Tuesday, September 2, 2008

love ain't enough

remember my boy Pat? well, along with being a playa he's a dude who sends emails all day. he can do that b/c he doesn't work. and i don't mean emails that are relevant either. he normally sends silly emails or forwards that i barely read. however, here's one that he sent me that i didn't delete. in fact, i don't remember reading this one. he sent it to me back in february. as i was cleaning out my inbox...i came across this one. thanks pat, this email is a keeper, bruh.

Love is Not Enough...
The Making of a Relationship

by Bill Malone, MSW, LISW
“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new…, all the time, made new…”
Amy E. Dean

We think that the hardest thing in a relationship is finding the right person. After that, we fall in love and live happily ever after, right? Those in a relationship know all too well that fairy tales are only true in the movies. The truth of the matter is that having and maintaining a relationship is not easy. The rate of divorce tells us that love is not enough; other factors are needed to keep a relationship going.

As a therapist, I am privileged to work with many couples who come for help with their relationship problems. Looking back, it would be safe to say that the major problem that brings a couple in for counseling is because one or both of the parties are at their wits end and are seriously wanting out of the relationship unless some major change occurs. In working with couples, I don’t see that any one is at fault. Rather, the problems are usually caused by faulty interactions that have gone on for so long that the root cause for the problems are unknown to the couple. It is interesting to note that women tend to call for assistance more frequently than men do, but I believe this has to do with the fact that males have been socialized to be tough and handle all problems. Women on the other hand are reared to ask for assistance. Men need to learn to ask for help.
Communication problems are a major source for relationship problems. People in most cases just do not know how to talk to each other. Usually, the couple has spent years arguing, fighting or even avoiding problems, but the inevitable occurs, someone reaches the end of their rope. Loss of trust, confusion over whether we still love each other, fights all the time and the inability to agree on anything are some of the cues to recognize that a relationship is having serious communication problems. Many times a child’s misbehavior and conduct problems at home or school are directly related to a couple’s inability to communicate.
The goal of the counseling process is to teach the couple specific skills that are essential in keeping a relationship alive and growing. Many times the couples that I have seen had a deficit in one or more of the essential ingredients needed to cook up a great relationship. I don’t want to mislead anyone, love is important to a relationship. It is the catalyst that gets the whole thing going, but the following are ingredients that keep the love alive and the relationship healthy.

A mature individual is define as a person who has a sense of self. He/she is able to recognize that both members in the relationship are different. They are able to see that each has a different heritage, a different way of thinking, feeling and possibly different beliefs. The mature person is able to recognize the I, Me and the Us in the relationship. With all the differences in personalities, thoughts and feelings, it’s a wonder that we got together in the first place.
Without the element of maturity, a couple can get all messed up just because they lose themselves in a relationship. They can become jealous, dependent, resentful and distant. All of which can erode the reason the couple became a couple in the first place.


The ability to tell each other thoughts, feelings and wants is so important to a relationship. Good, open, and honest communication is like oil to a car. Without oil in the car, internal parts will burn up and the car will be ready for the scrap pile. Communication is important!
There are no mind readers. For a relationship to grow and prosper, likes, dislikes, desires, hopes, dreams and problems need to be said. If a couple’s communication is restricted, the relationship is destined for major problems down the road. We take cars for oil changes to keep them going strong, why not seek a professional’s assistance to change our communication patterns in order to keep the relationship in tip top shape just like our automobiles?

Relationships are not static. They are ever changing. If they become static for too long, they can become extinct like the dinosaurs. Relationships go through a life cycle: the honeymoon, with children, mid-life crisis, the empty nest and the reacquainting period and then death of a spouse and the end of the relationship. All of these stages require change, learning and exploration of new territory. If one or both members in the relationship becomes rigid and resistant to needed changes the relationship could end in divorce. In my opinion, one of the major reasons that couples end in divorce is because they were unable to change to meet the new needs and demands of the relationship. One or both were unable or unwilling to make the needed changes to keep the relationship growing; as a result, the relationship died. Change we mu st, it is part of the human condition. If it was not, we would all still be infants in diapers.

