Are You Gold Medal Relationship Material?
With the world watching the Olympics, people are focused on the best of the best. Those who have reached the highest level and have earned the right to a Gold Medal.
In the relationship arena, we are daily flooded with messages that we deserve the best, to never settle, that we are worthy, to demand respect, loyalty and devotion.
And while all of those things may be true, what is missing from that equation is the mirror effect. YOU have to be all those things to the other person.
YOU have to be a Relationship Gold Medal contender.
So what does that look like? Well, honestly, it looks a lot like the road to the actual medal podium. Here is what you need.
No Olympian of any kind woke up the day before tryouts and said: I think today is a good day to start my journey to a gold medal.
Far from it. Most have that desire seared into them at a very young age. They dream about it. It often consumes all their spare time, and then some. It is a driving force.
Now I’m not suggesting that you be consumed with getting, or even keeping, a relationship. That borders too close to obsession, and that’s not healthy. BUT, you do need a keen desire for one if you want it to succeed.
Some people float in and out of relationships like they weave in and out of traffic. If it doesn’t feel ‘right’, they change lanes and keep moving.
Here’s a newsflash. A relationship isn’t going to feel “RIGHT” every day. Your partner will have a bad day. Display every pet peeve you hate. And demolish that very last, fragile nerve you have been holding on to. That day is not the day to call it quits.
A lasting relationship takes two people with the desire to see each other through the bad days. They understand that a successful partnership starts within themselves and how much they want it to not only survive, but thrive.
Train (Work At It)
Athletes train constantly. They seldom take a day off and are diligent to keep their bodies and minds in shape. There are those with innate abilities and talents, but even they have to hone their skill and work to be the best.
Being a gold medal partner means you will have to work at it too.
We all want the ‘falling in love’ part to last forever. But it will eventually phase into ‘staying in love’, and that takes dedication and effort.
If you were fortunate enough to be raised in a loving family that demonstrated health boundaries, shared responsibilities, and mutual respect, then you had a bonus head start. That didn’t necessarily mean those traits bounced onto you, but you had a springboard.
Those who did not have that ideal behavior modeled, sometimes struggle more, especially when they are younger, in finding the right balance. We learn to love by how we were loved and witnessed love. (Even though sometimes it really wasn’t ‘love’ at all.) But Control. Selfishness. Or Passive-Aggressive Neglect.
The good news is EVERYONE is capable of loving and being loved. We are not held hostage by our childhood or past failed relationships. The key though is the WORK involved.
Read books (or blogs, ha!) Listen to podcasts from experienced relationship coaches. Talk to family and friends. If you need specific or targeted help - reach out to a therapist or pastor.
Listen to your partner. Find out what they need. Learn to speak their love language.
Devote time and energy and pour yourself into the relationship. That’s where you find the GOLD!
Olympian athletes are defined by their sacrifices.
They re-arrange schedules and shift their priorities in order to train and chase their dreams.
A successful relationship will also require sacrifice and compromise on your part. There will be times when your schedule or priorities will have to change. Your partner will need something of you.
I’m not suggesting you lose yourself in order to be a doormat. You have the right to have your needs met as well. And it can be a delicate balance at times. Illness, family issues, and even career decisions exact a toll on relationships.
The sacrifices should not always be one-sided, but there may be times when one person has the harder burden for a bit. Those times should be acknowledged, appreciated and then reciprocated when needed.
Even those competing in single events are part of an overall Olympic Team.
And if you are in a relationship, you should no longer consider yourself a single unit. You are part of a team.
Teammates encourage each other. Support each other. Do you do that?
When you have a problem, do you run and tell someone outside of the relationship? Or do you commit to having a rational and meaningful discussion with your teammate?
One of the worst things you can do is take your problems outside the safe confines of the relationship. (That is unless you are seeking professional help.) Friends and family will almost always side with you. And even if they don’t, it’s not up to them to work out your issues.
Stay within the team. Work within the team. Then you can celebrate within the team!
I have made a lot of statements about what you should do to be a great partner. And I stand by them. However - there are always exceptions.
You should never stay in or tolerate a relationship with a bully or abuser. Or a serial cheater.
It is OK to walk away if you feel unsafe, consistently disrespected, or taken advantage of.
Only you can determine and know that you tried your best. Once you are fighting a losing battle alone, exit the relationship with your head held up.
(And one other note. If you do decide to leave because of abuse or neglect - never make your next partner pay for the crimes of another. Work through the pain, resentments, and issues before opening your heart to someone else.)
My Hopefuls, I know with all certainty that I will never stand on an Olympic podium with a medal of any kind around my neck. But I do hope one day to again be on a winning relationship team.
Whether you are looking to build your own team, or have already found yourself a part of one, please use these Olympic-style skills and practices to create your own Gold Medal Relationship. The rewards are immeasurable.
And as always….
Hope With Abandon