How to Enter, Engage and End Relationships in a Healthy Way

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Marriage

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Grown people know that loving feelings do not justify turning off your brain. The fact that you feel love for someone does not necessarily mean that they are ready, willing and able—i.e. qualified—for a relationship with you (or vice versa). Being Grown also means that your love does not give you the power to make them so. In the Grown Zone, we measure the quality of a relationship not by “feelings,” which are often wrong and notoriously unreliable, but by outcomes. Either they are healthy for both parties—sexually, emotionally, physically and financially—or they’re not. Once relationship outcomes are deemed to be unhealthy, the relationship should immediately and permanently change, or it should end. That’s what break ups are for. Here’s how to enter, engage and end relationships in the Grown Zone:

Grown people know that loving feelings do not justify turning off your brain.

1. Accept going in that a new relationship probably won’t last. Why? Because the evidence is slapping us all in the face: most romantic relationships, including half of marriages, end. Also, at least one partner in most relationships is dissatisfied. Instead of focusing on identifying or trying to create a lifelong relationship, it’s far more important to pursue healthy relationships—as defined by your own standard of self-love and good treatment. It’s also time we get smarter about what it takes to have healthy relationships, so that we can do a better job of recognizing healthy relationship prospects, and begin to have more successful relationship experiences, regardless of how long they last.

When they choose to end the relationship, Grown folks do so with minimal drama.

Finally, when they choose to end the relationship, Grown folks do so with minimal drama. Allowing break-ups to become adversarial—with a winner and a loser—or placing blame, is both counterproductive and unnecessary. Approach every possible romantic relationship with a “reason, season, lifetime mentality,” knowing that most of the people you meet will be for a reason, even fewer for a season, and less than you ever imagined, for a lifetime. Counting on every relationship candidate to be a permanent partner—or worse, treating them as such prematurely—is a recipe for disaster.

BMWK – Read the full article on how to end relationships by Zara Green and Alfred Edmond, Jr.:  3 WAYS TO TREAT BREAK-UPS AS ACTS OF LOVE  Then, come back and let us know if you have any tips on how to end relationships in a healthy manner.

About the author

JET wrote 14 articles on this blog.

JET is the No. 1 African-American newsweekly and has more than 7 million readers. Its properties, JET magazine and JETmag.com, continue the legacy of serving authoritative, credible and entertaining information to the Black community.

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Learn to Say These 2 Words and Heal Your Marriage

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Best of BMWK

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Words are powerful. They can make or break a relationship. For some people, it’s really difficult to tell their significant other “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or even “I was wrong.”  But, I’m not writing about those phrases today. In my experiences of ministering to women and couples, I’ve found some of the hardest words for spouse’s to say to each other are “I’m hurt.”

When you love deeply and sacrifice daily, you’re bound to need this phrase in your emotional vocabulary. The critical question is this: will you say “I’m hurt” when the need arises? Will you be vulnerable enough to expose your soul in ways that you never have before? Saying “I’m hurt” is really powerful because there is a different type of hurt that accompanies intimate relationships, unlike mere friendships or associations. When you share your mind, body, and soul with someone, it opens you to a degree of hurt that requires heightened trust and vulnerability.  Maybe you know the type of hurt I am talking about:

That gut-wrenching hurt.

That socked in your stomach type of hurt.

That I didn’t see that coming type of hurt.

That I can’t believe you did that to me type of hurt.

That I don’t know if I can take it kind of hurt.

When it’s difficult to breathe, and you are ashamed to tell someone, and you start to question if your relationship is a lie. . . yep, that kind of hurt.

Healing begins when you know your spouse “gets” your hurt. That’s why it’s so important to speak the hurt so you can heal. The last thing you want to do is harbor hurt in your marriage.

I’ve been there and felt that. Have you?  I can recall three specific experiences in my 18 years of marriage when I felt that type of hurt. I won’t share them with you because some experiences between a husband and wife should remain sacred. But, you don’t have to know all of my business to understand what I’m talking about; you, unfortunately, may be experiencing your own hurt right this moment. And, your response to that hurt is what matters most.

In all three instances with my husband, I had to summon the courage to bare my soul and expose the wound by saying some of the hardest words I’ve ever had to mouth: “You hurt me.” Why were those words so difficult to say? Because they speak to my vulnerable places and expose my wounds. And most people don’t like exposing their wounds, not even to their spouses. We fear our weaknesses will be used against us. So, instead of saying, “That hurt me,” we find ways to mask the hurt and pretend we aren’t in pain.

  • We lash out in anger when we are really hurting deep inside.
  • We seek revenge when all we want is for our best friend and lover to acknowledge the hurt.
  • We give the silent treatment because the hurt chokes the very breath out of us.
  • We may even act as if nothing happened and then explode days, weeks, or months later.
  • We argue about everything else other than the real issue at hand: how much we are hurting inside.

“Dammit, that hurt me.” Yes, those were my words to my husband. With tears streaming down my face and my heart in the pit of my stomach, I summoned the courage to say, “That really, really hurt me.”

It was something about those words that he heard. I could see it in his face. The details of the situation didn’t mean so much anymore. Who, what, when, where. . . who cares at this point? Our eyes and hearts were connecting on a deeper level, and I could see in his face these words:

Baby, I never meant to hurt. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. 

I knew if my husband could take away the hurt he would. In that moment, God allowed me to see the man who would sacrifice his life for me. Only then was I able to truly forgive and begin to heal.

Healing begins when you know your spouse “gets” your hurt. That’s why it’s so important to speak the hurt so you can heal. The last thing you want to do is harbor hurt in your marriage. Nothing good can come from that. But when you open your heart and open your mouth and allow the words “I’m hurt” to penetrate your spouse’s soul, your marriage will be on the path to a deeper more trusting intimacy.

What words do you have a difficult time saying to your spouse? 

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 75 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.

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