The Secret to Lasting Love
As seen in the February/March 2015 issue of Creations Magazine
Cindy and Tom are stuck in a power struggle, each convinced the other is the problem. According to Cindy, Tom never gives her what she wants — more attention and time to have fun together. As the youngest of six children, Cindy is accustomed to getting a lot of attention and having things go her way, so now she expects this from her husband. Tom says Cindy wants too much and that her demands push him away. He learned from his strict, critical father to be logical and hard working, and to suppress his spontaneous, fun-loving side. Tom thinks he gives a lot by working to support his family, but it never seems to be enough for his wife. Cindy is left wanting and waiting, while Tom is withholding.
Like most couples, Tom and Cindy’s relationship began with passion, excitement, openness and love. Their strong attraction for each other and desire to be together led to marriage. But all too soon, wedded bliss turned to friction and frustration. Although they say they still love each other, they are unable to navigate the road blocks that keep them in a perpetual state of distress, each trying to get something from the other that seems illusive.
Cindy and Tom are not alone in their confusion about what went wrong in their relationship to bring them so far from where they began. This, in a nutshell, is the dilemma of many couples who are stuck, lost and unable to find their way back to the love they once shared. They are left wondering if true, lasting love is really possible. The answer is a resounding, YES! Most people, however, are doing the exact opposite of what it takes to make love last.
The beginning stage of a relationships shows us the key to lasting love. When we first fall in love, we have a strong desire to give to and please our partner. All we want to do is make him or her happy. We are not concerned about our own needs, yet we are content and seem to have everything our heart desires. Life is wonderful when we are in love. No wonder we try so hard to stay in that blissful state! Once the initial falling in love stage passes and we settle in to normalcy, something changes… and not in a good way! Suddenly we are aware of all the things our partner is doing wrong instead of right. We no longer know how to please each other. Or is something else going on that we’re not aware of? While it appeared as though we didn’t have needs of our own, we suddenly are only focused on what our partner is or isn’t giving to us. Once we try to get our own needs met through our partner, everything seems to fall apart. It could be that we have forgotten this truth: It is by giving that we actually receive more than we could ever want or need!
Power struggles are the result of fighting for control and trying to get your partner to meet your needs. Once you are looking for something from your partner that you are not giving to yourself, you make him or her responsible for your happiness. Trying to control someone else’s behavior in order to get your needs met is a form of codependency. While a codependent relationship feels loving at the beginning, it is actually based on need. Healthy intimacy, on the other hand, is based on love. You must having a loving relationship with yourself before you can truly give love to another.
The key is to do what will make your partner happy. If you are each meeting each other’s needs, then you both get what you want. While the goal is to be healthy, independent and able to take care of yourself, in a relationship you need to be able to be vulnerable and allow your partner to take care of you as well. There must be a balance of giving and receiving. Otherwise the relationship is polarized with one person doing all the giving, and the other person doing all the taking.
If you find yourself thinking what I am suggesting seems impossible, then you have some work to do. The first step is developing a healthy relationship with yourself so you will have love to give to your partner.
Tips To Make Love Last
1. Put each other first.
2. Give more than you’re asking for.
3. Be grateful for what you have and are given.
4. Shower each other with love, attention and appreciation.
5. Trust your heart. It never lies!
Just following these simple tips can move your relationships from the battleground to the playground, where your life is easier and much more fun!