“Will you be my valentine?” Or, “Will you be my partner in designing a magnificent union that is creative, productive, awe-inspiring, and that will stand the test of time?” Sounds like a tall order, but in essence, that’s what a relationship, especially an intimate one, requires.

Like anything built to withstand traffic, climate, and erosion, the relationship needs constant inspection, maintenance, and sometimes, when things get rickety or tired, a renovation ... and sometimes, when things literally crumble to the ground, a complete restoration.

THE FOUNDATION. Respect is the mortar that keeps the foundation solid and immovable; respect for each other’s culture, sex, roots, ambitions, dreams, and life’s journey.

THE WALL. Memories and experiences make up the walls. These aren’t always straight or perfect. Some are solid, some flimsy, some temporary, some immovable. They’re there to define the stages of our shared lives which are forever changing, often working with us; often against.

THE ROOF. The roof is the commitment piece of the relationship, built to withstand the fiercest of storms. No matter what, the roof must hold up. If it doesn’t the rest of the design ends up in rubble.

THE DÉCOR: The décor consists of all the laughter, the colours, the shenanigans, the ‘here today-gone tomorrow’ fluff that keeps us liking each other, that keeps us human, that keeps us sane.

Voilá! There it stands! THE RELATIONSHIP DESIGN!

How is your design holding out? Do you need to redecorate? Need to move a few walls? Put on a brand new roof? Build a stronger or different foundation? It’s never too late to start. And believe me, there’s nothing better than the smell of newly poured concrete, sawdust, and my favourite - fresh paint.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author's Bio: 

My story is your story: I’ve been through loves and losses, contentment and upheaval, births and deaths, companionship and loneliness, security and fear, stagnation and growth, all through over half a century of constantly changing times. Sound familiar?
I am a writing coach, ghostwriter, bereavement group facilitator, and the founder of The Biography Timeliner©, an on-line tool which puts a ghostwriter at your fingertips as you write your life story. I also have a series of videos on Udemy.com entitled ‘How to Write your Life Story’. Plus, I’ve published a few stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul.
To find any type of coach that one can relate to is tough, so let me describe who I am in one sentence: ‘Some of the best stories I’ve ever ghostwritten have been the simplest … life on the farm in rural Canada, growing up East Indian in Mombasa … and in all these stories, in your story too, one common thing leaps off the pages – the powerful, undefeatable, human spirit! And that’s what makes me tick!’ Sorry that ended up two sentences.
Life stories are the invisible strands that hold our DNA together. Without our stories, we drift.
With them, we anchor; connected forever to ourselves and to each other.