Glenda (not her real name) isn’t happy. It’s weird too–she feels like she should be. She’s got a great job and her kids are busy and doing pretty well in school. She has a great group of friends, and her parents are healthy and live an hour away from her. Her marriage is okay. It could be a lot better, but things are not catastrophic and falling apart. She chalks it up to having kids as the focus of their lives right now and that she and her husband are too tired at night to give the relationship much attention. She loves her husband, but the marriage is, if she’s being honest, flat and boring.
Janice has been on antidepressants for a year now and says they’ve helped take away the overall sadness she was feeling, but the pills put a film of blahness on her life. “It’s like I’m flatlined. There’s no color in my world–it’s all grey,” she explains. “When I was sad a lot, it was like my emotions were on one end of a pendulum most of the time. Now I feel like I’m mostly in the middle of the pendulum–it doesn’t swing to either side. This isn’t how I saw my life working out.” What Janice comes to realize through therapy is that her sadness had been masking underlying childhood issues that had been pushed aside. When she was young, her parents divorced. As a pre-teen, her father’s derogatory comments toward her mother began to wear her down. She began to act out at her mother’s house when she was visiting. Eventually, she stopped going to visit and had not had contact with her mother for ten years. She realizes the breakdown in the relationship with her mother is part of the sadness she’s been trying to dull with antidepressants.
Mick is one of the top managers of his company. He gets to the office at 6:30 in the morning and doesn’t leave until at least 7 at night. Rick took this job prior to getting married. The hours he spends at his job take away hours spent with his family. Over the past year, since their second child was born, he has noticed that his wife has become distant. He chalks it up to having kids and being tired. Rick wishes she put in some effort toward him and sometimes feels jealous of how much time and attention their kids get.
We’re fortunate that in this modern age we no longer have to spend our energy in a frantic energy of getting our basic needs met–hunting and gathering food all day or creating a shelter that will shield us from the elements or from a tiger or bear.
Our basic needs aren’t normally a concern for many of us during our daily lives. We’re free to create something above and beyond the basic life.
So, then what? You’ve got the safety and security of food, shelter, and clothing–how do you want to create your life? You’ve got a blank canvas–how will you paint it?
We live in a time that we have the freedom to create a life we love. What makes an extraordinary and meaningful life? Is it having more things? More things than your neighbor? A great job? A great looking partner?
A significant part of creating a life you love is cultivating healthy and loving relationships.
Think about it: Doesn’t life just flow better when your relationships are going well?
Healthy and loving relationships begin with you and the relationship you have with yourself. You first learn about relationships from what was modeled to you as a kid. Your first and most significant relationship model was your parents. It’s certainly helpful if you had parents who are great role models. Many people’s default for what relationships are like is usually an unconscious and unexamined method of relating.
Let me ask you this: How do you define success? If a person is a millionaire but they’ve got horrible relationships with their significant other or family members, how successful are they? If a person is seeking fame and fortune but they’re lonely and afraid to be in a relationship, is that living a meaningful life?
You can have a great career and all the “toys” money can buy, but relationships provide the backdrop to living an extraordinary life. Relationships color your world for better or worse.
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So when your life isn’t working out the way you wanted it to, take some time to reflect on your relationships with your loved ones. How satisfying are your relationships? Could they be better? How would that change the way you see your world?
If you know someone who can benefit from this or if you like this article please like or share this on FB, tweet it, link to this, and/or leave a comment. Thanks! Let’s get the word out on what it takes to have an extraordinary relationship! My mission is to help as many people create loving and long-lasting relationships as possible!
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If your relationship needs some attention, and you’re not sure just reading articles like these and books will help, I invite you to discover relationship coaching. You can find out more by clicking here: Relationship Coaching.
Is your relationship with your significant other less than stellar? Is it boring? Are you on the fence about getting a divorce or are you now in the midst of one and need some guidance?
I can help. As a certified life coach and counselor with a focus on marriage and family therapy, I help individuals, couples, and families to heal.
My passion is to enrich people’s lives by helping them create extraordinary relationships. I am the author of Transforming Divorce, theTransforming Divorce Workbook, and co-author (with my husband Don Nenninger) ofThe Secrets of Loving Relationships, and The Art and Science of Parenting: How to Act When Your Kid’s Acting Out.