_Relationships are what make our world go ‘round! Everyone needs to love and be loved and there is nothing greater than to be in a loving relationship.
But what makes a loving relationship?
A good relationship is based on mutual respect. You have to LIKE the person you are with and he/she needs to be your best friend. To become/have a friend involves sharing—sharing of your time, your secrets, your support of each other, your life stories. You have to KNOW a person to be a friend. Sharing creates a bond with another human being and makes that person special.
Many people enter into a relationship/marriage with their eyes shut. Even when a warning bell goes off, they tend to ignore it because they WANT to be “in love”. Perhaps they are afraid of being alone, of not having a partner, of being thought of as not good enough to be with someone. Putting up with someone that you don’t really like is far worse than being alone! And if you are alone, you have a better chance of finding the “right” person to share your life with.
In this day and age, people have no patience. I believe that with men, the TV remote control has GREATLY contributed to this state of affairs! To get to know someone, you have to be patient, you have to TALK, you have to share your feelings, your interests, your ideas. You have to go slow, which is totally against everything else we do in our fast-paced lives.
Another thing that is needed is to feel “safe”—to let your hair down, to be honest, to be candid. Of course, with this you risk being vulnerable, and this is scary, particularity to men. It is very hard to “bare your soul”, especially when sitting talking face-to-face. Some people find it easier to talk in the dark—“pillow talk” it used to be called. Others find it easier to write to the other person. That way, you are not being “watched” while you tell secrets about yourself, and you are not saying private things “out loud”.
So many people get into relationships without even KNOWING their partners! Partners Forever? is there to cover all the angles, the things one should know about one’s partner. And it allows the couple to fill out their answers in private. Here’s how it works: each partner will have a copy of the book in which he/she will respond to the questions by filling out the pages. At a pre-arranged date, they exchange the books. While reading the other’s book, notes are made on the answers in the “Notes” section provided in the back. When they meet to discuss their answers, the notes made will help each to remember the points they wanted to raise or the questions they wanted to ask. Either, or both, may want to add to or revise their answers after the discussions.
These books are not only useful for couples about to enter a relationship, but they can also be very beneficial for couples already in a relationship. They can help open an important and helpful dialogue by making explicit what each partner really wants and expects in the relationship. This kind of openness with each other can sometimes bring to light problems that can now be resolved and help each partner on the way to meeting his/her needs.
The books can be brought out now and then to see what progress is being/is not being made. Answers can be added to/revised over the years as well.
Here's to meaningful relationships!
Dominique Petersen is a graphic designer living in St. Thomas, Ontario, and is the author of the interactive book set, Partners Forever?