emotions, the mix of passion of a bipolar nature, keeps it all going, helps put things in perspective and reject a possibility of separation even at the hardest times. Exhausted, you may even question if it’s worth it. But then you sleep on it, and wake up in the morning with a new hope and a feeling in your heart: there is still work to be done, happiness to be had, arguments to be created and resolved, for better or worse, together.
April 5, 2011
Contributed by Sharla Vittorio, MA
Having meaningful, healthy relationships is fun, challenging, and ultimately what we strive for in our every day lives! They are all about honesty, trust and compromise. Relationships can bring us happiness and improve our physical and emotional health. In fact, through relating with others, we have the potential for personal growth and individuality. Research tells us that if we have healthy relationships, we will feel more satisfied overall. Here are some useful tips to help improve your own relationships.
Have reasonable expectations
The reality is no one can be perfect or meet our own laundry list of criteria. Accept people for who they are and recognize that we don’t have the power to change other people. We can only change ourselves. In addition, setting expectations too high only frustrates you.
This cannot be stressed enough ands tends to be taken for granted. Talking and listening to each other is imperative to the success of any relationship. Be in the moment and genuinely listen…without interruption. Listen with both your ears and heart as emotional messages can also be conveyed.
Be dependable and trustworthy
If you make plans with someone, keep them. Same goes for deadlines and other responsibilities. Being reliable shows your commitment and reinforces trust.
Get along fairly
Relationships will have conflicts. Accept it! You will not always be in agreement and that’s perfectly okay. How we cope with these bumps in the road is what matters most. Therefore, when a conflict does arise, decide on a good time to have a discussion about it. Don’t attempt to communicate when feeling angry or tired. The phrase “sleep on it” comes to mind. Avoid criticism but rather use assertiveness to attack the problem, not the person.
Be yourself… be balanced
We are all yearning for the “work-life” balance in our daily routines. Is your life balanced? Implement healthy boundaries to assure there is time for you. This will greatly improve your relationships and you will experience greater contentment overall. That means building downtime into your schedule as a little relaxation goes along way. Other people make our lives more rewarding but can’t be everything. Healthy relationships are not those that are dependent!