Friday, August 27, 2010

Eat, Pray and LOVE your Relationship!

With Eat Pray Love hitting theaters, I suspect there's a lot of soul-searching going on. The movie is based on the book of the same name which focuses on the author Elizabeth Gilbert's round-the-world journey to seek out enlightenment and peace after her divorce. It's reported that her publisher paid her an advance which helped to finance the trip and there's no doubt that would sweeten the pot and help make such a trip doable. Most of us probably won't see an advance that enables a trip like that but there are plenty of things you can do to ensure enlightenment and peace without leaving home.

And since my area of expertise is relationships, here are a few tips to keep things happy on the home front - and to help ensure the only round-the-world excursion you'll take is one for fun and relaxation, with your significant other by your side!

Don't over-ride emotion. Sure, it can seem easier to just sweep heated discussions or uncomfortable communications under the rug but sooner or later things will resurface. Opting not to talk about things will likely lead down a road you don't want to be on; one where you end up in a knock down drag out fight, or one where you're pushed apart and possibly even enter into an affair.

Instead, learn to fight fair. The idea is to provide a safe place where each person can feel comfortable talking about their fears and frustrations. These types of habits can be the glue that helps to create passion in a relationship, even during and spite of disagreements and conflict.

Know your "Imago." Imago is the imprint that makes you who you are - your background, upbringing, friends, job history, education and so forth. But it's also the "image" of what your'e looking for in a partner. As you transition through life changes with your significant other, a big part of making that transition successfully comes from the way you deal with stressors as a couple. Being aware of how YOU deal with these things (your imago) and acknowledging your partner's imago helps to forestall any preconceived notions or assumptions. It all comes back to being honest with yourself and your partner!

Have an affair - with your own partner! People are looking for novelty, for that dopamine high we get when we try something new and adventurous. Unfortunately, many people sacrifice a relationship they've worked hard to build on the quest for that high. There are ways to recreate these feelings with your partner, eliminating the need to look outside your relationship. You know those feelings you had when you first met? That's the newness and excitement you're looking for. Bring new elements into your relationship, and help yourself fall back in love with your partner.

These are just a few creative and basic ways to encourage healthy relationships. For more, check out Make Up Don't Break Up, Adultery the Forgivable Sin, and Financial Infidelity.

- Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil

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