Relationships are really what makes the world go ’round, aren’t they? I
mean, good, positive, healthy and meaningful relationships provide us with
the richest experiences we have here on this old earth of ours. Your loving
spouse who shares everything with you; that best friend who connects with
you like few others do; the people at work who appreciate you and help you
to become the best that you can be; This is what brings joy to life!But… relationships can also be the bane of our existence! What really brings
more pain in this life than a broken relationship, especially when it isn’t
just broken but downright ugly!So, it behooves us to do all that we can to keep our relationships zipping
right along, doesn’t it? If we put our very best into our relationships we
can almost guarantee getting the very best out of our relationships!Through the years I have spent hundreds of hours working with people in
their relationships: Marriages, friendships, working relationships and
social relationships. Through it all I have seen some wonderful things and
some terrible things. It truly is the good, the bad and the ugly!But I have been able to find three core elements of successful
relationships. These are things that, when done over time, begin to create
for you the kinds of relationships that you truly desire. They are the kinds
of relationships you have always dreamed of.The key to remembering these three items is the acronym Z.I.P. Z.I.P. stands
for three things you can do – and begin to do immediately – to improve any
and all of your relationships. They are:Put some ZEST into your relationships.
Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.
Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.Let’s take a closer look at each of these three:Put some ZEST into your relationships.
By Zest, I primarily mean fun. Relationships were meant to be fun! We wouldn
‘t have been made with the capacity to have fun if relationships weren’t
supposed to have a little zest in them!Think about it: Don’t you usually start out most healthy relationships with
a lot of fun times. Whether it is going out to dinner or a ballgame, or
spending time playing a game or even just a lively talk, you usually have
fun as a major part of the relationship. Fun is some of the glue that bonds
the relationship.But as life goes on, specifically in a marriage, but in all relationships
really, the fun starts to go by the wayside. More and more it is about
getting the job done, whatever the job may be.To restore the relationship, to put a little zip into it, we need to
reintroduce the idea of “zest.”What about you? Have you lost the zest? What can you do to get it back?
Think of a specific relationship you have: What were the fun things you did
at the beginning of the relationship that acted as the glue that bonded you
together? Now, commit to doing those again and see if your relationship
doesn’t begin to soar again! If you can, develop new fun things to do
together so you can both start an adventure of fun together!Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.First a couple of clarifications: One, I don’t just mean intimacy in the
currently common understanding, that is, sexual intimacy. I mean for all
intents and purposes, taking your relationship to a deeper level. Second, I
don’t mean that you have to start doing group hugs with your workmates or
having revelation sessions where the tissue flows freely.What I do mean is that every relationship that is mutually satisfying has a
level of depth to it that provides meaning. This is really what the search
is for in our relationships: meaning.Remember when you first started your relationship, whether with your spouse
or friend. All of that time was spent opening up, telling who you are, where
you were from, what your likes and dislikes are. There was a deep sense of
satisfaction with the relationship – that is why it continued. You liked who
they were and you enjoyed being known by them.But then something happens. We get to a certain level and the pursuit of
depth ends. We stop sharing feeling, likes, and dislikes. We stop sharing
joys and dreams and fears. Instead, we settle into routine. The daily grind
takes over and we stop knowing one another and we simply exist together. Now
don’t get me wrong, every time you get together doesn’t have to be deep.
Remember, I am the one who advocates in the previous paragraphs just having
plain old fun sometimes. But there is a need for regular times of intimate
connection where we go deeper with others.This is particularly hard for many of the male species like myself but it is
not only possible but healthy and needed! If we want to have the kinds of
relationship we were made to have, we have to open ourselves up to having
others know us and for us to know others.True meaningful relationships come when we are loved and accepted for whom
we are at our core, not simply for acting the right way in our relationships
so as to keep the other person in it.Think about the relationships you would like to see improvement in. Take
some time in the coming weeks and months to spend time just talking and
getting to a deeper level in your relationship. Specifically, let the other
person deeper into your world. You can’t force the other person to be more
intimate and you certainly can’t say, “Let’s get together and have an
intimate conversation,” because that would be too contrived. But you can
make a decision for yourself that you will let others into your world.
Perhaps this will be the catalyst for them doing the same.You can guard yourself from intimacy but then you won’t go much deeper and
you will feel a longing in your heart for more, or you can begin the
deepening process and see your relationships change for the better.Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.The most meaningful relationships we have are those that are held together
by a common purpose and vision for what the relationship can accomplish, not
only for those involved but also for a greater good.Let’s face it, when people have a common purpose they feel like they are
part of a team and they feel bound together in that relationship. Even when
people may be disappointed in the people they are in relationship with, if
they have a purpose, such as raising the children, they are much more likely
to stick it out. Purpose creates bonds.So what happens if we are proactively involved in seeking out a common
purpose with those who we want to have a relationship with or those who we
already have a relationship with but we would like to see it go deeper with?
Well, it gets better and stronger.Think about your strongest relationships. Aren’t they centered around at
least one area of purpose or a common goal?What about a relationship that has cooled? Think back and see if perhaps you
used to have a common purpose but it has gone by the wayside.And what of your desire to see a relationship grow? Take some time to begin
to cultivate a common purpose. Sit down with that person and tell them that
you would like to have some common goals, some purposes that you pursue
together. As you develop these, you will see your relationship strengthen in
ways you never imagined!Let’s recap: You want your relationships to show a little “zip?” Then put a
little Z.I.P. in them:Put some ZEST into your relationships.
Cultivate more INTIMACY in your relationships.
Develop a PURPOSE in your relationships.
- Put Some Z.I.P. Into Your Relationships
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