From the Magazine: A crash course on successful relationships

 by Dr. Yvette

There’s a set of universal rules that might work wonders in your relationship

The golden rule of personal effectiveness is always relevant in relationships – Realise that you can’t change anybody; you can only change yourself.

 Man is a relational being. I have spoken with hundreds of men on relationships and found that every single one yearns for a great marriage. I have found that 100 per cent of those who are dissatisfied with their relationships keep on wishing, “Why can’t my girlfriend be like that other great lady who’s dating (or married to) my best friend?”

I am yet to meet someone who didn’t want a great relationship with everyone in their circle of influence. After working many hours on this subject, I believe that there is a set of universal rules that together have the power to immediately and effectively work wonders in a relationship, no matter who the people in the relationship are.

I must warn that these rules are unusual and contrary to what you commonly hear. I do believe strongly that the popular teaching on relationships (religious and secular) is solely responsible for the high level of unhappiness in relationships. Most of the people I have met who are happy in their relationships do exactly the opposite of what the popular teachings say. Let’s look at the rules.

Rule #1: Forget it, there’s no perfect match for you! People who grew up in the era when fairytales ruled Hollywood are the first victims here. They are sold on the idea of how their relationships ought to be and the kind of person they should end up being with. These images fall in line with a lover who will be ready to give their life for us (Romeo and Juliet), a knight in shining armour who does heroic traveling to the ends of the world to save us (Rapunzel?), a prince who falls in love with us and changes our life (Cinderella).

Hollywood and American TV have both played a huge role in furthering these fantasy notions on how and who to fall in love with by using real people to depict these fairytales – Yes! That’s what they are – so people end of saying, “If this could happen to Huge Grant and Jennifer Aniston, it could happen to me.” Most recently, drawing from the movie Just Wright, “If this could happen to a sister like Queen Latifa and a brother like Common, it could happen to me.”

It’s time to wake up and realise that all these stories are works of fiction; they never really happened. Such people don’t exist; such things don’t happen to anybody – not even the royals.

So, the earlier you face the fact that there’s no perfectly chiseled face and body out there with a perfect voice pitch and right scent, whom you will encounter in a divinely ordered sequence of events, who will fall in love with you at first sight, and just be perfect, and live happily ever after, permanently in love with you, the better for you and the sooner the world will begin to see a realistic and saner approach to finding a partner.

It will make people start taking the people they meet every day more seriously and treat them better and with more respect. Because, from among these everyday people can be found a life partner that’s dependable. At the end of the day, people marry from people they meet – unless, perhaps, they want a mail-order bride or groom.

Rule #2: Endurance is key!

It’s almost become a lingo: “Enjoy, don’t endure.” The truth is that these two are not anthithetical. They go hand in hand in a successful relationship. Remember Rule #1? Because there’s no perfect person for us, 100 per cent of the people we will meet will have issues, demons, weaknesses; something they are dealing with. It goes without saying that we are going to end up with someone who has a quality, character, habit, like, or dislike that we don’t like.

So, the golden rule of personal effectiveness is always relevant in relationships – accept that you can’t change anybody; you can only change yourself.

There’s just no way of being happy in a relationship without accepting your partner’s weaknesses as part of who s/he is and deciding not to get upset and rant about them, but just accept them as part of your life and enjoy your life regardless.

Haven’t you noticed how happy some people remain, regardless of the flaws in their partner? Such people often don’t give much heed to the weakness. They say, “Arnold is weak with money. That’s just how he is. He isn’t business minded. I don’t let him take money decisions for the family.” Or, “Linda’s not the cleaning type, so I don’t expect to come home to a tidied up house.” Accept this and you find Rule #3 easy to take.

Rule #3: Have little to zero expectations

Disappointment is the sole cause of broken relationships and unmet expectations is the sole reason for disappointment. So if you expect nothing, you never get disappointed. If you never get disappointment, you never feel like leaving a relationship because you never get heartbroken and thus you never get unhappy. Now, there will be many who will be uneasy about this. But this is a fact of life. If you expect little, you always remain happy, because hardly will your high expectations be dashed. For instance, if your wife is a bad cook, you don’t expect great meals at home. You therefore do not every feel disappointed if she presents a tasteless meal at any time. However, if she does present a tasty meal on any occasion, you are pleasantly surprised and you appreciate the effort. On the other hand, if your wife is an excellent cook, you tend to expect great meals all the time. If you are presented with a tasteless meal, you’ll be sore disappointed and you may let her know, then she feels unhappy because you have failed to appreciate her effort or she just feels bad about being unappreciated or criticised. She spreads the unhappiness around and you know, it comes back to you.

Think back to those times you were stressed out in your relationship – shouting at each other or upset about something. At the centre of it all was an unmet expectation or set of them. Think about a relationship you ended – especially that which you still regret – at the centre of it were failed expectations.

Expect little, hardly get disappointed. Expect nothing, be happy every day of your life!

The exception

It’s also important to clarify that these rules in no way direct one to remain in any kind of relationship, with any kind of person or endure any kind of abuse. Remember that the central theme is about you being happy. If a person or a situation is not just making you unhappy, get out.

Get someone you are comfortable with. He or she won’t be perfect or a perfect match to you. But, it’s a person you really like. Let’s take that trip to relationship bliss. Y!  


One comment

  1. Dr. Yvette, u are sure a relationship mending Dr. I have been with my husband for over 10years & its the 10th year I began to realise all u just analyze here, during the 9years, I was expecting him to meet up wit all he has promised me, to be my Mr. Perfect but wen I sat on a queit day after doing series of prayer, I realise God blessed me wit the best man & I couldn't have asked for more, so I began to list out the best in him, I switch my mood/way of reasoning & now started merging to see him as the best, see his lil short comings as the cross I need to bear with him & letting God help us in those areas of our life we can't fix by power or might & allowing God take control as I change to appreciate the best part of my spouse & allow love & dedication/my vows to nurture a happy atmosphere in my home. Since almost 2years now, we are not only living peacefully & happy together as spouse but also the bestest friends. Dough it wasn't an easy journey at 1st but working on it day by day by day….& with prayers, its now a gr8 receptive home, peaceful, & blessed by God. Thanks Dr. Yvette good piece & I have copied this piece link to over 25persons on my bbm contact bcos we all both single & married need such inspirational lecture to grow!

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