Love is Not Enough...
The Making of a Relationship
by Bill Malone, MSW, LISW
Reference at : http://www.canville.net/malone/lovenotenough.html
We think that the hardest thing in a relationship is finding the right person. After that, we fall in love and live happily ever after, right? Those in a relationship know all too well that fairy tales are only true in the movies. The truth of the matter is that having and maintaining a relationship is not easy. The rate of divorce tells us that love is not enough; other factors are needed to keep a relationship going.
As a therapist, I am privileged to work with many couples who come for help with their relationship problems. Looking back, it would be safe to say that the major problem that brings a couple in for counseling is because one or both of the parties are at their wits end and are seriously wanting out of the relationship unless some major change occurs. In working with couples, I don’t see that any one is at fault. Rather, the problems are usually caused by faulty interactions that have gone on for so long that the root cause for the problems are unknown to the couple. It is interesting to note that women tend to call for assistance more frequently than men do, but I believe this has to do with the fact that males have been socialized to be tough and handle all problems. Women on the other hand are reared to ask for assistance. Men need to learn to ask for help.
Communication problems are a major source for relationship problems. People in most cases just do not know how to talk to each other. Usually, the couple has spent years arguing, fighting or even avoiding problems, but the inevitable occurs, someone reaches the end of their rope. Loss of trust, confusion over whether we still love each other, fights all the time and the inability to agree on anything are some of the cues to recognize that a relationship is having serious communication problems. Many times a child’s misbehavior and conduct problems at home or school are directly related to a couple’s inability to communicate.
The goal of the counseling process is to teach the couple specific skills that are essential in keeping a relationship alive and growing. Many times the couples that I have seen had a deficit in one or more of the essential ingredients needed to cook up a great relationship. I don’t want to mislead anyone, love is important to a relationship. It is the catalyst that gets the whole thing going, but the following are ingredients that keep the love alive and the relationship healthy.
Without the element of maturity, a couple can get all messed up just because they lose themselves in a relationship. They can become jealous, dependent, resentful and distant. All of which can erode the reason the couple became a couple in the first place.
There are no mind readers. For a relationship to grow and prosper, likes, dislikes, desires, hopes, dreams and problems need to be said. If a couple’s communication is restricted, the relationship is destined for major problems down the road. We take cars for oil changes to keep them going strong, why not seek a professional’s assistance to change our communication patterns in order to keep the relationship in tip top shape just like our automobiles?
Good lovemaking starts outside of the bedroom. If you want to increase the frequency and intensity of your lovemaking, try to increase the frequency and intensity of your communication, willingness to work as a team, sharing of self, being kind and supportive, give space and freedom to explore individual interests. All of these ingredients will add to the makings of a fine, wonderfully iced cake.
- A listening ear
- Communication Training
“A man is wise and strong who recognizes he has a problem and seeks out a solution rather than see the problem and stick his head in the sand.”
Bill Malone, MSW, LISW