Larry James' BLOG

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Want a Grrreat Relationship? Ya Gotta Work it!

Happily-ever-after is a myth! Let’s begin there.

It’s a dangerous fantasy to think that marriage really means you get to be happy forever. Every couple has ups and downs. We have good days and some not so good days. Expecting perfection in a marriage or a partner is a step in the wrong direction. Unfulfilled expectations always cause problems. Having expectations in our culture is expected. We are brought up that way.

loveYOUHaving great expectations sounds great however when the expectation is unfulfilled, we bitch, we moan, we become disappointed. That is a problem for most people. It seems that we require so much more from a relationship than people did in the past. The expectations we have about relationships are for the most part unrealistic. Alcoholics Anonymous calls expectations premeditated resentments.

As we live longer, “til death us do part” is getting to be tall order. Sometimes we think marriage is complicated – at other times, it seems ridiculously easy.

The happiest couples have a clear sense of purpose and passion in their relationships and also outside of their relationships. It’s important to know that a marriage that runs on multiple tracks makes for a more satisfied spouse who gets to have it both ways – a committed marriage and personal adventures in uncharted territory.

“Falling in love is amazing! The excitement of meeting someone new brings out the best in all of us; the journey ahead feels like an open road full of possibility … but, then something happens: Either the relationship starts to feel stale, or perhaps money issues, kids, or trying to figure out a comfortable work-life balance comes into play. Whatever the cause, the initial spark dims or goes out altogether, and the future of your relationship becomes a long and winding road, full of pit stops and flat tires.” ~ Harville Hendrix (

Some people leave relationships because it just takes too much effort to keep it together. That usually means that one partner has given up and has refused to work with their partner on the relationship.

How do you keep a relationship together when it feels like it’s falling apart? Contrary to popular belief, being in a relationship is not a 50/50 percent proposition, it is 100/100 percent or it will never work.

“You have to respect each other and demonstrate it. Find something you love to do together. A few years ago we started kayaking, and we just bought bikes. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you need to stay connected. Most of all, treasure each other.” ~ Paul Babcock, who has been married to his wife, Marina, for 32 years

When someone causes you hurt and pain and worry, it’s up to you to see this as red flags.

Make love often! Maintain that sexual energy you had when you first met. Never let it go. That takes work too.

workitGive up being right! You should now have to win every disagreement. In my many years as a relationship coach, some the things that couples fight over are downright ridiculous. Remember that all those “little” things that you have disagreements about, if you don’t talk about them they escalate and often grow into unmanageable issues that can destroy a marriage. Which brings me to the next point.

Communicate! Learn to talk about anything and everything, all the time – that is relevant to your relationship. Surrender to your best judgement. Most people know what they should do… just do it.

Practice the art of forgiveness. It is an art. It takes practice. Remember that forgive and forget is also a myth. If you’re smart when you remember, you must also remember that you’ve already handled that and you need to let it go. Flexibility is always an important component of a long-term marriage. There is “nothing” that cannot be forgiven. Nothing! Saying, “I’m sorry,” even if you would rather not say it works wonders.

“Showing compassion definitely makes spouses behave better. And the ability to bounce back from strife is the real secret that makes marriages last forever.” ~ Iris Krasnow

R-E-S-P-E-C-T for your partner is mandatory if you want your relationship to work. No respect… no sex. People who are always pissed off at each other seldom feel like making love. Regain respect and make love often! Maintain that sexual energy you had when you first met. “Eye contact during sex reinforces the love-making aspect of sex,” says sex expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D. “It also enhances the emotional intensity and sense of intimacy.” Never let go of the intimacy you share. That takes work too.

Relationships are something that need to be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Never take each other for granted. What you take together… disappears! The importance of supporting each other as individuals with ideas, dreams and goals of our own is paramount.

Kids, dual careers, a home to maintain, family to deal with, and friendships to sustain and you have a perfect recipe for how couples grow apart. You must help keep your relationship strong by working together. Two words spouses don’t hear often enough from one another: “Thank you!”

Putting some of these ideas to work will help you to avoid boredom which will keep your marriage on track.

CAUTION: Do not ever mention the word DIVORCE in jest or otherwise unless you are ready to leave. Threats do not work. They only make things worst.

Respect. The couple with high hopes demonstrates respect for each other. When one spoke, the other actively listened. They demonstrated this by looking at the other, waiting for each other to finish speaking and often referring to what the other had said.

When things get rocky… never be afraid to seek help from a relationship coach. Sometimes it’s important to have someone who will listen to talk to.

BONUS Articles: 30 Ways to Improve Your Relationship
Forgiveness… What’s it For?
The Truth About Relationship Expectations

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – 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.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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