Most people want to be involved in happy, sustainable relationships. We yearn for them. We dream about them and even pray for them. Unfortunately, life usually doesn’t happen the way we want it to. There are, of course, those exceptions which typically occur when we least expect it. However, when we fail to plan for this pleasant surprise, we set ourselves up for heartbreak.
If we want great relationships, doesn’t it stand to reason we should be relationship ready? Shouldn’t we know what we want, don’t want, can tolerate, can’t tolerate, can give to a partner, can’t give to a partner and so on? This seems reasonable; but, when those questions are posed to most people, they have to stop and ponder the answers as if they’d never thought of those considerations. Once the “huh” look disappears, they often give answers they think you want to hear as opposed to what they really feel inside for fear of judgment. This lack of honesty with ourselves can contribute to self-inflicted relationship failures.
Why do we not put as much effort into finding and maintaining the right relationship as we do into looking for a job, starting a business or picking the right name or doctor for our children? Most humans truly want a healthy, loving, intimate relationship, yet we have no real plan to achieve this goal. For the small minority of those who do have a plan, the world can look at us like we’re crazy. We can be described as unrealistic or rigid; sadly, in the African American community, we are sometimes described as trying to be like white people.
Why is it wrong to think we need to plan for relationships? Once we find someone we think we love (or could love), we plan our futures together, our wedding and even where we live or want to retire. But once again, there is no relationship plan. Some things to consider when planning for relationship success are:
- How do you expect your partner to deal with your emotional needs and theirs?
- What is your definition of the word respect?
- What is your argument style and what argument style can you tolerate?
- What are your most honest feelings and thoughts on sexual compatibility?
- How important are family ties to you & how will you deal with difficult future in-laws?
- How do you plan to cheat proof your relationship?
- Can you accept a person with children and love them as your own?
- What are your financial needs and what kind of financial planner are you?
- Have you discussed long term healthcare needs in the event one of you gets ill (will they be willing to take care of you or vice versa)?
This is just a short list of things to consider, but they are certainly things that many people think about AFTER a concern arises. By then, they have a huge mess on their hands. The feelings of connection can skew your thinking and the results are often disastrous.
One of our gravest mistakes is allowing our emotions to take us to a place our mind can’t handle. It pays to be heart smart, especially in a day and age where family values seem to be lost in a world of “if I don’t like it, I’ll change partners like underwear.”
People have always said anything worth having is worth working for. I also believe anything worth having is worth planning for, and that includes one of the most precious gems most of us desire – a loving, healthy and intimate relationship.