This July 4th weekend, there will no doubt be lots of parties and celebrations. Perhaps, you'll use the extra day off to sleep in and maybe you're going to a BBQ. Hopefully, you'll have time to relax with your mate and get some quality time together.
But, as a relationship expert, I also feel that there are lessons to be learned from this holiday that can help bring you and your sweetheart closer than ever.
- With freedom comes responsibility. This is a phrase you've heard often. What this means to me regarding relationships is that you and your mate have a responsibility to each other to maintain your partnership. Too often, after we make a commitment to each other we start to take the relationship for granted. We let other things get in the way. Little by little, often without our even noticing it, we become disconnected from our partner. However, if we each take responsibility to pay attention to the relationship and to prioritize it, this sense of disconnection isn't as likely to occur.
- Equality. Our Constitution says that all people are created equally. This certainly holds true in our relationships. Respect has been found to be the number one factor for a solid relationship. Having respect means accepting your partner, not judging or putting him or her down. Furthermore, even during times when you are in conflict with one another, you can still show each other respect.
- Independence. It's so romantic when you read novels, hear music, or watch movies where the partners complete each other. In reality, this is not healthy; I would actually call it co-dependent. When you put yourself in a position where you rely on someone else for your happiness, you are disempowering yourself. It's far better for each person in the relationship to be independent and to be his or her own person. Then each person in the relationship can enhance each other.
- Celebrate. Just as we celebrate America achieving independence, so should you celebrate your mate and all of the achievements he or she makes. Unfortunately, many people try to change their mate. You don't have the right to change someone else. This is controlling and will lead to resentment. Research has shown that when an individual feels supported and appreciated for who he or she is, the relationship will fare stronger.
- Fireworks. Just like we want to make the 4th of July special, you want to make your relationship special as well. Though there's a lot to be said for comfort, comfort does get boring and stale. As a result, being bored can lead to negativity in your relationship. So create some fireworks in whatever way works for the two of you. Mix things up a bit, do something novel, try different activities. Doing so will enhance the quality of your relationship.
Finally, as you work towards these goals, and start to reap the connected, loving relationship you desire, bask in the glory of knowing that you worked hard and have created something very special!
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