A To-Do List for a Happy Relationship


This is Cassie and Patrick. I married them in an orchard on a horse ranch this past September on a glorious sun-full and love-filled day. They’re gorgeous. It was gorgeous. But more than that does a happy relationship make.

I am most hopeful for them however, and I’ll tell you why. They promised each other, in vows that they wrote, to love one another “with reckless abandon.” With reckless abandon; with no consideration of the consequences, damn the results, come what may – for the rest of their lives.


Perfect because when I got married the first time I was hoping, even expecting, that it would be a certain way. The way I wanted it to be, and him to be, and me to be. There was a plan, a great plan, in my head. Then alcoholism and disappointment and confusion tossed the great plan for come-what-may – for perfect learning and growth and joy and sorrow and wonderfully messy Life.

My idea of relationship and love was rewritten. Clarity ensued. During those hard learning years there were quotes and books that stick out in my head. The ones that really steered me back onto the path of loving relating. I remember where I was when I heard them or read them and how they landed on my heart, ringing as Truth.

Maybe I can save someone the years of toil if they just read them all here right now.

This is what I needed to know…

“I am responsible for my own happiness.” Heard at an Al-Anon meeting. Hit me like “Duh!” Of course. It’s not someone – anyone – else’s job to MAKE me happy. It’s mine.

“He has a Higher Power and it’s not me.” Also heard in Al-Anon. This one was more of a “Damnit! That’s right.” I thought (Ok, I think) that I knew what everyone else needed to do. Now I know that doesn’t matter. Even if the knowledge is correct, wisdom is not telling them – particularly when not asked.

“You can love someone and not want to be with them.” Yoga teacher training. A revelation. You can love someone for your whole life, and choose to not be with them for some of that lifetime.

Mindful Loving I read this during yoga teacher training. I practiced it and proved to myself that what I am thinking about my beloved affects the relationship – like crazy. I also got the truth that the relationship is there for me to realize my capacity to love. That is the gift the the other gives – the opportunity to give love to another and see the depth of the well of love within.

The 5 Love Languages Aha! That’s why he was washing my car when I would rather he spent time with me, resulting in us both feeling unappreciated. We have different love languages.

The Work of Byron Katie The Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet has you question what you think about your partner (or anyone else) and then turn it around to see if it is actually also true about you. I’ll save you the suspense – It is.


So now this is my To Do list for a happy relationship…

  • Think/remember/focus on the good things about your beloved.
  • See the relationship as an opportunity to grow more loving.
  • Ask “What can I give?”, and how – a lot.
  • Look at yourself when you think he or she is doing/being/acting “wrong”. (Try The Work, or pray for a miracle as A Course in Miracles defines it: a change in perception.)
  • Take care of yourself. Be in charge of your own happiness.
  • Accept.
  • Laugh.
  • Love with reckless abandon – all the way, and not with expectation, a plan or a program to follow. Let Love lead. It takes you higher.


Beautiful wedding photo by Far/Wid Photography
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