Get Real About Relationships

Loving somebody sometimes means letting them go. Not everyone in life is going to accept who you are, what you stand for and your character defects. But at the end of the day, some things won’t change.  And we are created uniquely for a reason. If you have to change for someone to accept you, don’t.

Too often in marriages when people marry young, they are not fully able to understand the commitment involved with forging a relationship with a lifetime mate.  They are twice as likely to end in divorce.  Interesting that Divorce360.com suggests the ideal age to wait is late twenties before taking that huge step.  Younger couples marrying can be more for reasons related more to the stage of development they are in, through no fault of their own. Thus when one changes or grows the other spouse is left in the windfall. How likely is it that two individuals will mature at the same rate?  Even if they do, often times, one looks at the other as they mature and realizes loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean they are a lifetime match.  What’s more, divorce is so easy to obtain. 

Success rates for marriages are compounded by ages, culture differences and so many other obstacles.  Dr. Phil has quoted studies that show women who have came from divorced homes are 59% more likely to divorce. If both parties have come from such a home, the rate increases to 189% per Journal of Marriage and the Family. Many between the ages of 20 and 29 believe they are looking to marry a soul mate. However, soul mates may not be the best criteria for picking a lifetime mate.  A soul mate is usually reserved for people in your life that awaken a deeper sense of purpose to your life, a deeper understanding of you.  Frequently, this encounter(s) or individuals actually leave your life, and are not permanent fixtures, such as a preacher, a teacher, or an author. This word, soul mate gets thrown around like the word love, carelessly and without really understanding what the word implies and means.

Lifetime mates are the relationships that contain mutual respect, being physically present and creating memories.  Your individuality is something that should be created and discovered by you alone. That is the piece you bring to a relationship. Too many use their marriage as one uses a co-worker, to enhance themselves. It should always be about giving and mutually building towards a common goal. It also takes work and is not something that comes easily like lust.

Relationships coming unglued is not limited to marriages, it spills over into families as well. Too many times, boundary lines are ignored and someone encroaches on another’s.  Codependency is said by some to occur to 96% of women at some point in their life. This means needs are often at the forefront of relationships. Thus, women who subscribe to co-dependent relationships can write off family when they feel there is no need for them in their life.  Once the need and attention is gone, the will to retain the relationship is too.

Friendships are easily created and disposed of with no real complications. However, if the relationship is built on the true components that make lasting relationships work; these can be some of the most committed relationships we experience as adults.  Infact, statistics show social networks,  having true friends in one’s live can improve their lifespan as high as 50%!  Grab a friend and go get lunch!

Part of the reason for the strong emphasis on friendships with experts in this area is that they tend to be built on validation of self. Friends show us we are valued, friends support our goals without any ulterior motive and to many, a great friendship is more invaluable than a family tie. It is entirely a relationship built on choice, thereby it can easily be disposed of so the work continues constantly to keep it fresh, intimate and supportive.

The magazine US News & Money, of all publications, put out on article on this topic of the need for friendships in our life. “ At the end of the day, a friend can be the emotional oasis that makes all the difference.”  Friends make you happy and way too often, families make each other sad.  Friends accept you and families are twice as likely to judge you and not accept your frailties.  This is regarding close friends, and it has been proven over and over again, they make a huge impact on our lives.  Have great friendships with even a few people and you are rewarded with living happier and healthier. 

What is surprising is that adults don’t take the skill sets they use to form mutually rewarding and satisfying friendships into the other relationships in their lives. Experts say marriages are so much happier when there is a solid foundation of friendship.  Spouses who lift each other up expounding on positives verses negatives make a union longer lasting.  Noone enjoys being put down and being labeled. 

Within families, too often bygones are not forgotten or forgiven.  Within a good friendship, there is no expectation of perfection.  Whether is it considered more hurtful when it is a family member letting you down or just pure lack of love, many families don’t believe in working things out. It has become a more disposable society we live in and it has transposed to our family unit. Divorce your spouse and cut out any family that makes you angry. The prevalence of negativity and unsupportive regard for one another is breaking families apart.

The good news is friendships, good friendships, survive the test of time and actually enhance as we age.  This is partly because we make time for those we care about, we listen with open ears and forgive them for their transgressions.  We allow them to be human. 

I suppose the take away is to evaluate what qualities you have in your best friendships.  Those are the qualities that should be mandating all of your relationships in life. If someone doesn’t accept you and treat you as a good close friend, don’t let them in your inner circle. This should be a special appointed place for few.   If they are toxic, let them go.  They will only serve to make you unhappy, unhealthy and those around you miserable.  

God intends for us to be loving and kind to each other. Some have that ability and many do not. This world is harsh, our inner relationships shouldn’t be. You are worthy of being loved and in equal standing relationships too. Let those who judge you, hurt you,  or mar you, find a way to make their own sense of peace, or not. You are responsible for yours!  

Make sure the relationships you foster are the kind that build you up and others. When your day comes to leave this earth, your legacy will be the quality of the relationships you had and not those you did not.

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