Friday, August 14, 2015

Seven Year Switch and Relationships

Recently came across a show that intrigued me on fyi channel called  The Seven Year Switch.  My first thought was "not another reality show", but the concept is actually kind of interesting. Basic premise is couples who have been married switch partners, partners that are more like them.  The traits they wish their partner would have are given in the new match ups.  Kind of like a wife swamp but more psychologically planned out for compatibility.

It raises some interesting ideas and questions about relationships.  Are couples who share more similarities on all levels more likely to sustain lasting relationships than couples who share more differences?  What is at the core of good relationships?   Better yet can couples at odds turn around their relationships for the better? 

I've seen neighbors divorce, friends separate and wonder how does anyone keep a relationship strong, interesting, fun, deep and full of love.  How can relationships keep that initial spark alive, not let the daily grind of life get in the way and create an even stronger bond?   How is love best sustained?

In many ways the man and I are yin and yang. I'm high energy/he's low energy, I'm talkative/he's quiet, I'm a good communicator/he's a poor communicator, I'm very affectionate/ he's not, I like to do things/he's likes the couch, I'm a doer/he's a procrastinator, I'm type a/he's type b and the list goes on.  Those differences seem more noticeable after almost a decade together.  There are moments where they do concern me.  Hence why I found watching the show to be rather interesting.

While at times differences can teach us things, and enlighten our worlds it can also cause unnecessary conflict, boredom or unhappiness to set in.  Differences can eventually result in couples living two different lives as they do what makes them happy but necessarily the other person.  On the other hand they can get people out of their comfort zones and trying new things.

But it all comes back to love, and the question remains....

Can love last forever? What makes some relationships last a life time and others fall apart?  Is it a choice we make or destiny?  Do couples who are similar stand a better chance than opposites?  Does a persons family experience factor into it as well?  What are the things that help to sustain and create loving relationships that last lifetimes?

Let's face it there are all kinds of common factors that play into relationships demise such as poor communication, financial issues/differences, infidelity, different expectations, addictions, incompatibility, careers, kids, dreams, etc.

So what helps keep marriages and relationships together. Experts say things like common goals, shared values and interests, do you want the same thing out of life, do you communicate well.  Similarity is said to breed more success than opposites.  Communication, honesty, understanding, commitment, loyalty, mutual respect, team effort and compromise also said to be very important.

And another key to a lasting relationship is not an absence of disagreement. Instead, relationship experts observe that lasting couples tend to disagree using two very particular strategies: a delicate, non blaming approach when bringing up issues, and expressions of gratitude afterward.  Silent treatment it turns out can be very destructive.

With good communication topping the list of importance what should be we talking about?  Here are Twenty Questions that couples can use to get the conversation flowing. Or better yet Twenty Questions to ask before getting married. Of course then there are the famous 36 Questions that claim you can fall in love with anyone simply by asking those particular questions. The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. Either way open communication, really taking the time to ask and listen can go long ways to fostering a great relationship.

Think there will always be a little magic involved in love as well, a factor you can't exactly define but that some how sustains a relationship and connects two souls.

Personally I think couples should ask themselves....are you happy, is your partner? Do you feel happy when with your partner?  Do you have fun together?  Do they make your life better?  Do they make you want to be a better person?  Can you openly and honestly talk to your partner about anything, can they to you?  Do they listen, do you?  If everything in your life disappeared tomorrow would they be the one person you would want in your life?  Do you feel loved, or genuinely connected with your partner?  Are you and your partner willing to compromise and devote time to nurturing the relationship?  

Truth is relationships require two people to grow up and become better humans.  To learn as they go, to be open to change and compromise, to simply give love without expecting anything in return is at the heart of all love.

Occasionally as the people on the show The Seven Year Switch I wonder what it would be like to be with someone more like myself. There are some ways in which I think life would be easier and go smoother with a more similar natured soul. But lets face it the grass can appear greener on the other side but it doesn't necessarily mean it is.  Suppose in many ways love will probably always remain a mystery of sorts. 

Here are some interesting facts as well.

The Secrets Of Happy Couples (Infographic) - mindbodygreen.com


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