Being in a relationship and maintaining one that works are two different things. It is effortless for us to make a decision to be in a relationship with someone based on our different personal preferences or ‘spec’. But once we set sail, we discover it is a rollercoaster journey. Sadly, more often than not, relationships end up crashing because both parties have absolutely no idea of how to deal with two personalities coming together to build a relationship. However, as humans, when we put our minds to do something, we have the power to make it work.
Below are some secrets we believe can help you maintain good relationships. Not necessarily as rules, but as general sacrifices that we all need to make in our various relationships.
Understand individual differences
This is the first rule, even before the relationship kicks off. Yes, it is very important for you to be in a relationship with someone you relate with on a lot of levels and you both have a lot in common. However, it is key as well to understand that we all have different backgrounds, upbringing, and values. You shouldn’t get into a relationship expecting to always be in agreement with your partner on everything. Preparing yourself for this before the relationship at all, helps you to understand your partner and overlook somethings in the relationship, rather than nag at them all the time. Understanding individual differences will help you keep your relationship strong because it would save both parties way too many disagreements that wear a relationship out.
Be ready to make sacrifices
We all have our ‘dream’ partner/relationship. Well, no one isn’t saying not to date your choice, but making compromises is an integral part of every relationship. Truthfully, no one perfect hence the need to find a common ground. You might want to ask, “aren’t there folks who claim to be or act perfect ”? Definitely! But we should know better than to believe ‘all that glitters are gold’. On the contrary, strong relationships are not because there aren’t ups and downs, but because both partners have resolved to make sacrifices they have to in order to get the best of their relationship. This is not to say you should be careless about your happiness, but strong, long-lasting relationships are built by perseverance and making sacrifices for the one you love. A word of caution must be mentioned here. It’s common for people suffering from addictions to cover up by claiming their problem wouldn’t be a problem if the partner would show a little bit of compassion and understanding. There are many different types of addictions but substance abuse and gambling addictions are the types that have increased the most during the pandemic. Even in countries like Qatar where gambling isn’t allowed, organizations like Qatargambling.org report an alarming increase of people in need of solutions to their gambling addiction. In these countries, it can be even more difficult for the partner to talk about the problem, or getting professional help, since the gambling partner may even be involved in something illegal. However, communication is the only way, and making sacrifices should never involve covering up for abuse or addiction.
Communication is key
As mentioned above, communication is everything. For every relationship, you know or see to be strong, best believe there is lots of communication between the partners. Be ready to talk to your partner about anything and everything. You are in the relationship because you intend to share your life with the person, hence they need to know everything about you. Share things as little as your favorite meal or color, or things you like to do in the morning. More importantly, talk about your feelings, family, work, other relationships, finances, faith, social life, insecurities, needs, what you like about the other, each other’s shortcomings, and how to help each other get better, short-term and long-term plans/goals, etc. A relationship that lacks real and consistent communication is just like a bubble waiting to burst. If you don’t communicate to know enough about them, they are no different than a stranger to you. Communication is one of the strengths and secrets to maintaining a strong relationship. You definitely don’t want to invest your time and emotions into a relationship with a ‘stranger’.
Love yourself and your partner
You have just probably said to yourself ‘of course I do’. It transcends just saying it and even ordinarily feeling it. At the same time, it might sound like it is no ‘secret’, but there are folks out there who do not know what this entails. It is important to love you first because only then can you love someone else. If you have self-insecurities probably because of esteem issues or past experiences, it is advisable you deal with them before you go into a relationship. Peradventure you discover it while in one, be open about it with your partner, and get help while you walk through it together. Also, be in a relationship with someone you love and not for selfish reasons. People say it takes more than love to keep a relationship. On the flip side, it also takes love to choose to stay committed to someone and be ready to make it work no matter the challenges you face in the relationship. Love truly is the greatest secret to maintaining a strong relationship and “the most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” (Love Quotes: Morrie Schwartz, from Tuesdays with Morrie).
On a final note, let’s leave you with this. Know what works in and for your relationship. Don’t ever compare what you and your partner share to that of others. The truth is, way beyond the above-mentioned points, you tend to discover how to make your relationship strong yourself because you are in it. Bottom line, just do you! The strength of your relationship lies in trusting what you have with your partner and believing in it.
Written: Bright Elemeje