10. Tasks

My mom mows the lawn more often then my dad does. I personally prefer to have the bathrooms cleaned my way. I love cooking. I hate yard work. It bothers me on Sunday when my dad doesn't do the dishes when my mom has spent all day preparing a meal fit for a king.

To have the best relationship possible, share in all and every task. There is no need for the stereotypical attitudes in gender roles with household tasks. Make a good accounting of each others skills and talents. Then become flexible.

My mom always told my sisters, "If you don't want to mow the lawn after your married, never do it that first time!" Hence my mom is still mowing the lawn.

9. Network

One of the biggest complaints I hear are people saying how much they hate their in-laws. I guess when you marry, you get her family at the same time.

If you enjoy your lover's family and friends and she vice versa enjoys your family and friends you are probably great. If neither of you can stand the other's friends, it might be wise to work through these relationships troubles. I think an important note is, just because your girl doesn't like your buddies that you spit and tell dirty jokes with probably doesn't mean there is a problem with your relationship. Just revert to step 2 "Work and Compromise".

If you really have a networking problem go on a search for some new mutual friends. As for the family thing... it is a package deal.

8. Assurances

When I think of assurances I think of support.

My dad bought a brand new Ford F-250. He let me borrow it last Saturday when I took my friend Jessica horseback riding. Everything was going great. At the end of the ride I was dropping off the horses and trailer. Let's just say someone had to put the first dent in the new truck!

Anyway it was a total stupid move. My friend Jessica didn't say anything rude like "Your such an idiot, why didn't you drop the tailgate?" She was very nice, smiled, and didn't say a thing. In the end she still liked me.

Assurances are those little things that go a long ways. My Interpersonal Communications Professor said, "I love after all these years being married my wife still reminds me that I am her man and that she loves me."

7. Openness

I once was part of an organization that required teams of two to work very closely for months at a time. One thing the organization stressed was that once a week your team should set aside some time to discuss any problems or concerns in a positive manner. I had thirteen companions over a two year period. Some of us had great weekly time that we made huge progress. Other times communication was very rough and most often would lead to some form of blow up. Usually that blow up included some foul language and maybe some pushing and shoving. After the blow up things would normally get better. The worst was when communication was bad and a blow up never occurred because then the problems would just fester and no one was happy.

Communication is so essential. In fact communication is so important that it doesn't matter if you have a scheduled time every week to talk or if once in awhile you have a blow up as long as the things that need to be said get out. If people just hold it in and never say the things that need saying a wall of enmity is built that could take years to dismantle.

Be open! This is a picture of my friend Lauren. She and I probably have the most open communication ever imaginable.

6. Positivism

I have a friend that shared with me this quote, "In one minute you can change your attitude, and in that one minute you can change your entire day."

It sounds easy, but try it and you will soon realize just how hard it is.

The girl I referenced in the "Work and Compromise" section was fantastic. Our relationship had just one problem, it was on a timeline. We met in September and she would be leaving for 18 months in January. We new our time was limited and that was a hard thing to be positive about. It would have been really easy to turn the whole situation negative and dwell on the fact that something so good shouldn't end. Instead we stayed positive and enjoyed every moment we had together up until she left.

5. Fight Fair

Fight Fair! My professor for Interpersonal Communications says, "My wife and I have a rule that the other person can't bring up issues or past problems that date back longer than a month." What a great idea.

I think one thing that scares me is if you involve other people in your personal relationship problems. For example, I have a friend that whenever he and is wife have a problem his wife goes straight to her mother. "YIKES!"

I think if you can keep it between the two of you it show's greater respect and problems are more likely to be solved out of love instead of creating pride issues.

4. Stress Similarities

It has been said, "Date with both eyes opened, be married with both eyes closed."

In relationships we have a tendancy to focus on how the other person is different from ourselves. Instead try stressing similarities. Find hobbies or topics of subject you can both enjoy. Even if it seems there is nothing to talk about or there are just too many differences, something made you fall in love. Start new hobbies you both can share and do together.

