I recently read this article 10 secrets to a loving, lasting relationship it had me questioning the whole concept of wanting the ‘recipe’ to success. While I think there are some great points in this article and I think it is a worthy read, I am concerned of a society that wants the ‘secrets’ or the ‘recipe’ or the most direct route.
There are two sides or more to this line of thought. I will focus on two in this blog. One being – it is good, even great that people want to know how. Two, does wanting to know mean there is a lack of the rich experiential learning that life gives us?
I think it is a safe call to say that people who decide to marry do not consider that they will be part of the divorce statistics in a few years time. People get married or decide a committed relationship for long term. Maybe there are people that do trial runs like in work situations. You take on a new relationship on a six month or a year trial run. I don’t know, I’m just being a bit cheeky here. Yes, I think it is great that people want more information and knowledge about relationships. There are tons of relationship self help books and articles as the above given. There are also lots of professional help out there such as relationship counsellors. Surely, that is a good sign that people want these resources and I think one can safely read into this as saying people want lasting relationships. The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that divorce rates have decreased by 2.4% from 2013 to 2014 of granted divorces. This does not account for other relationships who are not legally married. Knowledge and resources are good and it may be helping couples stay together. Saying that there were over 46, 000 granted divorces in Australia in 2014. I still find that an alarming rate.
Our world has changed so much yet lasting relationships are still yearned for. The change is fast pace. Faster computers, ipads, smart phones, cars, bikes, faster drying clothes, faster learning but faster relationships. This is not to assume at all that everyone wants to be with one person for a very long time. For those that do I wonder have the lines blurred with our fast paced world? Now, we don’t have to wait for a favourite program to come on TV we can just get it online or download it. We don’t look through our piles of recipe books any more we can just google it or watch it being prepared by someone else on youtube. Unless you have a really slow internet it is almost instantaneous and you can even watch it on your big screen TV. I’ve heard the argument that divorces are too easy these days rather than repairing their relationship. If some think divorces are too easy, then maybe marriages are too easy and the only difficult part is staying together. I don’t know – I’m just throwing some thoughts out there.
Back to point number two. How much information is useful to establish a lasting relationship? Which brings me to my personal influence for a lasting relationship. This couple who I am about to tell you about didn’t have all these resources that is available today. You see when I met them which is over fifteen years ago now they were celebrating their 50th Wedding anniversary. They didn’t have the internet, they may have had some books and they may have had some professional advice. Now, I’m not saying that all couples that have been together for fifty years are happy together, but indeed this couple were.
It was such a privilege to be in the presence of this couple. For me it was at a pivotal time in my life where hope needed to be restored. It was about three years after I had separated from my first husband. Personally, I didn’t get married to get divorced so I was pretty devastated at what had happened to my marriage. This couple restored my hope in lasting relationships as I had living proof that it can happen. Like other people in my generation we were the first wave to have divorced parents in Australia. Many of us didn’t have any role models for lasting relationships. This couple who I had over for dinner were just adorable. It was like having a young couple at dinner. What stood out for me was their togetherness. They were constantly responding to one another in a loving, joyful and cheeky fun way. I truly couldn’t believe how tender and spontaneous they were. It wasn’t uncomfortable, I didn’t feel I was intrusive, they didn’t exclude me in their conversations – it was just delightful. They were together yet separate, still exploring and discovering things together. Respectful, caring, fun loving and sharing are the words I would give to this couple to sum them up. How did they learn to be this way? How did they learn to stay together for so long? I don’t know how they would answer that? If I knew then what I know now – I may have asked them that. But then again maybe not and did what I did before – just soak up that experience of being with them. It certainly had a lasting impression with me.
As a relationship counsellor what would be my top tips for a lasting relationship?
- Heal yourself – do as much work on yourself prior to getting involved in a serious long term relationship. Seek professional help here if needed.
- Read up – Yes, knowledge is a good thing.
- Hang out with long term couples – We can learn a lot from other people.
- Communicate – This can be tricky. This is where professional help may be beneficial. What we want or think we say may be different to what some one else hears!
Every couple is different. What works for one couple may not necessarily work for another couple. This is the work of the couple to sort out. It can be a combination of many things that leads to the pathway of a lasting relationship. Like they say there are many routes to reach the top of the mountain, it is up to the couple to find what suits them. However, the underlying desire to reach the top of the mountain or the lasting relationship is undeniable love for each other.
Another good way to develop a loving and hopefully lasting relationship is to learn to dance together. Yes, I have seen relationships re-kindle and relationships form through dancing. For people in the Noosa & Sunshine Coast area I will have classes starting on Wednesday 10th February. Details are on my Classes page (or click the link).
One last tip – seek help sooner rather than later.
Yes, lasting relationships do exist and I have so much gratitude for the couple who showed me it was possible!