(Last Updated On: September 16, 2018)
This article is for those who are serious about change in their relationships. It is fairly long but worth the read. Bountiful success to you and yours.
“Making love last a lifetime” is an ambiguous title, isn’t it? (except for a slight grammatical error one title would create) I pondered about whether to use it as I didn’t want to seem to be playing on words just to get your attention :-). Anyway, even though the focus is on “love” (strong affection for another) and not necessarily the act of sexual intercourse – the practical meaning of “making love” as a combination of things that build up to the ultimate sexual expression, can be applied here as well.
Relationships, whether romantic or otherwise all seem exciting at first. However, if we are honest, sometimes the excitement can wear off and leave us both disappointed, frustrated and depressed.
The person we found adorable at first has now become detestable. It is here that things can quickly go sideways if no effort to manage and rebuild the relationship is exercised. How did we get here and what can we do to get back on track? The thing is, we all know how we should behave in any relationship to make it work. We did it at the beginning, remember? – So why not continue to do the things that made it work then, and maintain a healthy environment for love to flourish?
That environment is like a garden filled with the most beautiful of flowers and sumptuous fruit for us to enjoy. If that garden is left unattended we will surely find ourselves in a drought surrounded by unsightly bush and weeds. Since we have to live in that garden, we should be pruning and caring it in order to eat the fruit of our relationship constantly. It is when the garden dries up that we become hungry and naked – and starvation and vulnerability set in. We don’t want that, do we? Let’s get to work then! Making “love” last a lifetime is guaranteed once we nurture the gardens in our lives.
The Journey Begins
In the beginning, most people seem organized and mature. The truth is, as enough time passes and familiarity steps in, another side of ourselves can suddenly introduce its ugly head. Our imperfections, hangups, and quirks become ever present and seriously unbearable.
Let us examine a typical journey of a relationship from the initial introduction, to the point of rejection and pending disbandment. Hopefully, we can rebuild even at this point. After all, long-lasting happiness, peace, and harmony is what we all desire.
The good news is that the solution to healing our relationships lies within the same reasons they fail. Yes, that’s correct! We simply do the things we did at first. “Easier said than done,” you are probably saying? Have faith, humans. We are capable of transforming our situations and our future with a few good intelligent decisions.
Origins: Dating, Courtship, Marriage
Boy meets girl and an indescribable wave of emotions of excitement and adventure floods their being. Their worlds have become one and now nothing is impossible. They have brought happiness and joy into the relationship. Their perspective on life is positive and the future looks bright.
Every day is a new and exciting one of repeating the joy of holding hands, talking, learning about each other and just being together. There is no desire to control anyone or any situation, only a natural voluntary submission to each other.
They listen to each other, have become inseparable. Everything that was lifeless and routine has come alive. No event is attended alone as every opportunity to be together is time well spent. The days seem longer because every moment is spent in an unselfish mindset of how they might please each other. There is a building up of the other with compliments flowing from sincere admiration and respect.
There is always that bond of unity, evident from talking for hours on the phone, going to lunch, walking in the park, stealing a kiss here and there, hugging and the list goes on.
What Is in a Healthy Relationship? It’s Characteristics
Let’s extract the bolded keywords so far from above and keep them in mind:
- were happy before they came together – a sign to look for
- listen to each other
- take every opportunity to be together
- are unselfish
- please each other
- build up each other
- have sincere admiration and great respect for each other
- talk for hours – communication
- go to lunch – date
- walk in the park
- kiss & hug
We just got started and we have already listed above, the solution to a healthy and sustained relationship. That’s the key to making love last a lifetime… never stop dating. In other words, never stop doing any of those things above!
A Healthy Relationship Has a Positive Effect on Life
Whether young or old, there is an air of youthful energy overhanging this new relationship and it’s invigorating. The injection of enthusiasm into everything they do is apparent.
Have you ever noticed how in this period we become creative? Do you remember those letters, poems or special choice of words you wrote or said? Or how you paid much attention to how you dressed before going out?
To cut a long story short, a healthy relationship affects the outlook of our entire lives. This is why so many seek to love and be loved. It is the fuel that drives our future, ambition and our destiny. We desire a fitting companion with whom to share our lives.
Now let’s get back to our boy and girl bit. Let’s fast forward.
When they believe that they have learned enough about each other and are satisfied, they get married and live happily ever after… Well that’s the idea, isn’t it? Seriously! However, this is not the reality for most.
The Beginning of the “End” of the Relationship
Let’s say they are happily married for the first two years after which complacency sets in and the garden gets out of control. Let’s borrow the economic term “the law of diminishing returns” here. There’s an overload of thorns and thistles; the good, the bad and the ugly and not enough intimacy and maturity to process it.
Life is throwing everything at them but they are not maturing fast enough to keep up and deal with situations. They have not properly prepared for this and soon enough, they are playing the blame game. This results in frustration, followed by the silent treatment and communication breakdown.
Added to these, I believe selfishness and laziness are the two biggest reasons for the breakdown of any relationship. Here are a few examples of this:
- One or both have stopped doing all or some of the things that fueled the relationship in the beginning
- No plans for dealing with life as change takes them by surprise
- No personal growth or development – immaturity
- One has gone ahead academically, professionally, spiritually or otherwise
- No interest in each other’s passions or worldview anymore
- Being busy with work is an excuse for the lack of spending quality time together
- Little attention to health or physical appearance – overweight, deteriorating health
- Not satisfying each other in various ways causing the other to seek or welcome attention from other sources (this is # 1)
Let’s extract the bolded keywords again from the previous paragraphs that are responsible for the breakdown process. Keep them in mind:
- not enough intimacy and maturity
- the blame game
- silent treatment and communication break-down
Let’s see how fast this little birdie can get to you. Get our little stories delivered directly to your inbox!
