I was reading an article on Cosmo - well, not really an aritcle, it is one of their slideshow list things that they do. This one is titled "10 Secrets of Healthy Relationships".
It went something like this...(As summarized by me of course)
1) Express yourself - Pretty much what it says, express yourself as you are while also listening and "getting" your partner. Take them into consideration but don't just settle to avoid conflict.
2) Quality Time - Again, pretty self explanatory. We all get into ruts and routines so its important to schedule quality time together just for you as a couple so you don't get lost in the routine. This one is difficult for us autism families as sometimes, routine rules our lives.
3) Argue one thing at a time - Yes, this one is important! Instead of throwing everything that you have bottled up inside for months when an argument about filling the dishwasher the wrong way again starts - focus on one thing because it is easier to work through and "fix" instead of trying to get at everything that is bothering you all at once. I know, easier said than done.
4) New Experiences - again, with the routine of daily life we forget to do new things together. Sometimes in conversation we discuss things that we want to do or try, find ways to do them - no matter how simple but adding new things to bond over is a great way to connect.
5) Appreciate each other - This one is a big one! Let your partner know that you value them in your life and all of the little things that they do for you. It could be as simple as a thank you for clearing the table to a compliment about how they handled a situation you just faced together. Your partner needs to know that you appreciate them and that may just trigger them to say "hey, yeah, I appreciate you too for x and y"
6) Contract - we all have unspoken contracts in our relationships. In my relationship with Mr. Big, he does the cooking and takes care of more traditional male roles and I do the "women's work" of laundry, cleaning, etc. This works out for us and I actually like it. We communicate about things that go on with the house but we each know what we bring to the table of the relationship - this is our contract. According to the slideshow/article - you should "re-visit" your contracts about every year or so...I think you should only do this if there is something that is not working.
7) Permission to Speak? - okay, yeah this one sounds worse than it is - its not ask to speak like in a submissive sense, but make sure that the timing to discuss something is appropriate. There is nothing worse than unloading on your partner after he/she has had a hard day and is already on edge. Timing is everything if you want to get the most out of your conversation so make sure its okay first.
8) Spontaneity - well, that one is just what it says. Be spontaneous - keep the spark alive and burning. I know, easier said than done but you've done it before - we all know about the quickie in the car after that dinner date, don't lie.
9) "You" - yes, that's right you!! I'll expand on this one in more detail below because this one is the one that sparked all of this
10) Keep your friendships - again, self-explanatory here. We all need connections and relationships outside of our partners. They cannot be the end-all, be-all of our existences. As long as our friendships are not toxic - keep them!
Pretty good listing right? I think so. Who'd have thought from Cosmo huh?
Well, as I stated above - number 9 really hit me in the heart and it was primarily because of this:
Growing and changing for the better as a person will make your relationship a better place. “One of the most important things about being in a relationship is you learn as much if not more about yourself as you do about your partner,” says Cooper. By watching the way that you react to your partner and the ways in which you’re challenged, you’re forced to grow.I could not agree more.
You see, a healthy relationship allows you to be who you are as a person because that is who your partner chose to be with. But, at the same time, with this new connection in your life that is so "just right" you learn other things about you that you didn't know before. You learn about sacrifices that you once thought you would never make. You learn about compassion and love in ways that you never thought possible. You also learn about acceptance as your partner is that - your partner. You accept him/her for who they are and learn from them.
I have to say that since being with Mr. Big, I have noticed the differences in myself as a person because of the type of person that he is. He treats me in such a way that makes me feel not only like his partner but a part of him while still allowing me to be me. Does that make sense? The way he looks at life and certain situations causes me to rethink my approach sometimes.
This morning was a perfect example...
I was stating how something last night bothered be because it sounded as if a woman was talking to a person with special needs with a condescending tone as if this person was not capable of the task she was participating in. I immediately judged based on a few seconds and a persons tone of voice. He reminded me that I was quick to judge without all the information. I tried to produce some sort of rebuttal but I realized...he was right. I have always been judged because I "sound" like I have an attitude when honestly, I don't and I hate it. Yet, here I was doing the same thing.
A healthy relationship is so important to who we are as because it compliments us and develops us in ways that we couldn't do on our own. These connections and interactions with that one person who has such profound impact on our lives are what makes us who we are.
Love, affection, happiness are all intertwined when it comes to that significant individual we choose to live our lives with.
And then there is this... In a life where love is not considered possible; where relationships are considered to be out of reach...there are two individuals who found love and have a healthy relationship that means the world to them because it fits them - who they are - their connection is extraordinary and perfectly, well, perfect.