By Larry Komorebi Moore
Nine vital keys to building and nurturing healthy relationships.
I was born with a disability.
Back in the fifties, most children like me were “shut-in.” There were no children “like me” to play with, and I was shunned by the other kids because I was different. My parents also got divorced when I was two. Without siblings, I grew up alone and feeling unlovable.
By the age of three I was not walking yet, so a friend put my mother in touch Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, a local hospital that specialized in treating children with disabilities. After a full physical and psychological workup, they offered to admit me immediately.
What followed was a series of operations—seven to be exact—spaced almost evenly between the ages of three and 15. New medical ground was being broken here, and some of the procedures were experimental, although not dangerous. Muscles in my legs were lengthened, transplanted, and even severed in some cases. Bones were straightened. Between hospitalizations, I had to wear plaster casts followed by heavy and uncomfortable braces.
My recovery from these operations was sometimes slow and always painful. Each time I had to learn how to walk all over again. I fell down. Often. But each time I fell, my mother would run up to me and ask, “Are you hurt?” If I was okay, her next words, which may sound cruel to some, were: “Then get up.”
I would struggle to get up as I was told, and I know it broke her heart to watch, but the doctors had told her what to do. Time after time, and operation after operation, I did get up, without help, and I grew stronger each time.
Early adulthood was a little better, and I managed to make friends. I even found a girlfriend! Life was good for a while, but it didn’t last. Looking back, I didn’t know what love was, but it hurt just the same when she left. The next relationship didn’t fare much better. Or the next. I dropped out of college. Once again, I found myself feeling alone and unlovable.
I was the problem, you see, but I didn’t understand that what I was doing wrong. Without the “normal” experiences that most people acquire in their early years, I was unknowingly sabotaging my relationships with women who just couldn’t understand my inner emotional turmoil—or deal with it. I drank too much, and I was stoned most of the time and, probably worst of all, I found myself drawn to women who were just as “broken” inside as I was. Suddenly, I was 40, alone, and I felt finished. I stopped looking for love. What was the point? Would the world even miss me if I were gone?
Then, in the middle of the darkness, something shifted inside of me, and I heard and inner voice say: “Get up!”
In a psychological sense, I got up.
Thanks to a copy of The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, I began to look inside myself for those things I’d spent my entire life looking for on the outside. Meditation made me feel better. A lot better. I quit the drugs. I bought and read more spiritual and self-improvement books. A lot of them. I began to see more clearly. Then I found a group of fellow “seekers” on the Internet and—miracle of miracles—I met my future wife. We clicked in a big way, and in 1999 we got married. Happily so. Twenty-two years and counting, and as impossible as this sounds, we have never had a serious argument.
How is this possible, you may ask? I’ll tell you. My studies taught me nine vital keys to building and nurturing healthy relationships:
1. You have to love yourself first. Yes, warts and all.
2. We all fall down. The trick is to always “get up” again.
3. You can do it if you refuse to quit. Confidence is sexy.
4. Never settle. Wait for the one who will complete you.
5. Be patient. They are looking for you, too.
6. If they try to change who you are, they are not the one. Move on.
7. Communicate. Speak truthfully, and listen with an open heart.
8. Don’t keep secrets. Those will come back to haunt you.
9. Never make a unilateral decision—especially one that also affects your partner! Partnerships should always be equal endeavors. This is most important and has kept my marriage stable and happy for over 20 years.
My marriage is the best decision I have ever made. That was true in 1999 and it’s still true in 2021. We have been partners in three businesses, including my current one as a relationship coach. Before that, I was a social worker, and before that we operated a massage therapy practice. Not all of these endeavors have been successful, but that’s not really the point. Life is a roller coaster of good times and bad.
Life: It’s not how much you want, or even how much you have, it’s how much you love. I love my wife and she loves me. We are happy, through the storms and the sunshine.
Isn’t that really what it’s all about?
Author’s note: Curious about the 7 Action Steps you should take right now to keep the “Honeymoon Feeling” alive in your relationship? Download my free ebook here: https://freebie1.learninginlight.com/h2h.
Larry Komorebi Moore is a Relationship and Healthy Communications Coach. With a B.A. Summa Cum Laude in Social Work, Larry has worked with people from all walks of life, from young adults to seniors to the disabled. Post-graduation, he received Master, Relationship and Life Purpose coaching certifications from Transformation Academy, and he wrote two ebooks, one to help people overcome shyness and the other on rebuilding relationships. Larry lives in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife, Lydia, and their cat Mimsy. Visit him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearningLightLarry