Friday, November 14, 2014

Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind

How many happy couples do you know?

Whatever the number, odds are that it's smaller than the number of unhappy ones. This unhappiness can range from those resigned to a present and future of just muddling along without much joy, to constant bickering, to all out battles and complete estrangement in the form of breaking up.

Is this the inevitable way for relationships to progress? Is it possible that two people, with different stories, needs, habits and desires, can live together in a happy, supportive, constructive partnership?

Possible? I truly believe that it is. Easy? Not really. But, then again, what thing worth having is easy to achieve?

I recently read an excellent article that gave me a lot of food for thought. If you have a few minutes, click here and read it. If you want to know what scientists have learned about what makes relationships work, it's worth your while.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which originally appeared in The Atlantic:

"Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it's not there."

Well, I think this can apply to any relationship - with your children, parents, co-workers, friends. If your attention is focused on seeing what others are doing wrong, you're likely to miss the good stuff. It just doesn't fit into the "story" of them that exists in your mind. So, even if you're not interested in having or improving a romantic relationship, this is a great concept to keep in mind.

As Wayne Dyer said, "Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."

From the article:

"Kindness...glues couples together. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated - feel loved. There's a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which lead to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship."

I always say, it's no more difficult to be kind than it is to be cruel. It's a choice you make, pure and simple. And the more often you choose to be kind, the better you get at it. For me, it boils down to this - what kind of world do you want to live in? I don't necessarily mean the world at large, though, that too will be influenced by your words and actions, but your own personal every day world. Do you want to fill your world with kindness, laughter and generosity or do you choose something different?

And the most surprising thing I learned from the article:

"We've all heard that partners should be there for each other when the going gets rough. But research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually more important for relationship quality. How someone responds to a partner's good news can have dramatic consequences for the relationship."

That kind of says it all, doesn't it? To feel truly happy for another's happiness is the essence of love.


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