Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How to sustain a fulfilling relationship.

Post 421 - These ideas are taken from “A Journal for all Relationships,” a new book by Vince and Sally Huntington, to be published later this year. The Huntingtons are psychotherapists and are licensed as Marriage and Family Therapists. Together, they hosted a radio show in San Diego for 10-years where they were able to empirically test and formally research their observations on what defines a fulfilling relationship.

They found that true love, once found, continues only with the exchange of promises to: “please meet my needs by helping me have good feelings and help me not to have bad feelings.” As long as this exchange continues, they say, the feelings of love will continue.

However, relationships are complicated by our shifting needs for togetherness on the one hand, and autonomy on the other. Running from or trying to avoid one extreme or the other can be confusing to sort out. A major challenge is to be able to openly tell your partner when either loneliness or feeling smothered begins to rule your life. They say people don’t ‘fall out of love.’ They simply misidentify the natural shifts which take place between one extreme or the other of this wonder of human existence. So it’s vital to learn the shifts of that person who brought you the love you share.

They’ve also identified six critical areas which need to be well understood and consciously catered to for loving relationships to continue to be fulfilling. These relationships cease to be nourishing when:

(1) Basic trust is taken for granted but never actually defined.

(2) Communication fails (she/he just doesn’t hear you) and anger begins to rule.

(3) Family presence obstructs the life style of the relationship (parent pressures, ill child, siblings, step-parenting, etc.).

(4) Money styles clash (savers versus spenders).

(5) Sex and affection are misunderstood, are out of sync, or out of control.

(6) Couples forget that they’re individuals and unconsciously or unwillingly lose their individuality in the marriage.

They suggest a key question for each party in the relationship is to ask themselves: "Can I be in a relationship with this person without losing who I am?" If the answer is no, then it's time to move on.


Blending Families said...

You have great tips here. Although couples in blending families need to maintain their individuality as a person, they also need to remember that in marriage, two persons become one. They should think and grow together with their partner.

john cotter said...

I totally agree. Thanks for reading my daily musings.