A Valentine Week Primer on How to Have The Best Intimate Relationship You Possibly Can
A+ relationship. Noun. 1. The best intimate relationship you can possibly create. 2. A loving monogamous relationship that is excellent, superior, awesome, exciting, passionate, growing, fulfilling, fascinating and romantic. 3. An act of creation involving two individuals—two artists whose lifework is creating love through the medium of their relationship. 4. A relationship that, while not perfect, ranks in the 95th percentile. So says Gregory J. P. Godek in the book Love—The Course They Forgot To Teach You In School (Casablanca Press, 1997.)
How do you achieve an A+ relationship? You commit yourself to excellence, you work hard (and play hard!), and you work on your relationship skills together. In other words, to the best of your ability, you live your love. Great relationships are acts of conscious creation, and the two of you are artists working to create one life out of two. While falling in love does “just happen”, staying in love never happens by itself.
We’ve lowered our standards. Too many of us settle for C’s while dreaming of A’s. We’re entertained by D’s on T.V. talk shows, and F’s on the evening news. We expect A’s from our politicians, even though we voted in mostly B’s and C’s. We expect A+ school systems, when we fund them C- budgets. We expect A’s from our children, even when we settle for B’s and C’s from ourselves. We expect A+ relationships, even though we reserve our best efforts for our careers and golf games, says Godek.
An A+ relationship is the best intimate relationship you can possibly create. We’re talking about creating—not simply having—an A+ relationship. A superior relationship is not something that is given to you or that you simply “fall” into. Nor is it something that you achieve and then possess forever
Nobody has an A+ relationship all the time. Even the best, hardest-working, most perfectly matched couples have hard times, misunderstandings and heated arguments.
If you are interested in creating an A+ relationship for yourselves, here are some ideas you could explore. Discuss with your partner:
- What grade would you give you relationship right now?
- How much improvement would you like to make in your relationship?
- What expectations, standards and “rules” (spoken and unspoken) do you have in your relationship?
- What hopes, dreams and wishes do you have for your relationship?
- Fill in the blank: “Love is _______________.” (Fill in all the answers that fit.)
- Fill in the blank: “Love is not__________________ .”
- Do you balance your needs with your partner’s needs?
- Do you balance the needs of your relationship with each of your individual needs?
- Do you balance your personal, professional and social life?
- Do you balance your emotional needs with your practical needs?
- Do you balance your short term needs with your long term goals?
- How does change happen in your life? Is it sudden and dramatic? Or does it happen slowly, more like an evolutionary process?
“For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.” Rainer Maria Rilke