A relationship can change you, either for better or for worse. Love has the power to transform us. Partners will go through difficult phases in their relationship. But it is essential to keep at heart that no matter what, you and your partner are on the same team and can tackle anything together – including working through rough situations.
Here are six (6) basics to sustaining your relationship. Regardless of your personal situation, these keys will help you have long-lasting happiness and peace of mind if applied in your relationship:
1. ARGUMENTS ARE NORMAL
How you repair the damage after a fight is actually more important than the content about which you’re arguing.
Many partners have a dysfunctional dance in which one partner pursues the conflict in hopes of resolution or comfort, and when the other partner doesn’t respond, shuts down, or ignores the issue, the pursuer tends to yell, cry, or engage in other negative behaviors for attention.
Learning how to change this situation, which involves listening skills, understanding and validating your partner’s emotional experiences, is a key to successful relationships.
2. FORGIVENESS IS ESSENTIAL
If your partner does something that hurts you, you should communicate about it and work out a solution together. But in a healthy relationship, neither partner will continue to hold a grudge against the other for something that they’ve agreed to put in the past.
Forgiveness and the ability to let things go is crucial. Yes, arguments will happen, but they need to be fully dealt with, and then forgotten about and never brought up again. This allows a partners to move forward daily with a fresh slate.
3. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Relationships live and die not by the sword, but by the amount of discussion. If two people can’t find a way to openly and honestly communicate their needs and feelings to one another, the relationship doesn’t stand much of a chance long-term. Partners must find a way to communicate regularly, openly, and directly.
This doesn’t mean waiting for an argument to tell your significant other how much he bothers you with his throwing his clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. It means telling him when you feel the need to, and to do so in a manner that is respectful but assertive.
4. KEEP NOVELTY ALIVE
One of the positive aspects of being in a relationship with someone for a long time is that you really get to know each other. The negative side of this is that the novelty wears off, and humans love novelty.
However, there’s a way to keep the novelty alive: constantly try new activities together. This creates the excitement and the uncertainty that comes from the unknown, even if you’re with someone whom you know as well as the back of your hand.
5. KEEP PLAYFULNESS ALIVE
We all love to play, regardless of our age. Do the following: have fun together; do something ridiculous together; and just let go. In addition, the next time that your partner says something that bothers you, try responding with a joke instead of getting defensive and offensive.
6. NEVER TAKE YOUR PARTNER FOR GRANTED
It is very important to realize that everyone potentially has a breaking point, and if their needs are not met or they don’t feel seen by the other, they will more than likely find it somewhere else.
Many people assume that just because they are OK without things they want so is their partner. ‘No relationship is perfect’ shouldn’t be used as a rationalization for complacency.
To close, it is important you understand that things may not always be easy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy, satisfying, loving relationship with your partner.