The ability to compromise refers to an individual’s willingness and proficiency at finding the middle ground. Being able to compromise is a sign of maturity. It is also needed in any relationship. If one person always gets his/her way, the other person is bound to feel dominated, and resentful. These negative feelings can rip the heart right out of any relationship. Finding the happy middle can provide the best of both worlds… giving and receiving. Sharing the last dish of ice cream with a friend is always better than eating it all alone, isn’t it?

A relationship is like a business partnership; it has common goals, assets and liabilities. Like in a business, if members don’t work together, the business will become ineffective and possibly not exist for too long. The ability to work together means recognizing each person’s strengths and helping them come out at the same time recognizing each member’s weaknesses and learning to turn weaknesses into assets. Two heads are better than one and if couples follow this rule, they will see that the deep depressing valleys that lie ahead may be nothing more than pot holes once they approach them.

Every one needs room to breath, room to sort out their own thoughts, feelings and problems. If someone is always hanging on you, there is a tendency to want to push them off to reduce the burden of carrying them all the time. Providing individual spaces gives any individual the ability to see things more clearly.

One of the benefits of a relationship is that we will have someone in our corner to support us and to affirm our existence. This support adds to the trust that is needed in any relationship. Without mutual support, a trusting relationship will not develop. Each member must have its emotional needs met in order to continue to invest in the relationship. The continued support and the being there for the other person emotionally is the way in which trust is developed. If a trusting relationship is cultivated and maintained, the ability to try new adventures and take new risks are enhanced. A supportive trusting relationship outside of the bedroom always increases the activity in the bedroom.

The open expression of feeling in any relationship is vital to the continued growth of the relationship. Lovemaking should not be overlooked in a relationship, but it need not be the only ingredient that exists in a relationship either. Lovemaking is the icing on the cake and it gets there by mixing all of the above mentioned ingredients.
Good lovemaking starts outside of the bedroom. If you want to increase the frequency and intensity of your lovemaking, try to increase the frequency and intensity of your communication, willingness to work as a team, sharing of self, being kind and supportive, give space and freedom to explore individual interests. All of these ingredients will add to the makings of a fine, wonderfully iced cake.

If you are in a relationship and are experiencing some problems and don’t know what to do, a trained professional can provide you with:
  • Support
  • A listening ear
  • Directions
  • Guidance
  • Communication Training
You owe it to yourself and your mate to find answers to your struggles. Remember, no one is trained on how to have a great relationship, so we are bound to run into problems.

“A man is wise and strong who recognizes he has a problem and seeks out a solution rather than see the problem and stick his head in the sand.”
Bill Malone, MSW, LISW

your thoughts???



Anonymous said...

Let the church say Amen!

I agree with all the ingredients. Each is essential in having a successful relationship.

I think Will Smith said it best that when you enter into that marriage/relationship, you make it a point to remove "out" as an option. In the case of marriage, divorce is not an option.

You can't choose something that is not an option.

Maturity is the biggest thing though. Without that, the other ingredients are not going to be present like they should to ensure that relationship is sustainable and healthy.

PrettyBlack said...

I bet that shit was beautiful...But I ain't reading all of that...Just stopped in to say I missed ya man...And I'm baaaack!

Darius T. Williams said...

My thoughts? This is such the truth...such the truth!

Eb the Celeb said...

All good ish... but I like what's in RED the most

Eb the Celeb said...

lmao @ prettyblack... ha... she aint read it!

12kyle said...

@ Ieisha
Maturity is very key. You have to be mature enough to stand in the trials and tribulations of a relationship/marriage. Nowadays, it's too easy to walk away. You've gotta try to hang in there

@ prettyblack
Lol! Welcome back

@ darius
Let the truth be spoken

@ eb the celeb

Yeah. She didn't read it but I know she'll be back later today with her thoughts

B said...

"Ability to compromise". I loooove that bit. Thanks for the share. I'm passin' this own to some of my fam. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Keisha "Kitten" Isaacs said...

Hey Brother! I thought this was GOOD STUFF....I'm planning to forward this to some of my friends who are currently married...and some who desire to be married....Glad you ran across this email...

