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Relationships……

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Relationships are an important part of our everyday life. They exist in many forms; husband/wife relationship; parent/child relationship; sibling relationship; friend relationship…..and we should all know that keeping a positive healthy relationship takes an effort from both people involved. When we are surrounded by good relationships, we feel better about ourselves. If we are surrounded by bad relationships, we have to struggle to find our happiness…..and I think we all want to be happy. 🙂

Healthy relationships aren’t without ups and downs or disagreements and arguments; however relationships need to be based on trust, respect, honesty, understanding and support for each other, and if they are then the conflicts can be worked out with effort from both people involved. If there is only effort from one person the relationship becomes one-sided….and will eventually dwindle and die.

The quality of love and the duration of a relationship are in direct proportion to the depth of the commitment by both people to making the relationship successful. Commit yourself wholeheartedly and unconditionally to the most important people in your life.
~Brian Tracy

My first marriage did not work out….I believe the main reason it failed was because we were not both willing to work at it, and it was not based on mutual trust, respect, honesty, understanding and support. Marriages without these ingredients cannot survive no matter how hard one or the other might try to make it work. Oh, people may stay married without trusting, respecting, being honest, understanding and supporting  one another but they certainly aren’t happy. In my case it took several years and several break ups and attempts to re-build before I came to the conclusion that it was a one-sided effort and the “relationship” was over. Despite how “wrong” this relationship was it did help me discover many things about myself and what was necessary to have a happy healthy marriage.

The parent child relationship will also suffer if it is a one-sided effort. In the case of my children and my ex-husband they have no relationship today. When I got divorced my children and I moved away to start over. This wasn’t an easy move for any of us as we left our friends and family behind, but it was the right move. I remarried and got myself and my children settled in and ready to tackle a new beginning. The distance from their father is not what caused the end of the parent child relationship; the lack of effort is what caused it. The only one making any attempt to keep a relationship going between my children and my ex-husband was me. (I’m not asking for a pat on the back here or kudos to me or anything, this is just a fact). The first summer after we moved my husband and I took on the sole expense of flying my three youngest children, (and a friend for company), back east for a 4 week visit with their father, and my oldest for a two-week visit (he had a summer job so couldn’t be gone for a whole month). The kids spent more time with their grandparents then they did with their father that summer. They, and my parents enjoyed their visit but the whole idea behind the trip was to give the kids an opportunity to build their relationship with their other parent. Any phone calls the kids got from their father after we moved were actually initiated by me. I would call him to discuss one thing or another and I would always have to ask him if he wanted to talk to the kids….he never asked to talk to them without me suggesting it….eventually I stopped doing the calling. I thought it was important to have the kids keep a relationship with their father despite our differences but I didn’t realize at the time that no amount of trying on my part would  keep a relationship going where there wasn’t one. Their father has not made any attempt to contact them since we moved away 11 years ago and it has caused the kids a lot of pain and resentment. This is a prime example of a one-sided relationship that eventually died because both sides were not willing to put in the effort.

Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him
– Dr. Henker

To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today
– Anonymous

Your children need your presence more than your presents
– Jesse Jackson

The sibling relationship can be a difficult one, especially as we become adults. The relationship changes because we are no longer oldest, middle and youngest child all living under the same roof, getting along one minute and squabbling the next, with our parents breaking up the squabble and making us be friends again. Now we are adults with our own ideas, our own lives and our own families to keep us busy. Maintaining sibling relationships as we get older takes time and effort but these relationships can be easily lost in seconds due to a hasty comment or action. Relationships are all about understanding others and meeting their needs, we can do this if we treat others the way they would like to be treated. We sometimes take our siblings for granted because they have always just been there so we don’t always treat each other with a mutual respect, and we say and do hurtful things that we would never think of saying or doing to our friends. One way to keep up positive relationships between siblings is to build each other up, and not tear them down. Don’t be quick to judge and make assumptions about your adult siblings and their choices or behaviors based on how you choose to live your life or what you feel is right or wrong. Understand that their life and situation is probably very different from yours, but that doesn’t make it wrong…..just different. Everyone of us has room to improve, but instead of focusing on things that bug you about your siblings, focus on the good things about them…..(if you think about it long enough you will find good things to focus on). 🙂 If conflicts do arise, you need to both take responsibility for your part in them…..try to see things through the other persons eyes. Before you begin or continue an argument, ask yourself if it is worth arguing over. Is it more important to be happy, or be right? Is it worth giving up a relationship over? If it’s not, try to agree to disagree, and move past it. You will not always agree with what your siblings have to say, nor will they agree with you. That is the beauty of freedom of choice and opinion. It is actually one of the things that can make a relationship great. Positive relationships do not happen overnight. They require an effort from both sides to keep them positive. If you have been hurt by, or have been involved in a disagreement or an argument with one of your siblings, as I’m sure many of you have, myself included, you need to decide if you want to salvage the relationship or let it go. If you want to try to re-build the relationship then you need to apologize for any part you played in the situation, ask for forgiveness, and try to put the disagreement behind you. You need to make an effort to move forward by not re-hashing old arguments or bringing up old hurts (siblings can go a long way back looking for stabs from each other if they choose to). However, keep in mind that  just because you have tried to put the conflict in the past and move forward, doesn’t mean your sibling will want to. If there is a lack of positive communication between you and your sibling no attempt on your part alone can fix it. A relationship has to be two-sided. You may need to remove yourself from contact with your sibling if any attempts to bridge the gap have had no positive effect. You don’t necessarily need to cut ties, just re-adjust them. Understand that you will probably be excluded from their family announcements, functions and celebrations, but try not to react to that by excluding them from yours, as this will only keep the feud going. If you and your sibling do decide to reconcile in the future, you should probably try to avoid bringing up any subject that could result in an argument and just try to keep the conversation neutral for the sake of keeping peace in the family. Time may heal the relationship….or it may not, but if both sides are not willing to try….there is no relationship to heal.

I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers.  It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage.  Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.  ~Maya Angelou

Relationships with friends need as much effort as any other relationship. Your friendships will change throughout the years as you yourself will change. The friends you had in school will not necessarily be the same friends you have in adulthood….even though as a kid you swore your “best friend” would always be your “best friend”. This may or may not always be the case. As we become adults and have families and move away from our childhood homes we generally become friends with people we meet through our work or through our children’s activities. We become friends with these people because we all have similar interests….our jobs and our kids. Friendship is based on mutual interests and personalities. Appreciate and value your friends, if you take your friends for granted you will eventually lose them. Discuss any issues that may arise, if you have unresolved issues deal with them and don’t just hope they will go away without confronting them. Unresolved issues may eventually ruin your friendship. Respect your friends and don’t be rude to them, treat them as you would want them to treat you. If you have a friend you truly value then you will need to put in effort to keep the friendship alive.

“True friendship is based on trust, honesty and sincere generosity of our hearts.”
—Song Park

Having spent a considerable amount of time in a non healthy relationship with my first husband, I am now in a very happy and healthy relationship with my husband of nearly 11 years. Our relationship is based on trust, respect, honesty, understanding and support for each other. We are “best friends” and enjoy spending as much time together as possible. We are viewed as an odd couple by most people who know us because we do everything together…..we get groceries together, go to Tim’s together, go to the kids games and even practices together, drop the kids off and pick the kids up together……if we aren’t together people start to think one of us must be sick. The truth is we may be “odd” but we really just enjoy each others company. What my husband wants is always more important to me than what I want and what I want is always more important to him than what he wants. The other persons happiness is what’s most important to each of us…..it’s a win win situation! We’re cartainly not perfect, there are things about each of us that can irritate the other….not that I’m at all irritating 😉 ….. (ok, I guess there may be one or two things I do that could be seen as irritating), but we have learned to work out the little things that could become big things if they are given a chance to grow. We certainly don’t agree on everything and we do sometimes argue but we always find a way to work out our differences. Marriage is a relationship worth putting the effort into but both people need to put in an equal effort or it becomes one-sided, and one-sided relationships don’t last.

 The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.
~Amy Grant

In marriage, each partner is to be an encourager rather than a critic, a forgiver rather than a collector of hurts, an enabler rather than a reformer.
~H. Norman Wright and Gary J. Oliver

How are your relationships? Should you be putting more effort into some of them, or have you done all you can and the relationship is over?

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