Friday, July 13, 2012

Relationships 101

There’s no shortage of books on how to find the partner of your dreams and how to have a good relationship. I, myself, am guilty of writing many books on this subject. 

Each author believes he or she has “the answer.” In truth, there are many answers because what may work for one person may not work for another. I suggest you treat the array of advice as a smorgesboard and choose the pieces that fit with your life and your circumstances. 

That said, what do you think is at the root of the myriad of problems encountered in the course of a relationship? 

In my book on teen pregnancy prevention, I put forth the idea that at the root of the problem is that children aren’t taught relationship basics. With so many broken families, there is a lack of role models for both boys and girls, and children don’t get to observe how a loving relationship works. Often children go looking to fill the void left by the missing parent. However, they haven’t observed or been taught about love so, very often, they confuse physical contact with real love. 

I believe society is missing the boat by not teaching “Relationships 101” at the middle school level. It is here, and even earlier, that misconceptions begin about love, relationships, bad boys, good guys, etc. 

This might be an extreme example, but compare this to the situation in the Middle East where children are taught to be suicide bombers as a way of showing allegiance to a higher power and to strike against those who hold a different belief system. Just as it’s imperative to educate the youth of the world so these ways of thinking will not be perpetuated, it’s also important to correct misconceptions about all that a relationship entails. 

Girls and boys need to be taught what is acceptable and appropriate behavior, for example, the idea of “control” has no place in a healthy relationship. Accordingly, trying to change someone into who you think you want him/her to be is a relationship killer. That's not to say you don't compromise with each other. 

Couples naturally tend to start acting like each other anyway, if they have a healthy relationship. The question to ask is, "If you want to change someone so much, then why are you with him/her in the first place?"   

Truthfully, I think one way to have a good relationship is to close your eyes half the time. It's hard to live with someone else, even if you love them to pieces. We all have different ways of doing things, and if you were with your clone, one of you would be unnecessary! 

I say keep the good stuff in the forefront of your brain and let the rest fall away. You have to fall in love with your partner EVERY DAY! 

And, if you're still looking for love, I urge you to look for it in the right ways so you can find the right person. It gets me upset when I hear many women lament that there are no nice guys out there. I say that it's possible they have done a good job at pushing the nice ones away by dismissing them for their lack of looks, money, risk taking attitude, or some other reason. 

This is part of my mission with my books and speaking engagements. I hope to teach people about relationship tenets. Really, my basic theory is pretty simple: you just need to be nice to each other. Nice, although a benign word, goes a really long way in every day life!

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