Maria Connolly Somatic Psychotherapy CoachingConnect with me on LinkedInLike us on Facebook

Posts Tagged ‘love’

How to Make a Relationship Last Forever

While many relationships fail, be assured, it is possible to make your relationship last forever. Even if you’re experiencing difficulty, you can make things better by building trust and true intimacy in your relationship. You can learn how to make a relationship last forever.“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” ~Brene Brown

Fairy tales and love stories feed us fantasies of perfect “happy ever after” relationships. But, in reality, we see unhappy, unhealthy relationships all around us. Is it even possible that you can make a relationship last forever?

It is possible if you choose wisely, work hard, and you both remain committed to making it work. Working with couples, I have seen the deep longing that people have for being seen, heard and understood. Both partners long for it so much that it gets in the way of each one seeing, hearing and understanding their partner. Is that perhaps true in your case, too?

How can you make your relationship last forever?

First, rather than asking, “How can I make a relationship last forever? Ask, “How can we create a love that lasts forever?” Do you see the positive shift in this language?

Here are five other shifts that will help you promote a long-lasting relationship:

Shift “I can change him” into “I love him warts and all.” It’s a fairy tale to kiss a frog and change him into a perfect prince. When you commit to someone, you’re accepting him as he is. To manipulate, cry and pout because he doesn’t live up to your unrealistic expectations is dishonest. That’s why it’s so important to know yourself before ever beginning a relationship. Only then will you recognize the right partner for you.

If you’re already in a relationship, it’s never too late to learn to appreciate and wholeheartedly accept each other as you are. I love how Thomas Merton describes this:

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

 Shift “I’m not getting what I want and need” into “I give without any strings attached.” Expecting to get more than you give is a poor foundation for any relationship. Give for the sheer joy of giving. Delighting each other makes love grow.

Shift “My dream” into “Our shared vision”. We all need to have dreams. To pursue a relationship when you’re stuck on only “my dream,” will make you feel trapped, frustrated, and resentful. Look for someone who has the same vision as you do, so you can build on it, while allowing you both to achieve your most important individual dreams.

Shift “I can’t talk to him about THAT!” into “We hold sacred our intimate secrets.” It takes vulnerability and trust to open up to each other. You earn trust by keeping intimate things private. You don’t run off to tell mom, sisters, or friends what your man’s weaknesses or insecurities are. It’s between you and him alone. And you don’t hold it against him. You see it as an opportunity to step up and supportively add what he lacks.

Shift “He’s not the man I married” into “We’re growing together.” It’s inevitable that you both will change. When you’re committed to growing together, you allow each other space to explore and develop. You can freely express feelings, needs, hopes and dreams. You support each other, not being afraid of where the change will take you, because you’re in the journey together and that’s exciting!

Conflicts and disagreement are bound to happen. If you haven’t learned to feel safe in these situations, you may take them as a sign you shouldn’t be together. But it’s actually a sign that you don’t have the right skills to overcome those moments…yet.

Repair is the most important step to disagreement. You can learn to resolve and deepen your relationship by following my Three Steps to Personal Responsibility in Relationships:

  1. I am responsible for understanding myself – my wants, needs and values;
  2. I am responsible for verbalizing that understanding to you;
  3. YOU are responsible for co-creating with me a relationship where I feel safe to speak my truth. (This helps both parties to take responsibility for their part in the relationship.)

Having been married for almost 26 years, I understand that cultivating a healthy relationship takes a lot of work. Both parties need to be interested in growing personally and updating old familial patterns that aren’t useful anymore.

Sometimes you can get stuck. I get that. I’m here to help you get past that and gain more clarity. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).  If you want something in your relationship to change, that change must begin with you.

What is Love and How Many Types of Love Are There Anyway?

If you’re wondering what is love and how can you experience more meaningful connections in your life, this post reveals the types of true love you can feel.“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.” ~  Paulo Coelho

You love your parents. You love your children. You love your life-long best friend you’ve had since grade school.  You love your romantic partner. You love them all, but not in the same way. Each one holds a special and unique place in your heart.

Why is it that we immediately “fall in love” with some people, while not others? Just to give you an example: I’ve become acquainted with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work (www.chimamanda.com). And I immediately felt a strong connection with her. What she says and her way of being really resonates with me. She’s funny, graceful, authentic, and the kind of powerful person that makes me proud to be a woman. So I’ve fallen in love with her and have adopted her as my new role model.

From a biological point of view, love is fundamentally chemistry. While lust is a temporary sexual state caused by the release of chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen, true love is caused by the release of a whole range of chemicals such as pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.

From an evolutionary standpoint, love can be viewed as a survival mechanism because it holds the family and community together for mutual security and shared resources.

The word “love” is confusing, because in English we have just one word to describe so many emotional states. It would be so much better to follow the example of the ancient Greeks who had numerous words to describe the various feelings of love:

  • Philia – the deep intimacy between close friends or family members.
  • Ludus – the playful affection like flirting. 
  • Storge – affection within the moment similar to when you see a child do something adorable.
  • Pragma – the mature love that develops over a long period of time between committed couples who actively practice goodwill and understanding.
  • Agape – the generalized love for all of humanity. 
  • Philautia – the self-love that we need in order to care for others.
  • Eros – the sexual passion and infatuation, which fades unless it turns into a deeper love like philia or pragma.

Even growing up in Italy we distinguished between love towards family and friends by saying: “Ti voglio bene’” and towards a romantic partner using the phrase: “Ti amo.”

Love is never static. It’s expansive. Your heart will never be too full to accept another love. However, it needs to be nurtured and expressed in acts of kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice to stay alive and active.

You can be open to accepting love, but you can’t dictate how, when and where love strikes. You can’t make somebody love you. Love usually arrives in our lives without warning. You can’t buy it. Sell it. Imprison it.

True love is so powerful that it can never hurt anyone. Although, it may cost you dearly because it gives you the courage to speak up and stand up for what you believe in. While it comes freely, it creates an unbreakable bond, one that can be stronger than death. There is nothing it can’t face. If you have love you have a blessed life.

Yet sadly, too many people live without love. They’ve been abused. They’re too busy. Or their fears keep love away. They feel unloved, unworthy, unappreciated. The good news is that anyone can change their situation.

If you’d like to experience deeper, more meaning connections in your life, remember change starts within you. Please check out the Women in Leadership Retreat I’m leading with my close friend Nando Raynolds on May 20 and 21. Everyone gets to choose their own goal to work on so creating loving relationships could be yours. Or feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation, in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Recent Posts

About Maria

Our Address