Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mission of this blog.

Many blogs set out to offer random thoughts about a variety of subjects. The mission of this blog is to offer information on relationships that can aid you in negotiating (I know this isn't a very romantic term) a mutually satisfying relationship. Also, I want to help you understand that relationships can survive periods when you or your partner becomes dissatisfied and uncertain of your commitment to the relationship.

This brings me to my initial offerring - what is a commitment to a relationship? Commitment is not measured in feelings. Rather, commitment is measured in willingness to work toward a mutually satisfying relationship. There is an argument to be made for many important elements of commitment, but I will highlight four. First is availability. Individual pursuits must be balanced with making your relationship a priority. Not only must you be physically present, but also emotionally available to your spouse. Men and women have different emotional needs at different times, but both need their mate to express emotions through words and actions.

The second element of commitment is a willingness to share yoursef. It is common to hold back important parts of yourself to others, but you feel closest to those whom you reveal the most. Your partner should know you best because you have been able to be open to him or her more than with anyone else. Think about those friends and family members to whom you have revealed your typically hidden self. Chances are that those relationships contained the third element of commitment, acceptance.

You feel accepted when your mate is able to understand your feelings, is able to "walk a mile in your moccasins" and resists judging you. Acceptance is not the same as agreeing with you, just that your partner makes the effort to understand you and values your right to your views, feelings and desires.

The final element is a shared responsibility for relationship problems. Couples typically come into my office with the hope that I will appreciate their suffering in their marriage and that I will convince their partner to change. This approach never leads to change, only a pattern of defensiveness. Couples must find mutual solutions to problems. The only solutions that work are ones in which each partner is able to see a role for themselves in bringing about change.

Take a moment to assess whether you offer these four elements to your partner and whether you, in turn, receive them. If not, take time to have discussions with your partner that focus on giving and receiving these elements. You will find that the relationship will become more enjoyable and that you will find each other more attractive.

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