I have spent a lot of time discussing some possible pitfalls in building a solid foundation in a relationship. Now I wish to turn to enumerating 9 tasks that individuals/couples can do to help build strong foundations. The first task is to strive for balance. This means take the time to find out who you are and don’t ignore the need for “relating to people.” If you ignore this need you become incomplete. So often we become a human who is just “doing things” rather than a human who is relating to others (i.e. a human doing vs. a human being). Gain a sense of who you are. What do you want from this life? What are your interpersonal and emotional needs? What do you need from others and what are you capable of offering to others? How much are you willing to exert yourself to attain what you are looking for? How do close, long-term relationships fit into your life? Relationships are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Task number 2 is to slow down the process of getting to know another person. Don’t rush into physical intimacy. Proceed thoughtfully, carefully, and slowly! Human beings are born with the “power of reflection” meaning you can take the time to reflect on your life and the big picture. However many people do not do this. They live a sort of “unconscious” life. Become more intentional. What are your goals? If your goal is to become a successful professional, it will affect your personal life. If you goal is to make a lot of money, it will affect your relationships. This is also true regarding material things like the ideal home, car, or vacations. These things get in the way of genuine relationships. When a person is young it is so hard to take in the big picture and see life as one big journey. There is a nearsightedness about how much energy you will have for all of this stuff. As you go along on this big journey in life you won’t want to expend all of this energy acquiring material possessions or achieving accolades at work. What will life be like when you lose your youth, or energy, or even health? Size up your priorities and drop what you don’t need now. Ask yourself these questions. Do you feel you are loved sufficiently now to meet your emotional needs? Are you able to love someone in return? Do you have a meaningful person to share your life with? Are you putting as much emphasis on the personal/emotional aspects of your life as opposed to the work/leisure aspects your of life? Where should be directing your energy, your gifts, your talents, and your time? Clarify your fundamental goals and work toward them at a clearheaded pace. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.