Since the dawn of time, people have been shelling out relationship and love advice to the masses. From the the Bible’s epic 1st Corinthians 13 passage to Dr. Phil’s counselling hour and the millions of ‘relationship’ bloggers worldwide, we gravitate towards the knowledge of the past, and profess hopes that the present might give us but one tidbit more. But I wonder, how much has this advice really changed over the years? Can we simply re-parcel some wisdom from the ages with a modern spin?
Guided by the past, I offer up love secrets re-packaged to fit the time. Here are my Dr. Laura Berman-inspired (Dr. Berman is one of Oprah’s stars), top ten relationship commandments:
1. Thou shalt drop the Hollywood love theme and acquire realistic love life expectations
Relationships may start out in a blissful state of awe-inspiring romance, however this is called a ‘state’ or a ‘stage’ for a reason. When two lives eventually meld as one, the result can be tedious, mundane and exhausting. It is therefore up to you to keep that spark alive because no fairy godmother is waiting to hand you glass slippers and a prince reared to perfection.
2. Thou shalt combine duties and chores to become a team
Science has shown us that women often take the brunt of household chores, even when they are trying to juggle a job as well. Ask your partner to help split chores more evenly; the lessened household workload has been shown to increase sexual desire in women and decrease stress on all accounts.
3. Thou shalt banish your acting prowess and quit pretending nothing is wrong
Pretending you’re fine when you’re not benefits no one. This simply chokes communication lines and creates resentment and anger. Become an adult, and express your feelings.
4. Thou shalt not strive for the title of gossip queen
Although tiaras are fun to wear, this crown should not be one you’re proud to prance around in. Gushing out all your relationship problems to your girlfriends may help you blow off some steam, but bashing your man behind closed doors does nothing to improve your relationship, or your image.
5. Thou shalt be yourself
Faking an interest in hockey or a love of video games will do nothing more than place you on a phony pedestal and lead you on a pathway of misguided love.
6. Thou shalt take control of one’s own sexual satisfaction
No man is a mind reader, so if you’re not communicating a solid and specific thumbs up or down on his performance, then you have only yourself to blame for not reaching the highs that true orgasmic intimacy can bring.
7. Thou shalt not take on another lover (unless your partner may do so also)
8 Thou shalt have a life outside of the ‘we’
If we become too consumed with our partners and our relationship, we forget about ourselves and our goals to become a better individual – individual being the key word. Don’t become so involved in the ‘we’ that you lose a piece of yourself.
9. Thou shalt not obsess about obtaining bodily perfection
No one is perfect, even the airbrushed models we glamorize. The more we worry about our weight and stress about our imperfections, the more reserved we become sexually and the less beautiful we feel. Opening up your imperfect self to another is the first step to true intimacy and acceptance.
10. Thou shalt not try and ‘fix’ one’s partner, as they are not broken
The more we view our better halves as in need of mending, the more we project faults onto them and blame them for our unhappiness. Work from the inside out. Whether it’s personal or relationship based, only you can start making changes for life-long happiness.
Dr. Teesha Morgan is a sex therapist based in Vancouver, BC.