is the most important question you’ll ever ask yourself. As we get closer to our sunset-years our love relationships become more important. Sadly, they are often the cause of pain. Increased relationship dissatisfaction, climbing divorce rates, and growing singlism among the 50 plus generation are proof that our attitudes are counterproductive.

Our expectations have become highly unrealistic. Rarely do we look in the mirror and ask: Am I fit to love? It is time we made a point of building long-term relationship success based on the strength of our characters, instead of clever-minded relationship strategies.

Great relationships require great characters. Becoming fit to love is a powerful wake-up call for the brave. People in exceptional relationships have one thing in common: they are fit to love. At the heart of all exceptional relationships are three universal principles: mutual respect, moral responsibility, and authenticity:

Our partner’s dreams and hopes are as important as our own. Our generation has made history as ambassadors of our “me first” society, concerned with getting what we want. Bill spends every weekend at the golf course while his wife, Jane, looks after their grandchildren. Extra money from their tight budget is spent on Bill’s hobby. Jane has little freedom to do or buy anything special. Bill seems aloof to the fact that he is disrespectful.

Lovers argue over who is right, instead of solving the issue in their mutual best interest. Love and respect take a backseat and the relationship deteriorates. This dangerous game is the reason why many relationships fail when they shouldn’t. Instead of trying to change each other or putting our needs first, we must realize that our partner is just as important.

Moral Responsibility: You are always morally responsible to

those with whom you have relationships.

We seek self-fulfillment at any cost, even at the cost of others. Even though we are not responsible for our partner’s happiness, we are responsible for his or her well-being. Love is a moral responsibility to another and everything we say or do affects those we love.

Jennifer had lunch with her friend Sally. She could barely wait to share the details about her latest affair. Sally listened in awe as Jennifer blamed her so-called inattentive husband, Paul. It was a strange twist of fate that Paul sat behind the flower-decorated lattice wall listening to every word his wife said. Jennifer had deceived her husband and lost the respect of Sally.

In our quest for better relationships, we must make our relationship a priority. We must focus on our relationship not elsewhere.

Have you ever found yourself laughing simply because everyone else did? Agreed with your partner’s opinion even though you didn’t share it. Did something inconsistent with your true self just to please or to get what you wanted? Of course, we all have. We have lost the bravery to be real!

Often there is quite a gap between the inside and the person we present to the world. How about John, who never misses a Playboy issue, but hasn’t complimented his wife of 26 years in ages, or Debby, who resents spending every Sunday at Grant’s parents. To keep the peace, she refrains from claiming some of these Sundays on her terms.

To be validated we often compromise who we are. No matter how well we play our roles eventually our truth emerges. Being fit to love means being real. When we are authentic our relationships become real and we never have to doubt them.

Regardless of the state of our relationships or how unsuccessfully we have tried to find love we have the power to radically change today. Mutual respect, moral responsibility, and authenticity are key to exceptional relationships. People in exceptional relationships are fit to love and in the process, they reap some profound rewards:

They live happier lives

They cope better with stress

They laugh more and have fun

They are healthier and live longer

They are optimistic and stable

Creating a loving relationship may the best preventative medicine for 50 “plusers”.

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