I went to the library a couple of weeks ago for some encouragement and insight on relationships.
I picked out an audio book called Rescue Your Love Life, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
I have to admit, at first I felt like seemed too severe. I knew that my significant other and I had things we needed to work on, but were we really in that much trouble?
Both of us are from divorced parents, and both of us are divorced as well, so we have some baggage and try often to work things out together as best as possible. We usually do okay, but I felt like we needed something else.
I noticed the subtitle: Change Those Dumb Attitudes & Behaviors That Will Sink Your Marriage.
I was a bit embarrassed to check this out, wondering if my relationship really needed to be rescued from sinking. And if it did, why in the world were we even together?
The audio book was clearly meant for the married couple, but I got it anyhow, hoping it would have something amazing to teach us.
We are not married, but we are living together raising my three children. We are in this for the long haul, so we really needed some insight into how we could be in love more often, and learn how to communicate better.
We listened to the cd’s separately while still having problems, and it didn’t seem to change things.
Then I took my significant other’s advice and we listened to them together on our extended car ride this weekend.
It was a great idea! We learned a lot and had many opportunities to talk about what we were listening to and how it related to us and the issues in our own relationship.
We learned in many situations it’s as simple as dumb thinking which can totally ruin the chance to grow as a couple, and rob us of moments of understanding more about each other. And we were relieved to realize that a lot of what we are experiencing is not only normal for most couples at this stage, but it is also an important part of the next step of growing in love. Wow! We also didn’t realize that it’s okay to go through this time and that, if handled with care, it will actually take us to the next level of our relationship and build a stronger love.
At the end of most segments on the cd’s they had something called ‘Check it out’. They’re examples of ‘if the shoe was on the other foot’ situations and how would we feel if it were us? It shared other people’s stories and the solutions, as well as related bible verses.
I’m so glad we got the audio book even though the title seemed too serious and was actually meant for married couples. In listening to these, we learned so much and sooner than later!
We are also reading I Promise by Dr. Gary Smalley, and it too explains that these difficult stages are the crucial moments of the two of us to be real with each other and grow closer as we work on our differences and use them to compliment our life together.
Married or not- at this point, we care deeply about our relationship as many married and unmarried couples do.
We are deepening our love relationship already, just by changing our thinking.
I shouldn’t be surprised, since isn’t that where fixing things begins? With ourselves?
While listening to these cd’s we were in awe of how much of this seemed like common sense and seemed so easy to do, but until pointed out, we never considered. The Love of My Life put it like this: these books help us see and understand minor problems and differences in thinking that would severely affect an otherwise good relationship.
Between this set of cds and the book I promise by, we are realizing that we are at a wonderful stage. We are seeing each other for who we are. We’ve learned that this is a great place for us to be right now. They say that we will bring out the worst in each other and that it’s okay and actually healthy at this point. And that we need to work these things out and go through it , and as long as we are open, communicative, loving and fair when disagreeing and listening, we are and will be okay.
And we are okay, we are better now than we were in the very beginning of our relationship! And we have actually had many strides we’ve made along the way that we accomplished on our own, and that we can be proud of. Now we are looking forward to many more with the tips in these books.
In the end, I learned that it was more about me that needed fixing than with him, and he learned there was more for him to work on than me. ;) Basically we learned a lot about the amount of control we had on each other, none.
As for our relationship, our goal is to have a strong bond over the long term, and realize how much work the relationship requires. Because even when you have as much in common and as much love as we do, we are human, we are not perfect and need a hand sometimes.
We found so much understanding of what we are going through to be a normal phase of a relationship which will go long term if we omit our stinking thinking, work a little harder to listen to each other more and give, give give.
And at the end of the day, we loved the fact that we can look at each other and know, without a doubt, that we are both committed to do whatever it takes to meet half way and work together to better our relationship, no matter what it takes.
And to confirm the common myth about relationships:
You need way more than just love, you need a lot of elbow grease;)