The Trouble With Relationships

October 19th, 2012 · No Comments ·

Relationships are only as alive as the people engaging in them.’ That is a quote from Donald Ardell. I found this quote on my perpetual calendar as I turned over the page this morning. This one seemed to hit home. I’ve spoken with so many people in the last few weeks that have either been having relationship troubles or are just coming out of one.

Now I certainly do not profess to be a relationships expert, but I do know people, and it’s people who participate in relationships.

Relationship troubles are rarely the high times in our lives. As a matter of fact they can be gut-wrenching, sweat-pouring, sleep-depriving, catastrophic events. Already this doesn’t seem like much fun. This can also be the case for those who don’t have relationship problems because they have a lack-of-relationship problem. In other words, they have no relationship and are feeling lonely.

Why is it that we get so stressed about relationships and the possible trouble spots we may encounter? I believe that we, generally speaking, want to be valued for the people that we are.

A few years ago I was taught a process to determine my role in a relationship. It is a series of three questions and must be asked in this order. Once the first question has been honestly answered in the affirmative, then a person can move onto the second question. And so on.

Here are the three questions:

Am I in the process of creating what is most important in my life? In other words, am I taking steps to achieve what I want in the other areas of my life, professionally, personally, spiritually? And do I know with certainty what that is?

Once a yes has been answered, then the second question is: Am I being everything in the relationship that I would like my partner to be? In other words, am I creating the environment in which my relationship can flourish? Am I being loving, if I want to be loved? Am I being understanding, if I want understanding? Am I being supportive if I want to be supported?

Once that question has been answered with an unequivocal “yes,” then we can move to the third question, Do I want this relationship?
Many people start at the third question and use the first two questions to justify their decision for leaving the relationship. “I left because my partner wasn’t supportive and was holding me back from reaching my full potential.”

Making a decision to end a relationship, or being the recipient of that news is never easy. We may have become attached to the happily-ever-after ending of our relationships, and the disappointment of not achieving that result hurts. But that’s what it is. It’s disappointment of a decision we made a while ago that didn’t work out, and many of us wonder whether we just wasted our time.

It’s not a waste of time. Sometimes we have to go through life experiencing the painful things we don’t want, in order to fully understand what we do want.

What we also learn is that we are the only people who can give us what we want. It’s not up to someone else to give me happiness; it’s up to me to make it for myself.

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