Sunday, February 12, 2012

Staying Together

I occasionally read several blogs on dating and I'm sometimes put off by the profound immaturity and selfishness, the lack of self-awareness, the seeming complete ignorance as to what real love is about.  By mid-life junior high school emotional development should be long past.  So I'm again posting from therapist Sarah Brokaw's book Fortytude.  The chapter on relationships was of special interest.  In it she lists specific behaviors to keep relationships healthy.  Obvious as the points seem those dating blogs make clear reiteration is worthwhile. 

- Cultivate a friendship with your partner by taking time every day to confide in one another, listening attentively to each other's feelings and ideas.

- Actively nurture respect by paying attention to your partner's positive qualities.  Focus on what attracted you to each other in the first place.

- Always behave respectfully toward one another. Never call each other names, belittle each other or make unkind comments in front of other people.

- Validate each other.  Pay each other compliments.  You have the power to tear each other down, but you also have the power to build each other up.

- Listen to each other...  healthy couples share power.

- Forgive.  You won't survive if you can't move past harm the other person has caused.  It may take some time, but find a way to work through it together.

- Take a break.  When a conflict heats up, issues are more likely to appear.  Step away for twenty minutes to calm your body down, and then resume the conversation.

- Pick your battles.  Not everything is worth fighting for; some things you just need to let go.

- Keep things positive.  Gottman's research has shown that a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions makes a relationship last.

- Work on yourself.  Don't put all the responsibility on your partner's shoulders.  You are half of the relationship.
Bonnie & Clyde - photo from

It could be deemed ironic to show criminals in a post lamenting immaturity.  In defense of romantic rosy glasses, Bonnie was deeply in love with Clyde and stuck by him through very tough times - even to their bullet riddled death.  Do they still make that kind of passion?  I haven't found it.

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