Perhaps you have heard the old story of a boy meeting a girl. They then get married and live happily ever after.
Well, while that story is true, someone forgot to fill in the details. Well, its true Sam met Sally. It’s also true that Sam and Sally got married. And, yes, they lived happily ever after.
However before the ‘happily-ever-after” came, Sam and Sue had to overcome insurmountable obstacles in their marriage. In fact there was a time when their relationship was severely tested.
Every relationship, no matter its dynamics, will have to contend with challenges. A number of the smiling couples you see around, those who are truly happy to be with each other, have at one time or the other had to contend with a serious relationship challenge.
One is therefore tempted to ask: why do some people appear to have a great relationship with their partners while others are always on the edge of break-up?
I believe the best explanation lies in the fact that people who enjoy great relationships have an inbuilt fail-safe mechanism of dealing with relationship problems. This fail-safe mechanism has the following components:
1. Commitment to the relationship
Beyond being committed to each other, a couple has to be committed to the relationship itself. There must be a willingness to make the relationship work. Being in a relationship that has no commitment is like poking holes in a boat while you are riding in it. Very soon the boat will capsize; and when this happens, chances of going under are very real.
The one thing that two people in a relationship will have to agree on is that none of them is greater than the two of them together. The relationship is greater than any one of them separately.
2. Openness and honesty
If there is a sure-killer of relationships, it is a lack of openness, also known as honesty. When we hide things from our partners, the very thing we fear always comes back to haunt us. It does not matter how uncomfortable the truth is, you can always get away with the truth. But when we are not honest, the possibility of our dishonesty creeping up on us and wrecking the relationship is very real. Always tell the truth no matter how bad doing so may make you look.
3. Propensity to apologize
Happy people have no problems in apologizing and asking for forgiveness. If there is one phrase besides ‘thank you’ that you should get used to, that phrase is ‘honey, I’m sorry’.
If you want your relationship to survive, you have to learn to apologize. And sometimes you have to apologize even when you don’t have to. For instance, if your partner is convinced that you are on the wrong, and you know you are not; it will greatly help the relationship if you apologized. It won’t be long before your partner realizes the truth and apologizes instead.
4. Complimenting one another
It’s the little things that we do and say that add up to a great relationship. One of these is the ability to say ‘thank you’ to your partner. Learn to compliment your partner whenever they do something right. Don’t look forward to catching them doing something wrong. Try to catch them doing something right. A compliment given at the right time can change someone’s disposition not only towards you, but towards others as well.
5. Not sweating the small stuff
It’s not the huge fights that break relationships. Rather, it’s the small stuff that chip away at the relationship bit by bit and ultimately bring it down. Always be on the lookout for such things. I once heard of a couple that had serious disagreements just because one of them would thumb-stab the toothpaste tube in the middle instead of cleanly pressing from the base moving up. This may sound extreme; but in reality it is the mundane things that cause marriages to break.
6. Staying in touch: both physically and emotionally
Besides the power of love, there is no greater power than the power of touch. It is very important to stay in touch with your partner; both physically and emotionally. It is not uncommon to have two people living in the same house and sleeping on the same bed who are completely out of touch with one another. Great partners not only ‘touch’ each other’s bodies, but they also touch each other’s hearts.
To remain connected in a relationship, couples need to stay in touch no matter what they are going through. We can touch each other with a kind smile, a wink, a kind gesture, etc. Of course touching each other in an intimate way is a powerful way of letting our partners know that we really care and love them.
7. A decision not to take each other for granted
To continue enjoying a great relationship, a couple has to make the decision to take each other seriously. They should never take each other for granted. The moment you become too familiar with your partner to the point of not noticing them when they are around; you have started to slowly kill your relationship.
You too can have a great relationship should you apply the above tips. As you do so, always remember that although you can have a great relationship, there is nothing such as a perfect relationship. There will be times when you will disagree, maybe even quarrel, but as long as you are committed to the relationship, it will stand the test of time.