By Carlyn Montes De Oca
Do you know anyone who doesn’t want to be in a relationship?
I don’t. Most people yearn for the gifts of closeness, companionship and connection that a healthy and long lasting relationship offers. That is why, when it is gone, it can feel so heart-wrenching.
In “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. I just celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary and by my calculations, I have spent 53, 760 waking hours in my marriage to my husband, Ken. They have been years filled with joy as well as challenges. But because of this relationship, I am a better, more complete and more loving person.
A healthy relationship not only helps us live happier but also, according to researchers, helps us live longer. Here are five ingredients that have been invaluable in helping me maintain the marriage of my dreams. Perhaps they can work for you.
5 Ingredients for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship
1. Vision: If you don’t have a mutual vision in your relationship, you may eventually find yourself in the future at a different destination than your partner. It’s hard for a relationship to survive when someone, for example; wants to have children and the other person doesn’t or your partner wants to travel the world and you want to stay home. Of course opposites attract and that can make life very interesting but having a mutual vision in mind can at least keep you both on the same track and going towards the same destination.
2. Allowing: Allowing your partner be who they are, regardless of who you think they should be is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give a loved one and your relationship.
We all have a unique purpose here on this earth; something we can do better than anyone else. But often other people’s expectations, demands, or their own vision for us keeps us from being who we are meant to be and doing what we are meant to do.
I never even realized that it was a possible to be with someone who didn’t expect me to be anyway other than who I am. My husband, Ken, was the first person that modeled that behavior for me. He has allowed me to be who I am and this acceptance has allowed me to enjoy my life more than I ever thought possible and to connect with my purpose in life. I’m grateful to him for that gift.
3. Like: Remember that song by Crosby Stills and Nash, “Love the One You’re With?” For a long and healthy relationship, I suggest that you not only love the one you’re with but you “Like” the one you’re with, too. Passion burns hot and bright, especially at the beginning of a relationship but when it begins to cool down and the rose colored glasses begin to clear, do you ultimately like who is standing in front of you? Friendship is important in a relationship and paramount in a marriage.
4. Own: Sometimes people mistake being in a relationship as a kind of ownership of the other person. Instead, take ownership of yourself. Occupy yourself! Most of us come into our relationships with some kind of emotional baggage and its unfair to insist that our partners carry our baggage as well as their own.
When we truly own what’s ours, instead of criticizing our partner for not fulfilling our needs or projecting our “stuff” onto them, our relationship can become more honest with more space to breathe and grow. Relationship expert, Arielle Ford offers a great piece of advice for when you feel the need to criticize your partner. Instead of criticizing them right away, hold off and say five positive things before you say the one critical thing. And when you do say the critical thing – say it gently.
5. Raucous Laughter: Raucous, rib-splitting laughter is a delicious tonic for a healthy relationship and a healthy life. In a world where so many of us take life so seriously, laughter can help you and your partner release steam as buttons get pushed.
One night, early on in our relationship, Ken and I were walking to my duplex after dinner and he said something so funny, that we both had to sit down on the curb because we were laughing so hard. Finally, after about ten minutes, we got up and went back to my apartment. The next morning we woke up and I noticed that Ken had a black eye. It took us a while to realize that he had laughed so hard that he had ruptured a blood vessel under his eye,and thus the black eye. Perhaps this isn’t the best way to convince you that a great sense of humor is good for your health but laughter has certainly made the challenges of marriage a lot more fun, lighter and more memorable.
There are many ingredients for making love work. But the five ingredients that have helped keep my relationship healthy and happy are…..
Vision – having a mutual vision with your partner
Allowing – your partner to be who they are
Like – the one you are with
Own– your own baggage
It takes Valor or courage to be in a relationship, to make the commitment, and to give yourself permission to enjoy love to its fullest. I am more in love now than I have ever been and I sincerely wish you and yours the kind of love that I have found.
To Your Optimal Health & Wellness,
If you would like to watch the short video where this blog was inspired, please click here.
Carlyn Montes De Oca L.Ac., M.T.O.M., Dipl. O.M.
Modern Alchemy Acupuncture & Nutritional Counseling 415.306.1853
Acupuncture, Nutritional Counseling, Advanced Energetic Healing