To me there are several stages of relationships that must be examined. While there may be such a thing as “love at first sight,” for most of us it doesn’t happen that way. Initial attraction… yes! True love… doubtful!
Although I haven’t yet read the book, “Ships,” I would like to give you my take on the 3 “ships” on the cover of the book that K’Anne writes about. They were the inspiration for this article.
Companionship – Before marriage usually comes companionship. Companionship help keeps your mind sharp, allows you to have fun, and stay connected with friends, family, and community.
When choosing a companion you are much more likely to be happy and have a “healthy” relationship if you choose one of your own faith. Some believe that your faith doesn’t matter. I disagree. As a relationship coach, this issue comes up often after marriage, rarely before. It is something you must think about and talk about BEFORE you tie the knot!
Choose a companion you can always honor; one you can always respect, one who will complement you in your own life, one to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty.
Companionship is that state of being friends. It is a closeness or familiarity, a true fellowship among people who for some reason have connected. It allows two people to remain individuals, have other interests outside of themselves, and are in no way bound by or to the thoughts and beliefs of the other. It encourages individuality and freedom of choice; more of an equality issue out of mutual agreement and respect.
“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough.” ~ Anna Louise Strong
Chances are pretty good that you plan your time together around your favorite recreational activities. That’s because you enjoy each others company and hanging out with each other. Often love blossoms because of companionship.
If you are craving companionship, be careful. While it may keep loneliness and depression at bay and making life more meaningful, depending upon someone else to make you happy is not a good reason to seek a companion. It may be that something is missing in the relationship you have with yourself.
“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves.” ~ Eda LeShan
If you are not looking for a relationship, you may want to consider RentAFriend. 😉 (Just kidding)!
Friendship – Friendships often begin with casual acquaintances. No one can form a friendship until he/she realizes that the basis of being friends is meeting the needs of the other person. Never measure your happiness by the quality of your personal relationships. No one ever relates perfectly and even those who relate well can see from time to time that they need to improve. A true friend – someone who loves you for who you are. That certainly helps. They know how crazy you are and still choose to be seen with you in public. 😉
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” ~ C.S. Lewis
Friendship takes time – time to get to really know each other, time to build shared memories, time to build trust and time to invest in each others personal growth. A mark of genuine friendship is the privilege of being yourself and still being accepted. A true friendship always tells us that we are acceptable and accepted.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
Relationship – Close, personal relationships combine trust, support, open & non-judgmental communication, loyalty, understanding, empathy, and intimacy. Great communication is the cornerstone, and trust is the foundation of a healthy love relationship. There can be no trust without conversation (communication); no genuine intimacy without trust. One of the secrets to having healthy love relationships is to never be afraid to openly and honestly discuss whatever is relevant to the success of the relationship.
“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on – series polygamy – until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.” ~ Tom Robbins
Once you know you are moving in the direction of a relationship, it is wise to let go of all of your expectations. A problem occurs when we expect our partner to love us a certain way and when they don’t, we are disappointed or, we expect them to do something or behave in a certain way, they don’t (they missed our subtle hints), and again we experience disappointment. By the way, subtle hints don’t work. No one can read your mind. Unfulfilled expectations always cause relationship problems.
Instead we must learn to focus on what we “need” from the relationship. Everyone needs love. Discover the freedom that comes from allowing our love partner to love us the way “they” love us not the way we “expect” them to love us! We can best accomplish this by first discovering what we individually need from the relationship, then mutually communicating those needs to our love partner.
“Well, it seems to me that the best relationships – the ones that last – are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is… suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.” ~ Gillian Anderson
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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