Among people in my circles, this year has been filled with weddings, engagements and people finally meeting their ‘soul mate’, even when they have been married in the past. However, every relationship consists of two people working on it, contributing their share, whatever it may consist of, and wanting to continue having that special someone by their side. The romantic part of the relationship put aside, every relationship requires effort from both partners.
With age, experience, successful or failed relationships and marriages, other people stories and general observations, we evolve. We learn life lessons and come to realise what we need from our significant other. We learn where we went wrong and what we should have done differently in the past. We also learn that as people mature and enter different life cycles, each person and their needs may change with time. If both partners cannot embrace, accept or deal with the changed goal post, that is when such relationship is more likely to fail.
Regardless of the above, the following points (in no particular order) seem to be the key in a good relationship and in trying to ensure that a relationship lasts the distance:
Learn to speak your mind. Males and females are different when it comes to communication. Most females give hints, looks, sighs and feel that a guy “should know” what is on their mind and what is wrong at a particular moment. In reality – no, they should not and they do not. If you have not expressed your feelings about an issue clearly, in most cases guys will have no idea there is an issue or that something is wrong. I am the first to admit that I have been guilty of doing this, but being aware of it now, I try to speak my mind and voice any issues as they arise.
If you do not show respect to your partner both in private and in public, apart from probably not being with the right person, you are making friends and others around you uncomfortable. There is nothing worse than seeing one partner belittle or disrespect the other in public.
3. Actions speak louder than words.
Tell your partner you love them often. Do small things that you know would make them understand how much they mean to you. Be there for your partner in their time of need.
4. Ego breaks relationships.
A lot of relationships break up because of ego. You are not above other people and, unless you are a legitimate member of the Royal family, you are not royalty. No one, whether you are a male or a female should put themselves on a pedestal, where you come across as a more superior being than your partner. No one owes you anything or has to do anything for you. Partners do things for each other because they want to make the other partner happy. This brings about the next point.
5. Expectations are evil.
Do not have expectations or at least ensure your expectations of your partner are realistic. Yes, if at the beginning of living together you both set and divide the household ‘chores’, then each of you should be doing what has been agreed to. In all cases – come back to number 1 on this list and communicate if there are issues or things are not working out. I personally have adopted a policy over the years that if something bothers me that has not been done, then it becomes my problem. If I cannot deal with something not being done, then I just do it. This in my mind shows your partner the higher level of care when you do something extra that is ‘not your job to do’ and, in most cases, they will repay it trifold. The truth is that the right partner will appreciate you more for it and the wrong one will take advantage of it. You will be able to quickly ascertain which category your partner falls into. Either way, without having a fight over each unemptied rubbish bin or unwashed dishes, you are saving yourself a lot of grief, as these are unimportant things in life, which are often given too much time and required attention.
6. Taking the other for granted.
Never take your partner for granted. Make sure you let your partner know they are appreciated. Thank them for what they do, thank them for what they may do, thank them for just being them. Your partner should be the most wonderful person in the whole world for you. If this is not the case or not how you feel about them, you may not be with the right person or at the very least there are issues in your relationship that should not be left unattended.
Honesty is always the best policy. Trust takes years to build and a few seconds to lose. Being honest is not just the best approach for trust, but it will also ensure that you are not eaten alive by some secret(s) that you are hiding from your partner which may resurface in the future and threaten your happiness.
Ensure that there is intimacy (and lots of it) in your relationship. This does not mean being promiscuous in public. It means creating intimacy at home. I am sure lots of couples with kids would jump at me at this point and scream that they do not get any time to themselves. The truth is when there is a will, there is always a way.
9. Do not expect your partner to change.
If you are entering a relationship with an expectation that your partner will change over time, your relationship is doomed. People can change and do change but only as a result of their own desire to change.