Love is NOT Enough!
Last Tuesday’s radio shows were filled with wonderful expert advice on nurturing your relationships. My guest, Jackie Black, Ph.D., was named by COSMO as one of their most beloved international love gurus. She knows that “Love is NOT enough!” Dr. Jackie offers relationship education and marriage coaching to Dual Career Couples, High-performance Couples and Career-transition Couples who are serious about doing what it takes to stay together and make their marriage all it can be through her Destination Marriage Intensives and Couples Coaching. She is the author of three best-selling relationship self-help books, is a relationship blogger and educator and delivers her monthly Relationship Tip Sheet to men and women in over 38 countries! Here are some highlights of her show, “Can Couples Really Be Happy Together Forever?”
The main issue for couples, says Dr. Jackie, is that they need to stop being too busy to create intimacy with each other. They need to recognize that love is not enough.
Here’s the formula for a great relationship:
love + self knowledge + partner knowledge + relationship success skills = happy relationship
Self Knowledge: Once you fall in love, what do you know about yourself? Who are you as a partner? What can people expect of you?
Partner Knowledge: What does your partner like to do? What are their values? What are their values around money? Are they generous in spirit/time/self/money?
Relationship Success Skills: It’s pretty much a guarantee that your feelings will be hurt at some point in the relationship. The most important thing is how will you handle it. You need to have ways to sort through the issues that will arise. People argue because they have competing needs. The problem occurs when the other partner doesn’t acknowledge their partner’s competing needs. Ask yourself, ‘What are my needs? I need to recognize that they’re legitimate.” Your partner won’t guess what they are. Myth: we should meet all of our own needs. This is simply not true. An example of a conflict might be if you work at home, and your partner is making noise. You need to ask for quiet. Or, “I need money. Our needs will involve my need to invest. I have a need to only risk x amount of money.”
Sit down and circle all of the needs that resonate with you (from Jackie’s list of needs on her website). Put those words on a different piece of paper. See if there are patterns that emerge from your list of needs (courtesy, compassion, integrity).
Resentment is like rust to the soul. It leaks out all over. We need to be emotionally current so we can be clear about how we feel. Set boundaries: they are not barriers. Emotionally healthy people set them and honor them in other people. If I can set them for myself, I can honor yours. Boundaries are a sign of caring. I matter. You matter.
Money is a very charged topic. Have the money conversations. Marriage is a family business. In your family business, you want to manage money and build wealth. Talk about values, beliefs, expectations about earning money, spending money, debt, saving and investing. The more easily and regularly you can talk about money in the relationship, the better the relationship will be. Schedule regular money conversations. Ask yourself, ‘What do I think about money? What are my beliefs? What’s your money history – abundance? scarcity?
Talk about spending plans (she doesn’t like the word ‘budget’). Financial infidelity is buying a new pair of shoes and saying, ‘oh this old thing? I’ve had this for years.’ Rather than being honest with what you bought, you hide it.
Sex and intimacy: love evokes feelings of value, being seen, respected, excited and happy, etc. People who are married complain about spontaneity. It’s gone. When you’re dating, you’re planning when to see each other. You’re excited for the next date. When you get married, that planning often stops. It’s a lack of focus on your partner. Beef up the intentional deliberate actions, leaving notes, planning to spend time together, being appreciative. Be an enthusiastic supporter. Applaud your partner. These are powerful connectors. Schedule sex.
There are no guarantees about the future. But we can impact the present. Pay attention to the most important values in your relationship today. That will help you have a happy ever after. Because love is not enough.
To listen to the show, click here.
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