I feel there are many different things that you could implement into your relationship to make it last, but there a few certain things I have realized lately that can ultimately make or break your relationship. I say these things our of experience, and out of advice I have heard from others. I must also say that these are all points that I am working on in my own relationship, and am by no means a master at any of these pointers. I say these things to challenge and push myself, and just hope it could be of help to others as well. When reflecting and realizing a lot of things in my own relationship, there are ten main things that I believe are an important within a healthy relationship.
1. Dealing with Conflict the right way– There is a difference between fighting and conflict. I do not believe there to be relationships out there that do not have conflict. Obviously fighting is no fun at all, but I do not find conflict to be unhealthy by any means. There is a fair share of conflict to go through when you are building in a relationship with another (especially with another that does not work or function like you do- but hey, opposites attract, right?). Conflict is not a bad thing. I believe conflict adds depth and growth to relationship. People out there who believe there is the ability to be in a relationship with another and not experience any conflict, they are living in a fantasy, fairy tale land. This is unrealistic. Conflict is pretty much unavoidable, so it should be handled with maturity. To deal with conflict in a relationship with another, you both need to both work through your differences, get on the same page, and if nothing else, just agree to disagree. When we are dealing with opposites, there are some subjects that ultimately you may just not agree with your partner about, and in these cases, you cannot leave the subject unsettled, but rather just agree to disagree, and move on with life! We cannot and must not hold onto the small things. The small things ultimately will destroy a relationship if they are not dealt with (I only know this from experience!). I believe that the ability to endure and take on conflict is a sign of a healthy and strong relationship.
2. Respect- It is obvious that in most relationships, you do not function, work and maneuver like your significant other! I think it is quite rare to see that couple that is exactly like one another. And, when you spend a lot of time with someone, whether it is your spouse, your boyfriend/girlfriend, or even just a friend, you get extremely comfortable with that person. It is sometimes hard to maintain a filter when you are talking with someone whom you are extremely comfortable with. You must always remember to respect that person as you would anybody else. It is so important not to lose sight of that person as an individual, who has incredible gifts, encouragement, and things to offer to the world. This especially goes for married couples (who have become “one”), but also can apply to people who are dating, we cannot forget that you are still two individual people. You must respect your significant other as an individual, just like you want to be respected in the same way. You are both two people who have the potential to balance each others differences out. It cannot ever become about competition, no matter how close and comfortable you feel around that person. You must listen to them, just like you want to be listened to. It is crucially important to accept them for who they are, apart from you, for the differences that they bring into the relationship. Their perspective matters just as much, if not more than yours does. Respect them and what they have to offer to the relationship, and what they have to say.
3. Serving each others’ process in this life- It is quite probable that you do not walk through the same life as your significant other. You both have different things that you love and are passionate about. You probably share the same big idea future goals in some aspect, otherwise you probably would not be together, but most likely, you have a different daily schedule than the other. It is very easy and human nature to be selfish (especially if you are new to being in a relationship and have only ever been used to being single, and only worrying about yourself), but it is very important to let go of this. You do things differently than the other, and you are working through a different process then the other. We must not only respect, but also serve each others processes in this life. You may even be in a different chapter in life then your significant other, and that can easily be very stressful. I myself have wanted to get married since I was probably six years old, but that does not mean everybody else in this world is anywhere near the marriage chapter in their life. It is key to be patient and to serve the process of the other. I should rather ignore my own process if I want to make the relationship work. It should really take compromise on both ends. Meeting in the middle is always the fair answer, but sometimes sacrifice is definitely in order to make things work!
4. Finding time amongst all the “busyness” to laugh- Laughter is huge! It is so important to find joy amongst all the “crazyness” that life brings. It can become easy to put aside any free time when your life becomes filled with a lot of duties and responsibilities. I have been told on multiple occasions by various different leaders that from this point forward, life does not slow down any. Life keeps getting busier and busier the older we get! But, it is important to still find time to laugh and play with each other! And- going along with that, it is also important to laugh off the things in life that may bug or irritate you about the other. It’s a lot more fun and A LOT less stressful to just laugh off the sillyness of the other. You can probably tell by now that in my own relationship, my boyfriend and I are quite possibly polar opposites! But, it is so important to laugh through our differences rather than hang on them and fight about them. Being able to laugh with the other brings an added comfort and security to your relationship.
