Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

The Best Tools for Building a Healthy Relationship Foundation

A good foundation doesn't require any special training or education.

Relationships are like houses; in order for them to stand the tests of time, they need a good foundation. The very first thing you do when constructing a home is to decide what kind of foundation you want and need. Similar things are required, if you are starting a new relationship. You have to do your due diligence and make sure the person you are interested in has the right attitude, good communication skills, and a solid emotional interest in pursuing something real. If both of you are in the same place, and most everything fits together, your new relationship has a good foundation and a much better chance of success.

When you have a positive foundation, you have the knowledge, strength, and confidence necessary to create anything you want and to take it as far as you like. It also gives you the ability to take a risk. This is a basic truth that those who have accomplished their dreams all share.

Even if you don't have what you need right now, there is nothing wrong with doing a little work to make your foundation as strong as possible. Self-actualized people know-and are comfortable knowing-what they don't know, and take the steps necessary to get the support they need to heal the issues that always arise.

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Like homes, all relationships need regular maintenance and perhaps even serious repairs along the way. This doesn't mean you have failed; these are things that happen over time. Most contractors will tell you that, if your house has good bones, you can fix whatever you need to or even remodel and expand. This goes for the rest of your life as well.

Judging yourself or your mate harshly because something didn't go right (welcome to the human race) won't help you out of your problem. Relying on the foundation of what you have created together, and trusting that you can accomplish anything, makes dealing with those expected but unforeseen problems much easier. If you have the right tools, such as a belief that you belong together, a willingness to accept assistance and a loving partner, you can handle whatever it is that comes along.

Having a good foundation doesn't require any special training or education. You can rely on your talents, experiences, and the abilities of those you are with to create the life, love, or home that you desire.

Our foundations can come from anywhere. Perhaps your dad taught you how to build and fix things, or maybe your mom gave you a talent for and interest in decorating, and you've always been good at it but never really knew quite why. If they were good together, your parents also taught you how to build a good relationship, which is one of the best gifts they can give you.

Having respect for a strong foundation-whether it comes easily to you or you've had to struggle to build it--is the way you create a life for yourself and for those you love.

 

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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