the key to successful relationships

Imagemy sister sent me this article, because she knows how much i love all things marriage.

the article explains what is the key to successful and happy relationships. the answer? an environment of love and support, created by kindness and generosity.  this means being kind in hard times and generous in good times.

what to do:

– respond to what your partner shares with you. (“look, a bird!” “oh cool!”, etc)

– share your likes and interests with your partner

– express kindness and empathy during fights

– assume the best intentions

– when your partner shares good news, respond with positivity, focus on them, and ask follow up questions

but these tips don’t just apply to married couples. with every relationship in our life, we should use these pointers.  Not only will they strengthen our relationships, but it will also be excellent practice, so that when we do them with our partner, it will be second nature.

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what is love?

recently, i read an article from “hellogiggles”. it’s all about how to tell when you love someone.  up to this year, i wondered about this a lot. i know a lot of people who wonder about this, too.

the author explores love as the metaphor as a plane ride, and you can jump or pilot the plane.  a simple, easy metaphor.  the article had excellent quotes.  here are a few of my favorites:

“Love is making a choice every single day, to either love or not love.  That’s it.  It’s that simple.  Either to continue the process or not. We fall in and out of love.  Even in relationships, especially in relationships.  This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person.  It means we are left with a choice.  There is a difference between feeling love for someone (caring about a person), and loving someone (choosing to love that person).  You may have love for someone forever.  But that doesn’t mean you choose to love that person forever.”

to think of love as a choice seems highly unromantic and super logical, but i couldn’t believe it more whole-heartedly. we have so much more control over our lives than we give ourselves credit for.  we choose our emotions, our feelings.  if we can choose to not hate someone, we can choose to love someone.

“Although love varies, it also deepens. This means the longer you stay on that flight and embark on the journey together, the more fruit the process will bare. Your investment pays off. Your choices become easier. You not only become stronger as a couple, but also as individuals, assuming the love process is healthy – which means you guys are both doing work. The choice to love creates opportunity to hit notes in life that you could never hit alone and THIS is what makes your choice worth it.”

this quote makes me think of something my mother told me once. she told me, “affection grows as your commitment does.” it makes me so sad when people give up after a short time.  work pays off.  the same is true for a career and the same is true for relationships.

“So how do you know if it’s love? That is not the question to ask. The question is do you choose to love this person or not? Right now. Not tomorrow. Today. Make a choice. Yes or no. If the answer is yes, love as hard as you can. Love with everything you’ve got (your capacity right now at this point in your life). If the answer is no, promise me one thing.

Let the fall make you stronger.”

the author’s closing advice is so key.  if someone is draining your energy or if you are miserable with someone, don’t stick it out just for the sake of sticking it out. if you see no potential in a relationship, decide that day to jump out.  if you see potential (or if you don’t see a lack of potential) don’t jump out, and instead give that love all you’ve got.  you jump or you strengthen.  you don’t get both.

i’ve been in situations when i knew i wasn’t happy, but instead of just jumping, i sat in the hypothetical plane, letting it fly on autopilot rather than taking the wheel and flying the pane.  eventually, i did jump, but i was miserable and had wasted time.  i also know people who have a good plane flight going, but for whatever reason, they decide to jump.  they miss out on views, experiences and possibly the best thing that ever happened to them.  in the end, staying on a flight too long is just as heartbreaking as jumping too soon.

so called failure

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i just got back from my ward’s campout.  as a group of singles, it’s not shocking that dating and relationships were on all of our minds. what did shock me though is what we were saying about dating and relationships.  i’ve said all these things, too.  but when i sat down and actually listened to what we were saying i felt icky.

girl a: they asked me to be a counselor for girl’s camp, but i’m just a single girl.  i’m not married.  what was i supposed to do? say, ‘well, it hasn’t worked out for me. but there’s still hope for you’?

girl b: well, we all fail at something, or we wouldn’t be in a single’s ward.

icky, right?

i refuse to feel like a failure because i’m single. in fact, i refuse to feel like a failure for anything. and you shouldn’t either.

quote via

dear future husband:

i recently read this quote from comedian Mindy Kaling, “I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they’re dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun. I want to hear about it because I know it’s possible, and because I want it for myself.”

it made me think about how sometimes in relationships, we dwell on the bad things. you chomp your gum.  i zone out whenever you talk about sports, etc.  perhaps, instead of thinking of all these bad things, we focus on the good things: i gave excellent back rubs, and you make me see the type of person i want to be.

you in? you willing to focus on those positives with me?

x leslie