Saturday, 30 May 2015

How to make your relationship work

I wouldn't consider myself a love or relationship guru but I think I had a diverse relationship that helped me provide some valuable input in making a relationship last.

I can compare finding a (lifetime) partner to hailing a cab. If you are lucky enough, you have an available cab pass by your street. Most of the time, you need to wait for a cab to come along. And sadly enough, some needs to fight over a cab. On how the ride will turn out to be, that’s the responsibility of the driver and the passenger.

So what do you need to make your journey as a couple work, and hopefully, last.

Set and know each other’s expectations
More often than not, we enter a relationship without knowing what’s in store for us. We love the element of surprise. I was one until a partner asked me “What are your expectations in this relationship?” I was taken off guard. Once I regain my composure, I was able to think straight. Knowing what you want in a relationship and in your partner is essential. You and your partner will have a clear picture of what you want to have and what you are capable of giving and receiving.

Communication is vital in a relationship. When I say “Communicate”, it doesn’t mean communicate only when your partner upsets you. Yes, you should be open with your emotion especially if you feel offended or hurt. But more than that, sharing important things with your partner is a good bonding moment.

Share about your work, or a new hobby of yours. It may be mundane to you but maybe it is interesting to your partner.

Do things together
Like communication, doing things together will make your relationship stronger and more fun. Why not start a hobby together. Learn a new language and practice it with each other. Read a book and share what you think of a certain chapter. Do the laundry together or wash the dishes while your partner wipes it dry.  Come to think of it, relationship is a team effort.

Me time
In as much that you want to spend every waking day with each other, you need some “Me time”. Me time doesn't mean alone time. Me time can mean a visit to your mom, a movie date with your sisters or a coffee date with your girlfriends. Me time also applies to your partner: A boy’s night out, a basketball game with his high school/college friends or a drinking session with his dad and brothers.

Having me time will energize and rejuvenate your individuality. Before you enter this relationship, you have a life of your own. So why stop living?

Learn each other’s interest
In point 3, I suggested to do things together that both of you enjoy. But how about learning something new? Learn your partner’s passion. It may be her passion for skincare or his passion for comics, her passion for art or his passion for sports.  You don’t need to love their interest but at least know a few things about it. Start with reading an article or two. Maybe watch him during his basketball game with his friends or accompany her in her visit to museum. Perhaps, you will discover that her or his interest is appealing and fascinating.

Support each other
You're not in a relationship to compete with each other. Be each other's cheerleader. Your partner will come to you to share their problem with their work, friends or family. Just be there when things get tough.

If they share something that they are passionate about, listen and give advice if asked. Be enthusiastic and be an active listener. If things are unclear to you, ask them questions instead of being negative about it. 

Also, celebrate their success. To celebrate their happiness and triumph shows that you are proud of them. Every partner wants to make their partner proud. 

Respect each other’s privacy
In this day and age, we are so attach to social media and technology that we want to know our partner’s whereabouts and password to her or his mobile, email and social media account. I actually don’t want my privacy invaded. There is a reason why you have a password in your email, it is personal. Regardless if you are in a relationship, it doesn't give you the right to access your partner’s mobile, email or social media. However, I applaud those who give their password freely and openly. I had a partner who gave his password to his email and social media. I didn't open it. Not unless he asks me to check an email he expects or asks me to send an email on his behalf. He gave it to me freely but I still respect his privacy. Not giving your partner an access to your account doesn't mean that you are hiding something but it means you want to keep your privacy. And if you are really faithful to each other, you will not do anything that will hurt the relationship.

Compose and Compromise
Don’t expect a relationship to be all bright and dandy. Relationship is like a roller coaster ride. 
Discussion and misunderstanding is normal. When you reach that part of relationship when you get to each other’s nerve: stop and breathe. Get a grip of yourself until you can think clearly. You don’t need to push your ideals to your partner and same with them. Meet half way and compromise. But once you compromise, don’t blame each other if things didn't work out. Compromise doesn't mean that you let go of your ideals and belief but it means that you are open to change and you value your relationship more than your ego.

Saying sorry is so easy to say nowadays that you question its authenticity. When you say sorry, you need to mean it and know why and what you are sorry for. Some people say sorry just to end the argument. And some say it not knowing why they need to say sorry. When your partner apologize, you need to ask them if they know what made you upset. You will be surprise to hear “I don’t know.” If your partner is honest enough to admit their shortcoming by not knowing what they did to upset you, you need to reciprocate their honesty. Discuss what hurt you and why. This will spare both of you of future misunderstanding.

But not all apologies are accepted, so don’t feel dishearten when things didn't go back to normal. Just be patient and make sure you don’t do the same mistake.

This is connected to point 9. We know that forgiving is not easy especially when you really are hurt. But forgiving is also a choice. If you choose to forgive your partner, you are ready to start anew. You are ready to let go and move on. The common mistake in forgiving is, forgiving too easily. In doing so, you are not prepared to accept the mistake of your partner and you end up being paranoid. You remind your partner about the mistake and both of you end up hurting each other more.

No matter what your belief - God, Allah, Higher being or science, it is important that you share this with your partner.
I can only speak for myself as a Catholic. I am lucky to have no issue with my religion with my partner. What I like about my relationship is that, I was able to reconnect with my Creator. I love that we pray together (via Skype) before we sleep and attend mass (as much as possible) every Sunday.

Religion shouldn't be an issue as most religion share the same belief which is to love and respect one another.

I purposely did not include Staying in love, be patient, be understanding and have trust. I believe that these 4 things are fundamental in a relationship. I wanted to share extra pointers that I believe will help make a relationship work and last.

Any relationship pointers you have that you want to share?

Love to hear it from you.



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