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A simple and accurate response to the question, “Is there such a thing as a perfect relationship?” is a simple “No”. I hope that comes as a relief. It may be sad in some respect to accept that no relationship is perfect. It requires that we let go of the fantasy of a fairy tale relationship. The more realistic and ultimately more gratifying question is, “Is there such a thing as a healthy and satisfying relationship?” The answer to that question is a definite “YES”.
Through fairy tales and movies and romance novels, people can unconsciously create this fantasy relationship that they have had since childhood. Remember Cinderella? It can be difficult to let it go. We also get a regular dose in our daily lives that perfection exists, and are encouraged to pursue the impossible. In relationships, we are dealing with two people who are imperfect. Accepting another person’s wonderful qualities as well as their imperfections, makes for a wonderfully human and loving relationship, and increases your chances of having one and keeping it alive and well. There is no magic to making it work. It takes time, effort, patience, love and some good skills.
We do know that 50% of marriages fail, and that long-term committed relationships without marriage actually fare better than traditional marriages. So, what is true, is that some relationships are stronger, more resilient and healthier than others, which basically means that some couples enjoy their relationship more than other couples. A healthy relationship makes for healthier and happier individuals, and the opposite is true as well.
What we see when we look at another couple is not always the entire story. Comparing your relationship to others’ relationships does not help your relationship. We know that relationships require some work and attention…they are not an accident. That’s the good news, because it means that you don’t have to leave the future of your relationship up to fate. There are many skills that couples can learn and lots of information available to couples that are helpful to making your relationship the best it can be. There are also many characteristics that go along with having a strong and healthy relationship. Couples that experience a lot of satisfaction in their relationships usually have good communication, similar interests, respect each other, enjoy quality time versus just quantity, have a better sex life (including more frequent sex), have time apart, fight fair, and choose their battles wisely.
A healthy and satisfying relationship adds to your quality of life. So, remember to be grateful for your relationship, and to be appreciative of each other. Also having a positive attitude helps. Keep the focus on your partner’s positive traits, and off of the little things you find annoying. Ignoring those things gets easier with practice as does patience. Thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, or that someone else has a better or more perfect life or relationship hurts your relationship. Keep the focus on yourself, what you can do to improve your relationship, and on what is working, You and your partner, together, make the decision to enjoy your relationship and each other each and every day. When in doubt, if you run into a rough spot or just want to keep your relationship in good shape you can always call on a professional for help.