I am going to take this list written by Debbie Millman, put them through my Angry filter, and show you that they can also apply to relationships.
1. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.
No, that doesn’t mean cheating. By mistakes I mean doing things within the boundaries of the relationship with good intent then taking responsibility for them if they were not healthy. Without mistakes, there is no growth. So this process simulates change and growth. The glue comes in taking risks and making mistakes as a couple, then learning from them and becoming stronger as a team.
2. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
Many believe relationships should just come naturally, like the rush of dopamine that shot into your brain when you guys first met. Actually, to be in a monogamous relationship where you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and compromise your wants / needs is unnatural. It goes against our natural human instincts. In order for us to adapt and embrace this, it takes time. A long time. Be patient.
3. Work very very hard.
What of value comes easy? Relationships are no different. I think many underestimate how much work it takes to make a relationship work. Most tap out after the first “very”. So what does very very hard work look like? It’s different for everyone. But you will know because of that giant mountain you see in front of you, the one you’ve always avoided climbing. The second “very” means self examination.
4. Ask for opportunities.
Since we think we know our partner so well, we stop asking. Instead, we assume. The thing is people change. If you want something, ask for it. Their answer may be different today than it would have been yesterday. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get. It’s a basic rule of life. And it also applies in relationships. I believe this process of asking / communicating creates opportunities to get to know each other better.
5. Finish what you start.
I’m referring to arguments. Many start an argument but don’t finish it because it gets too heated. They walk away and never come back to it. Issues don’t get resolved. Instead, people are not heard and there’s anger and resentment. If you walk away from a fight without consent or resolution, you’re leaving the relationship for that period. One day, there will be no one to come back to.
6. Say yes to almost everything.
Assuming it’s healthy and the intent is good, what’s the worst that could happen? You get pushed out of your comfort zone? That’s called an opportunity for growth. I think we say no too much in relationships. We don’t like feeling uncomfortable. If you want more yeses in your life, this is where to start.
7. Busy is a decision.
Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean it’s time to stop life. Each should have their own life. This means making a choice to be busy and working on your own container. I think many get into a relationship and stop or slow down their own personal busyness.
8. Don’t censor your dreams before you actually dream.
What ever dreams you had when you were single shouldn’t change because you are now in a relationship, unless it happens organically and honestly. Many give up their dreams because the relationship doesn’t allow them. Your dreams can change but don’t censor your dreams for anyone.
9. In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide you want one.
I think the key word there is you not you guys. I think many lose themselves in their relationship because they forget about their own wants, needs, and paths. Remarkable can still happen when you’re in a committed relationship. But you have to decide you want remarkable and you’re not willing to negotiate that.
10. It is only a failure if you accept defeat.
We should fight for our relationship. Always. Not in our relationship, for our relationship. There’s you. There’s your partner. Then there’s the relationship. If you accept defeat, you are not fighting for the relationship. Admitting that you are wrong is not accepting defeat. Admitting that you are wrong is actually fighting for the relationship.
Keep leaning forward,