5. Support and Acknowledge each others strengths- As humans, we all desire the support of another. Sometimes supporting the other just means sitting there and listening to them as they are going through something really hard and have chosen to talk it out with you. Sometimes your significant other desires nothing more than your support. They may not be seeking advice at all in a situation, but just want to be held and that’s it. Your actions speak much louder than words! I guess this one has two parts- because on another note, it is crucially important to support each others strengths. It is no good and not beneficial to the relationship to hang onto the others weaknesses. We must recognize and applaud each others’ strengths, especially after dealing with conflict. It’s called positive reinforcement. Sometimes after an argument, or a conflict, one, if not both of the individuals feel tired and run down, they need some positive encouragement to lift them back off! There should always be more positive than negative within a relationship. People can get by without another, it is totally possible, but having the privilege and joy of going through life with another is just getting the opportunity to gain inspiration and encouragement from their strengths, and hopefully offering the same thing to them with your strengths. In a good relationship, each person can fill in for the weaknesses of the other, and offer strength for each others’ weak spots! It is not a bad thing at all to remind your significant other that you are so very thankful to have them in your life!
6. Committing to finishing what is started- I am one of those people who cannot sleep on conflict. I hate going to bed when I have crud that has not been dealt with! Things just should not be left unresolved, in my opinion. But, on the other side of that, some people deal with conflict differently, and when they start getting tired, they would prefer to just deal with things later after there has been some time to work through some stuff. There are definitely certain situations and certain kinds of conflict that call for some space. Space is not a bad thing, it leaves time to process the relationship and to re-evaluate it. It is good to step away and get some air, as long as you come back at some point and finish what you start!
7. Honesty and Integrity- There is obviously only room for honesty in a healthy relationship. Hiding anything takes away from the “healthy” aspect of the relationship. There is no room for hiding anything, it just adds too much stress and it takes away the trust that the relationship needs to function! It is important to commit to being open and honest with one another, one hundred percent of the time. Do not be a goof off, if you have committed to being in a relationship with another, be in it fully (as I talked about in my last post) and live to a higher standard than the norm. Do not “sugar coat” anything, just be up front and honest, both about yourself, and about the other. It makes life and the relationship run a lot more smoothly. Conflict can only be fully dealt with when it is in the arms of open and honesty!
8. Challenge each other to be better everyday- In a healthy relationship, I believe that they other person helps you see things in a different way, ultimately they help you grow personally. Being attracted to someone opposite than you is by no means an accident. I find it to be really healthy, if you look at things from a good perspective. Your significant other should balance you out, challenge you in new ways, and encourage you to be better!
9. Take time to stop, be quiet, and just listen- This goes along with what I said earlier. Sometimes you really need to stop fighting it, you need to let your guard down, and just listen to the other. Whether you are sharing in an argument and do not agree with each other, or if they are going through something hard in their life and are sharing it with you, sometimes the best way to deal with conflict is to just keep your mouth shut and listen to the other. This is really hard for some people. I will confess that this is very hard for me to do. I always instinctively want to put my two cents in, but this is not the way to deal with things sometimes. There is a time and a place to just be quiet and listen while the other shares their side.
10. Don’t hold onto past insecurities- Past insecurities can really mess up a relationship, even break it. Insecurity tells you that you are not good enough, and that you will never be good enough. It hinders the potential your relationship has. Insecurity makes your vision blurry and ultimately just makes a mess of your once healthy relationship. Do not bring insecurity into your relationship unless you want to open the door to destruction. If there are things in your past that have a hold on your relationship, you really need to let those things go, and let them go for good.