Do you know fellow singles who seem to go through relationships like you go through jeans or shoes? They go through a cycle. First, they get all excited about the new. Then they enjoy the comfort of the familiar. But eventually, they toss out another old worn and tattered relationship and go shopping for a new one.
Maybe you are the one with the history of unsatisfying relationships. Perhaps you have decided that relationships must inevitably wear out, grow old, wither and die. I do not believe that. I believe most people endure bad relationships and give up on finding a great relationship because they go about it in an unwise and unhealthy way.
There is a better way!
Be the Right Person
Most people believe that their relationships end badly because they didn’t find the right person. This is true – sometimes. I’ll cover that a little later. But, if you have had multiple relationships end badly, maybe it is time to look at the common denominator. That would be you.
It is important to find the right person. But, becoming the right person is perhaps even more important. In fact, it should be your first step. Become the kind of person that attracts the kind of person you are looking for.
Be Whole, Healed, and Content
First, and most importantly, be whole, be healed, and be content where you are. If you ever want to be happily married, first be happily single. Begin your next relationship from a position of inner strength and self-confidence. Work on you first.
Being self-confident gives you the freedom to interact with the people who would have intimidated you before. Being content keeps you from making the dumb relational mistakes people make when they get desperate.
Don’t Be Desperate or In a Hurry
It will take time to mold yourself into a content, self-confident person. Take all the time you need to get there. Don’t short-circuit the process by rushing into another relationship. Spend significant time being single first. You will know you are getting close to being ready for a great relationship when you desire one but don’t feel a desperate need for one.
A lot of people are so desperate for a love interest that they disguise or even compromise who they are. Part of your journey to becoming the right person is learning who you are at your core and learning to be that person no matter where you are or who you are with.
Never put on a front or compromise who you are for anybody. You cannot sustain that over the long haul. If you want a relationship that lasts, become the person you want to be, be that person for the rest of your life, and find someone attracted to that person.
Focus On Others
Learn to focus on others more than yourself. To find the right person you need to learn about people. You do that by paying attention to them. Listen to what they say and how they say it. Create a safe place for them to share their heart with you.
Learn what makes them tick, what excites them, and what they want their future to look like. All of this focusing on others is, in a way, self-serving. You do not want to get into a relationship with someone you do not know well.
Find the Right Person
Yes, once you become the right person you do need to find the right person. But, what kind of person? And, where do you find them? And, how do you avoid making another mistake?
Someone Becoming the Right Person
For starters, find the kind of person you just spent time becoming. Find a content, self-confident, well-adjusted, authentic person who has learned to focus on others. Don’t settle for the same type of people you settled for before.
Someone with Similar Life Expectations
It may not be absolutely essential, but it is extremely helpful if their expectations are similar to yours when it comes to sex, children, finances, and religion. Some couples do just fine even though they disagree on one or more of these things, but those differences need to be brought out into the open and talked about up front.
Someone You Can Talk Things Out With
Those are the issues that tear marriages apart, so make sure you face them honestly and with a clear head. Don’t think it will all work out because you spoke about it once in some intoxicatingly romantic setting.
If you want a relationship that will last a lifetime, look for someone you can talk with about anything and everything. It is essential that you can talk things out without anger, accusations, and personal attacks.
Someone with Strong Morals and Good Character
Also, look for a person who embodies the morals and character traits you value. Don’t get so hung up on looks and bank accounts. Place the most value on the most important things. That being said, some physical attraction is necessary. It would be very difficult to be married for life to someone for whom you feel little or no sexual attraction.
Look in the Right Places
Finding the right person is best done looking in the right places. Don’t keep looking in the same old places where your last relationships began. It is no guarantee, but I believe the odds are much better in a church than in a bar. Also, looking in places where people do things you enjoy is a good idea.
Having some activities in common helps a couple bond. So, whatever you enjoy doing, frequent places where other people go to enjoy that. That is a great way to meet people with whom you have something in common.
I am a firm believer in taking your time. Never rush either process, becoming the right person or finding the right person. But, if you want a great relationship, at some point you’re going to have to make a decision and fully commit to it.
Intimacy Thrives in Commitment
But, I believe that intimacy only thrives in the safe harbor of commitment. If you want happily ever after, commit to a lifetime. Is it a guarantee? No. Is it your best shot? Yes.
So, don’t let fear or passivity rob you of the kind of relationship you really want. Take your time and do your due diligence first, but then, act. Make a decision and a commitment.
I say this because I believe in ’til death parts us’. I believe this now more than ever, even after suffering a divorce. If you want a relationship that goes the distance, it requires unconditional love.
Magnifying Glasses and Rose-Colored Glasses
Through the early stages of a relationship, right up until ‘I do’, keep our magnifying glasses on. Examine the person you think you want a relationship with closely. Make sure they are what you want and you are what they want.
Then, once you say ‘I do’, take off those magnifying glasses and put on your rose-colored glasses. Cut your mate a little slack. Look for the best in them. Love each other unconditionally.
By that, I do not mean you overlook warning signs. People do hide things, manipulate, and even abuse. You should question suspicious actions. You should never tolerate abuse.
What I am talking about is all the minutiae that will inevitably pop up in your day to day life. Let that stuff go. Always show love. Saying ‘I love you’ should not just be an acknowledgment of some romantic feeling. It should be a lifelong promise to love no matter what.
I know, some of you have been burned. I got burned my first time around. That is all the more reason to do the work now to lay the foundation for success next time. That is what I did my second time around. That effort has been rewarded with a wonderful second chance marriage. It took a lot of work on both our parts to get here. But, it was so worth it.
So, To Make Your Next Relationship Last …
Become the Right Person – content, self-confident, well-adjusted, authentic, and focused on others
Find the Right Person – content, self-confident, well-adjusted, authentic, focused on others, with things in common with you, having strong character and morals
Make a Real Commitment – not let’s give it a try and we’ll see what happens
Love Unconditionally – I love you is a promise, love overlooks a multiplicity of mistakes, that’s what it takes to make it long-term
Do those things and they will give you the best chance at making your next relationship last.
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