When Good Relationships Go Bad
Be honest from the beginning:
When we first meet someone, sometimes we take the opportunity to try to remake ourselves in the midst of the new relationship. We are carefully shaping the person we really want to be going forward and hoping that we can maintain this façade… OK! If that word is too strong for you, let’s change it to something easier to digest like “well-meaning behavior.” After all, we are trying to learn from past mistakes as we go along. Here is a new person who is now getting to know us. They are unaware of our shortcomings… so why not take the opportunity to ignore the past. Wrong approach! It is better to be honest about our shortcomings.
The challenge with this mindset is that though it seems well-meaning, this is not the time to suddenly become mature. Maturity is a process, not an event. That’s what growing up is about. The time to be working on ourselves is prior to any commitment to long-term relationships of any kind. This is not to say that we can’t change for the better at any time. However, we must be pretty complete in ourselves, before we take that step to become a part of someone else’s future.
As soon as someone or a situation triggers a usual familiar response from our real self, we may begin to feel disappointed about being exposed or misunderstood and begin to lash out in frustration. Every other insecure area and bad habit now want to follow quickly behind, since we may already be feeling vulnerable. The rest is downhill from there.
If personal situations and skeletons were temporarily placed on the back burner and were never discussed; they resurface at some point and introduce new challenges that were not prepared for.
Feeling Disappointed and Betrayed in a Relationship
We feel betrayed after a breakdown in a relationship of any kind because:
- Most expect the relationship/friendship to last “forever” because the road to intimacy and trust was long
- Expectations were not met; whether intentionally or inadvertently
- Our personal business, secrets and things we wish we hadn’t shared or done, may now be out there
- We have wasted time and there is no return on investment for our sacrifices
- We are angry because going forward will be harder trust-wise
- We are upset with ourselves because we have regrets
- We let our guard down
- There will be serious and painful adjustments should there be a separation
- Life is short, less time to get it together
- Getting rid of baggage is a process we don’t have the time for
- There was a deception
- We, or they acted immaturely
- Children are involved and now…
The list can go on and on, so you get the idea of the seriousness here. Can we afford to lose all of our investment?
How to Fix a Broken Relationship When All Seems Lost
Wow! How can a relationship be repaired and heal after all this? I believe it can be if we just stop being selfish and work on changing ourselves first. We humans can be extremely difficult, but only because we refuse to submit to each other. A friend once said these words: “Anytime a husband and wife engage in conflict that causes them to be unable to submit to each other, they are both wrong. Never ‘win’ an argument and still be the loser.” Good advice, isn’t it?
Okay! So we become lazy and stop doing the things that contribute to good relations. Now what?
Let’s compare our recovery process to the human body. When left unattended, it can get out of hand. Carrying around the extra baggage, especially in the mid-section can cause all kinds of problems health-wise. Sometimes we treat those close to us like we treat our body. Yet even in this state, we do love ourselves. See the hope here?
There is hope in this complexity in that, just as we can redefine our bodies by going to the gym, we can redefine and renew our relationships through hard work, discipline and by reinvesting in them. I know it sounds simplistic, but that’s it! Why complicate it with unnecessary speculations and obstacles. “Change your thoughts change your life” is still a popular quote that works doesn’t it? With this mindset, there is still hope and the potential for change, all is not lost.
The problem is that we are hard as nails and believe there is no room for forgiveness at this stage. We are selfish, upset, hurt and in our minds, we have had enough. However, I challenge you to have some backbone and step out of yourself, own up to your part in the breakdown and ask each other for forgiveness. Why regret it down the road when the power is within your grasp to change. Especially when there’s no infidelity.
Let’s do the following from today and see the return on investment in our relationships. All parties must agree to this, (especially in the romantic relationship). However, if you have to do it on your own for a while, there is still much to gain in the end. You may have to be the one to make the initial sacrifice. Conqueror pride, storms come and go but life goes on.
Relatives bicker and moan but they agree again at some point – because they are family. Why can’t the marriage relationship (greater than genetic family in the marriage context) have the same courtesy – especially since you made vows before God that you are obligated to keep? Isn’t the same God whom you made vows before, able to sustain. Should He pack up and disappear too?
Making Love Last a Lifetime – Steps to Rebuild a Broken Friendship
Swallow your pride, life is too short
Forgive immediately without casting any blame
Begin to build each other up with praise/compliments and encouragement
Agree to agree with each other as much as possible
Respect each other’s opinion as much as your own
Put each other first in all things before yourselves
Do things you know will please the other – make a list
Hold hands, date, dance, walk, exercise
Be patient a little longer
This list can go on. Be creative and make your own list. By following the above list as much as possible, whatever the outcome, you would have given it your all.
Bountiful health, peace and wealth be yours today and always.
Please feel free to comment below.
God bless you and remember. God is there to help you through. His example of love is based on sacrifice; of which there can be no demonstration of love in its proper context. Start today to rebuild and refresh your relationship. It’s not impossible once you are alive.
Read about what love is here.
Do it now!