In Long-Term Relationships Be Lovers, and Friends Too (457 words)

My wife, Regina, and I recently returned from Boston (we live in the Los Angeles area) where we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and spent several days playing tourist. For our 30th, I surprised her with a trip to Honolulu, of which she had no knowledge until I told her the day before we left. This time I asked her where she wanted to go and she selected Boston. Her choice surprised me, however she had never been to Boston, and I offered her the choice.

Now that our sons are grown, we tend to do most of our traveling around my speaking engagements (mostly warm weather locations) but this trip was different. We had no agenda, no worrying about clients-just enjoying the role of being tourists; did the JFK Museum, Freedom Trail (two days), Cambridge, and Salem (feel free to check out the photos at my Facebook page). Even though Boston was her choice, we both really did have a wonderful time with one another, walking our feet to the bone in Boston and its environs, enjoying the pastries on the North Side, and hitting a number of pubs.

Grow Even in the Rocky Times

While we have had our rocky times, which are truly unavoidable, we still like each other and enjoy each other’s company; this my friends is an important secret in successful relationships. Long-term relationships must be about give and take, about helping the other to grow, and about recognizing that the other will never be perfect-God knows-I’ve written before about my own control freak tendencies. However there is no excuse for any person to hold onto an unwillingness to experience personal growth.

Building the Long-Term Relationship

Ultimately, in building a fulfilling long-term relationship, each participant has to be willing to receive, give, and help the other to improve-I didn’t say shove personal improvement down their throat. Rather, each has to be there for the other, especially in your partner’s time of weakness or vulnerability to extend a helping hand. It is rare that both will grow at the same pace, so the more growth partner must understand and accept their role until the tide has turned-and it will. Every day will not be blissfully wonderful. However, every day will be another piece of the relationship foundation.

Put forth the effort, even on the crummy relationship days. Keep your goal in mind…hopefully that is growing old together. When you focus on the Total Value of your long-term relationship over what might be happening today, you will have a winning formula. And I must ask you this all important question:

In addition to being lovers, are you also friends?

If you are friends, that will help you to overcome numerous challenges together. Happy Loving…