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Don't dos and do dos of a healthy relationship
It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partners perspective to make a relationship work and thats just for routine life experiences. Here are some tips to make it work. - photo by Rosalind Sedacca
Written by Rosalind Sedacca, CCT and founder of Child-Centered Divorce Network.

Sadly, celebrity divorces make all the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They showcase the most unconscious behavior, especially when it comes to relationships.

Far too often we find the more shallow celebrities, and those who follow them with star-lit eyes, spend more time working out their wedding details than on determining whether this was a good match from the start. Too many couples think no further than the honeymoon plans when contemplating marriage. They have no idea about the complexity behind real relationship issues and the maturity it takes to create a successful long-term outcome.

Divorced couples learn through hindsight about the challenges two people face when living together week after week, month after month in todays stress-filled world. It takes awareness, flexibility, great communication skills and the ability to understand your partners perspective to make a relationship work and thats just for routine life experiences. Throw in accidents, sickness, job loss and other major stressors, not to mention the complexities that come with having children, and its easy to understand why so many marriages fail and too often end in divorce.

If youre divorced and looking to find a healthier, happier relationship ahead, or marrying for the first time and want to avoid relationship disasters, here are some tips that are worth serious consideration:

  • Know your partner well during the good times and the bad. Its after you face disagreements, nursing your partner through an illness and other life challenges that you find out who you are really contemplating spending the rest of your life with. If what you discover makes you uncomfortable, have some serious conversations or move on before making any further commitments.
  • Dont expect to be completed, saved, or fixed. No one can fill the void in your inner self. Youre setting your partner up for failure if you expect them to fix your problems and love you through your unresolved issues. Do the inner work on yourself first, perhaps with the support of a therapist or coach. Heal your wounds and neediness. Then seek out another soul who has done the same to partner with you.
  • Be hooked on more than just romance. Happily married couples will tell you that you have to be more than great bedmates to make a real relationship work. Look for common values, goals, beliefs and interests. Opposites may attract in the short-term, but you want a marriage based on respect and sharing a future together. If your core values and interests are not in alignment, youre facing a tougher road ahead.
  • Be your authentic self and dont change for a partners approval. You cant fake your way through a marriage. If you hate sports, the internet or pets, state it up front and find a mate who loves you knowing this reality. Its unfair to hide your true self from your partner and its a disservice to yourself pretending to be who you are not. Its wise to honor who you are. Then look for a partner with high self-esteem who loves themselves as they are. Thats a formula for lasting relationship success!
As too many celebrities discover, money wont buy you a happy marriage. You cant use sensuality as a substitute for good sense. Relationships dont have storybook endings. They require constant attention, the ability to sacrifice and compromise at times, and a heavy dose of respect for the person you brought into your life.

Before setting out in the relationship world, work on your inner demons, let go of the baggage from previous relationships, and take your time in getting to know the special partner you are choosing. Theres no magic wand that will make your relationship succeed, but these guidelines will set you on a course that will circumvent a lot of potholes along the road to happily ever after.
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