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

Wow, I swear we think on one accord, because I was going to do a post about this.

My thoughts about it is: This is so true. Love alone isn't enough to have a long lasting, worthy relationship. I wouldn't say that love doesn't have anything to do with it, but its not 100% built on love.

Ms. Jones said...

Great post (as usual)! I think that just letting love "be" is the greatest mistake that people make. Most of the time they think that the battle is over after finding a qualified candidate to share love with but that's when the real battle begins.

Just like that song "I'm Cool" by Anthony Hamilton when he talks a bunch of mess saying "We don't have to worry bout no groceries, we can fill up on love alone"...F that,I need some damn groceries and love has nothing to do with that lol

Opinionated Diva said...

Admittedly, I didn't read it. I just think it is soooooooooooo ironic of Pat to send anything about "the making of a relationship". LOL!!!

I can't wait to hear about Pat in a meaningful loving relationship...something tells me that aint happening any time soon though.

12kyle said...

@ B
The ability to compromise is very important. As a man, I'll admit...that's a hard one for most of us. I struggle with it in my marriage from time to tome. I'm working on it, tho. Thanks for passing the word

@ Keisha the Kitten
No problem. Pass it along. I'm sure that they'd appreciate it

@ Beautifully.Conjured.Up
Great minds think alike. LOL

I agree with you

@ Ms Jones
Thanks. I agree with you b/c you gotta eat. LMAO!!!

Seriously, love is hard work. It's hard finding love and it's even harder to hang on to it.

@ OD
You gotta go back and READ it. Feel me on this one. LMAO

As for Pat, he's not headed toward any meaningful relationship. I mean...the dude was in Cabo last month on some chick's dime. LMAO!!!

Kay C, The Quiet Storm said...

I think it is a great post but find it funny that a comment listed Will Smith on his removing "out" as an option. Correct me if I'm wrong but ain't Jada his second wife? So he had to get "out" at least once, right?

I digress, I was married and I agree that all the things listed brought a long and painful ending to my marriage. But, I would never tell someone that getting "out" is not an option. There are exceptions such as abuse that I don't think anyone should live with.

(I'm getting off my soapbox now ;)

Keith said...

Great Post...19 years of Marriage has taught me all or most of those things...but still a great post just the same.

ShellyShell said...

Well, as you know this clearly spoke to me! You know what I'm going thru now. Communication/compromise were our biggest problems. Anyway I shall forward it on to him.

Good Post!

The F$%K it List said...

I feel you on this one! Relationships take a lot of hard work! I know from my 17 year relationship & marriage. Sometimes I wonder how we stayed togetherm then I realize its the will to want to be together not the NEED to be.

LMAO at Pretty Black!

Tha L said...

See, THIS is why I love social workers.

Rich said...

Man, I couldn't read all that either, not today. Just wanted to holla.

~Ms. Moore~ said...

LMAO at ya peeps that didn't read it! I understand them tho cause it is looooooonnng.
This is such a good bit of information that I that I sent the article and your hyperlink to my email list.
This information is not only good for married people but single folks need to look at this also to see if their relationship can stand the test of time BEFORE they get married!!!

Mizrepresent said...

Oh yeah, i'm with this.

TravelDiva said...

Hey Kyle,

I'm back. Thanks for the words of support!

Dude--this is so timely! Just got engaged--see today's post. Am forwarding it to my fiance. LOL. Thanks!!!

karrie b. said...



dejanae said...

i concuur

dessex said...

i don't think there is nothing left to be said...Great post

CapCity said...

I read the Headers & it sounds good - now I'm looking forward to tryin' it out with a willing/worthy bruvah;-).

And Sistah F-it sounds ON POINT!!
"I realize its the will to want to be together not the NEED to be." THAT's WHAT I'm looking for - a Brother who WANTS to be with me & CHOOSES to BE strong in his CHOICE of ME/US!!

Sexxy Luv said...

this is going to help me in the future real talk!

good stuff foreal! thanks

Sexxy Luv said...

oh and i would love to frame that picture and hang it in my house, it's beautiful! :)