Are You Fit To Love?

is the most important question you'll ever ask yourself. Let's face it, our relationships are extremely important. Yet, often they are the cause of pain and struggle. Single or not, societal standards convince us that we can have it all. Much of the available relationship advice compels us to go after everything we want. Sadly, for many it is not working. Climbing divorce rates and more singles seeking love are proof that our attitudes are counterproductive.

Our expectations have become highly unrealistic. Rarely do we look in the mirror and ask: Am I fit to love? Today's relationships are failing because of deterioration of character. It is time we made a point of building long-term relationship success based on the strength of our characters, instead of clever-minded relationship strategies.

Great relationships require great characters. We simply must become better people for each other. Becoming fit to love is a powerful wake-up call for the brave. It will dramatically improve our relationships or our chances of finding love. The happiest people are those in exceptional relationships. They are heavily invested in their most valuable asset: their relationship and have an abundance of life's most precious commodity: love. They all have one thing in common: they are fit to love. At the heart of all exceptional relationships are three universal principles: mutual respect, moral responsibility and authenticity and here is what it means:

MUTUAL RESPECT: Your partner is just as important as you.

Our partner's dreams and hopes are as important as our own. This principle requires us to think of our partner as our equal. Given that our generation has made history as ambassadors of our "me first" society, we are more concerned with getting what we want. For Bill, everything revolves around golfing. He spends every weekend at the golf course while his wife, Jane, looks after their two small children. Extra money from their already tight budget is spent on Bill's hobby. Stuck at home with toddlers, Jane has little freedom to do or buy anything special. Despite Jane's complaints Bill seems completely aloof to the fact that he is disrespectful.

Relationship conflicts arise because of different perspectives. Lovers argue over who is right, instead solving the issue in their mutual best interest. The struggle over unresolved issues leads to resentment even when there is love. Love and respect take a backseat and the relationship deteriorates. This dangerous game is the reason why many relationships fail, when they shouldn't. Instead of trying to change each other or putting our needs first, we must realize that our partner is just as important. In grabbing hold of our partner's beliefs we show that we respect our partner. If conflict arises and we cannot agree, we should simply agree to disagree and continue to talk with respect. Without mutual respect, it is impossible to create loving relationships.

MORAL RESPONSIBILITY: You are always morally responsible to those with whom you have relationships.

We live in a society that elevates self-fulfillment above anything else. We seek self-fulfillment at any cost, even at the cost of others. Regardless of how often we have heard that we are not responsible for our partner's happiness, we are still responsible for his or her well-being. Love is a moral responsibility to another person. We blame our partners if things do not work out without looking in the mirror to see our own flaws. Yet, everything we think, say or do affects those we love.

Jennifer had lunch with her friend Sally at a quaint restaurant. Jennifer could barley wait to share the details about her affair with this young stud. Sally listened in awe as Jennifer blamed her so-called inattentive husband, Paul. It was a strange twist of fate that Paul sat behind the flower-decorated lattice wall listening to every word his wife said. From here on life took a different turn. Jennifer had deceived her husband Paul and lost the respect of Sally. This is a high price to pay for moments of sex.

In our quest for better relationships, we must make our relationship a priority. We must focus on our relationship not elsewhere.

AUTHENTICITY: True love only happens when you are real

Have you ever found yourself laughing simply because everyone else did? Agreed with your partner's opinion even though you didn't share it or said: "I love you" when you didn't mean it. Did you ever do something inconsistent with your true self just to please someone or to get what you wanted? Of course we all have. We have lost the bravery to be real!

For many there is quite a gap between the inside and the person they present to the world. How about Toni, the dad who rents a Porsche to impress his date, while being delinquent in child support. Debby spends every Sunday at Grant's parents but resents it. To keep the peace, she refrains from claiming some of these Sundays on her terms.

To be validated we often compromise who we are. Conditioned by our environment we have become products of the culture we live in. No matter how good we are at playing roles eventually our truth emerges. Being fit to love means being real. When we are authentic our relationships become real and we never have to doubt them.

Regardless of the state of our relationships or how unsuccessfully we have tried to find love we have the power to radically change today. Mutual respect, moral responsibility and authenticity are key to exceptional relationships. People in exceptional relationships are fit to love and in the process they reap some profound rewards:

·They live much happier lives
·They cope far better with stress
·They have better sex more often
·They laugh more often and have more fun
·They are healthier and live longer
·They are more optimistic
·They feel more secure and stable

No wonder we envy these people. In times like these, laced with tremendous uncertainty their relationships are like rock-solid anchors. Mahatma Gandhi said: "A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave". Let's be brave!

© 2005 Allie Ochs is a speaker, relationship coach and author of: Are You Fit To Love? Her book has received the honorable mention at the USA 2004 Best Book Awards. She has appeared on TV, Radio and is published in numerous magazines and newsletters. To order her book or take the Fit 2 Love! Test visit her website http://www.fit2love.com. For Free Relationship/Dating Advice e-mail: [email protected]

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