How many times have you fallen in love?  It’s easy for most people.  How many times have you been in a permanent loving relationship, and for how long?  A little more difficult.  Understatement.  A lot more difficult.

The Chinese concept of romantic love is that it is a form of insanity.  Probably an understatement.  Nature’s way of insuring survival of the species.  Endorphins flowing like crazy, excitement, euphoria and the absolutely illogical idea that we have found our life partner and will live forever in some sort of magical bliss.

Reality will set in

It usually takes a while for reality to set in, just long enough to insure some form of commitment.  Possibly even marriage.  Then comes reality which is one really difficult obstacle.  Two people, each reasonably independent, each with their own goals, views of life, way of behaving, upbringings and cultural background, educations and possibly educational level, and a myriad of habits.  A lot of room for differences.  A lot of room for some pretty bad conflict.

The good part is that all these difficulties can be overcome if the couple is willing to communicate with each other.  Not only communicate, but do their best to understand what the other person is trying to tell them.  Not only with words, but with actions and sometimes lack of action.

Being together successfully means to know and understand the other person to a great degree, and to go along with them on things that you don’t necessarily like or approve but can put up with.  When you feel the urge to fight with your partner, ask yourself if it is worth it.  Is it a minor point that pushes one of your buttons?

It’s a Learning Process

Permanent relationships are vastly instructive.  You get to know another person, learn how to work cooperatively with someone who in many ways is entirely different from you.  You learn a lot about yourself, and you learn how to remain reasonably kind and forgiving in difficult situations.  If you are willing to listen, you learn about your own behaviors that make the relationship difficult.  You can then choose to change these behaviors, in the interest of your relationship.

Want to improve your relationship?  Here’s a little game for you.  Find a place where you and your partner can be alone for half an hour.  No TV, no computer, a do not disturb sign on the door.  Just you and your partner.  Your mission is to really listen to what the other person has to say.  Repeat it back to them until they agree.  They do the same with you.

Repeat as needed, at least once a month.

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