3. Meet The Needs Of The Other Person

One thing that made this relationship so great was everyday we both lived to make the other person happy. We constantly tried to outdo each other on who could be nicer to the other person.

I believe if you live with the idea that everyday you have to re-win your lover's heart, you have a recipe for success.

2. Work and Compromise

We had been dating for a little over a month. I was completely head over heals. I assumed the feeling was mutual. On this particular night I decided it had been long enough and I thought, "I'll kiss her tonight." We had a great date. Went to a haunted house, watched a movie, and cuddled a lot. I thought to myself "Perfect! Tonight is the night."

As with all first kisses when you really like the person, I was nervous as all get out. I walked her to the door. Despite what the movie Hitch teaches about the 90/10 principle (guy goes 90% girl comes 10%), I went a 100% and gave a polite peck on the lips. I very quickly said "night" she said "night" and I ran off like a giddy school boy.

The memory kept replaying in mind "Was it good? Bad? Did she like it?"

Then my cell phone rang. I thought to myself this is either really good or really bad. She either liked it so much she wants me to go back and kiss her some more or she hated it and is extremely upset.

Unfortunately it wasn't the first, but luckily it wasn't the second either. She wanted to be completely honest and tell me about another boy she used to date, he lived in another state at that time, but she still had feelings for him.

I replied "Oh, okay... I guess if you want to hang out ever again let me know!" I thought I was getting the boot.

I really liked this particular girl so I called my brother (the love expert) and told him my predicament. My brother replied "Eric, my wife katie did the same thing. She isn't dumping you she just is such a good girl she wants to be completely honest with you. Besides any girl that is worth chasing has a few boy friends. So if you really like her you'll have to put in a little more work."

My brother and I schemed and came up with a plan. I bought a bag of chocolate kisses and wrote a note that went something like this, "I'm really sorry about last night... I respect your feelings... I hope we can still be friends and have lots of fun... I hope these chocolate kisses are more of what you like." I dropped the kisses and note off at her work before she got there.

That evening I got a one of the nicest phone calls ever received. Eventually all that work led to on of the best friendships.


1. Negotiation and Rules

One of the first steps to having a successful relationship is to negotiate and set some rules/guidelines. Currently I'm single and i've thought of a few things that might be hard for a girl to accept about me. I decided to come up with a contract that my future wife and I could negotiate. Here is my dream list going into the negotiation. If you laugh it is okay, everyone else i've told laughed as well.

1. I don't want a big house.
2. I want a water skiing boat (probably before the small house)
3. I don't want a big yard (I hate yard work)
4. Always have a bird dog or two (Dog can live outside)
5. Hunting (This is a sticky subject for most women. So going into the negotiations I'm going to ask for twenty days, knowing that after the negotiations I might get half of that, pretty smart right?)
6. Spend all the money we save having a small house on family vacations to fun places with a beach.
7. I won't tell you what to do, so don't tell me what to do!!! (Notice three exclamation points)
8. Never pull away from a kiss.
9. Tell me my lips are really soft, not that my beard is prickly when we are making out.
10. No bringing up past problems.
11. I will clean all the bathrooms.
12. I will live everyday making sure you are happy, so please do the same.

As I surfed the E-net I came across this picture. I title it "My Dream Girl"

Relationship Maitenance

This blog is dedicated to help people know how to build and maintain healthy relationships. Posts will be from personal experience and involve some sort of story.

Here is a list titled "How To Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships" from a class discussion in my interpersonal communication class I sat in on two weeks ago. We will go through and discuss each area individually in later posts.

1. Negotiate and revise rules
2. Work & Compromise
3. Meet the needs of the other person
4. Stress similarities (not differences)
5. Fight fair
6. Positivity
7. Openness
8. Assurances
9. Network
10. Tasks (share in household responsibility)