“A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers ~ Ruth Graham”
When we get married, or begin a relationship, we step into life like it were a new chapter – new dreams, new possibilities, new adventures, beautiful sunsets, great conversations. We prepare ourselves for the best that is yet to come.
But somewhere, in the back of our minds, we also know that life loves throwing surprises our way. So how can we make our relationships healthy so that we prepare for beautiful sunsets as well as for hard, cold nights?
Here are some ways –
Like they say, a perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other! The first step to a healthy relationship is to know that your partner is not perfect, and neither are you. Try not to have sky-high expectations, and even if disappointment creeps in try to rationalize with yourself. Is it fair to your partner that you expect so much and then make yourself disappointment?
A relationship that isn’t perfect is also an opportunity to deeply understand your partner and the way they are. There is a chance to step out of your comfort zone and look at life from your partner’s point-of-view. Know that expecting less and being easy with each other gives the relationship breathing space. That way, when your partner exceeds your expectations, there will be opportunity to rejoice.
In short, have realistic expectations, enjoy the process, know that human beings are complex and it takes time to get on the same page with each other. Till then, be patient.
It is the law of the universe that nobody is perfect. So, accept your partner for all that they are. A person changes with time and love, so allow it to unfold. A healthy relationship is one where each partner does what is good for the relationship. Don’t force someone to change, or throw a tantrum when change does not happen soon enough. When you feel the urge to ask them to change, practice acceptance – simply, allow the urge to pass.
As you practice acceptance, you will notice that love increases. The relationship becomes much more than just doing as someone says. There is a chance to explore together the things that make everyone unique and different.
WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP
People who said relationships are hard work, did mean what they said. Relationships come with ups and downs and every aspect of it needs work. Just because you are in love and feel compatible with your partner, does not necessarily mean the relationship will be easy.
If you find an area where either of you is uncomfortable, take the first step to work on it. Suspend your ego and think of the relationship as a cause greater than you. Encourage your partner to work together with you on the relationship. Make it a practice to remind yourself why you chose to be in this relationship. If the reason still has value, put your heart and soul into difficult areas with maturity and compassion. It pays to work hard and with love.
A relationship is held together by trust. What happens between the two of you is best kept between the two of you except in cases where abuse is involved. Avoid gossiping about your partner to family and friends; try not to share intimate information with people who cannot really help you.
Do not let your partner feel that there is someone outside of the relationship who is now judging them. An equal relationship is a fair relationship – make sure that your partner does not feel that you are conspiring with someone else. Keep your relationship sacred, dignified.
The other thing that holds a relationship together is respect. It begins with intent – for a healthy, long-lasting relationship, make sure your thoughts about your partner are dignified and respectful. When speak of them or to them, use respectful language. Make sure not to use the language of blame, or use harsh words. Show your partner that both of you are equally accountable in the relationship.
Avoid generalizing and making statements like ‘you never listen to me’; ‘you always do this’, ‘never have you done anything to my liking’ – that will get you nowhere in a relationship. If you know something is a topic of conflict, then avoid it. Nothing is ever just one person’s fault. Have the courage to respect your partner and your relationship. Remember that winning an argument is not the goal of a relationship, solving the issue is.
WORK ON YOUR INSECURITIES
The key ingredient of adult relationships is maturity. This is the one thing that will help you deal with insecurities related to your relationship. What do we mean when we say insecurities – a feeling that you are about to lose your relationship, that you will become unimportant to your partner. How can one work on this? Firstly, this can be accomplished by acknowledging the feeling when it hits you. Know that this is a ‘feeling of insecurity’ and not necessarily a reflection of reality. The feeling of insecurity is accompanied with feelings of jealousy, anger, sadness – be assured that you can control this with maturity.
What is your insecurity trying to tell you – that you probably do not have the confidence in your ability to conduct this relationship. A chat with your partner may put all these anxieties to rest. What has caused the insecurity – do you think he is still in touch with his ex? Is this true, or is this just an assumption you are making – which is going to soon turn into a fight between the two of you. Similarly, don’t obsess over his calls or her text messages or meetings with friends. Know that obsession and anger never changes a situation. But understanding and compassion also does.
Another exercise that works is to monitor your reactions and make an active choice to not over react. Introspect – is it worth losing your cool; will that provide you an immediate solution or will it just be a vent to your anxiety? Prioritize your relationship, be mature and practice.
UNDERSTAND YOURSELF AND YOUR NEEDS
Every change begins with the self. Make sure you know what you want from the relationship. Your needs have to be in harmony with your partner’s needs. At the first sign of disharmony, work on the relationship and see if the relationship is giving you harmony. Prioritize your needs and make sure your partner knows them. Make sure you have understood and acknowledged his needs too. For a relationship to work, you will first need to be honest with yourself about what you are seeking from your partner.
DEDICATE QUALITY TIME
Be it for yourself or your partner, set aside quality time. Every relationship needs the time and space to know itself, heal and recover. Whatever rush you may be in, add your relationship to your list of to-dos. It needs your time, too.
Fill the time with rich experiences – cook together, take a short walk in the park, do activities that the both of you enjoy together, get to know each others’ friends, try to know and accept each others’ hobbies. Avoid low quality activities like surfing social media – this may give rise to angst and feelings of comparison with other couples. Instead, focus on what positive energy you can bring into your own relationship. Spare time to yourself, make yourself feel good and in turn your relationship will also feel the love and calm.
Relationships add value to life. They let us know who we are, what is important to us. Partners complement us; they provide the strength where we are weak. But like anything of value in life, relationships require work too. If you feel that your relationship is taking a downhill turn or that your problems are getting out of hand, feel free to walk into any Juno Clinic or book an appointment for you and your spouse on http://www.juno.clinic/ . A healthy relationship requires more than just love – it needs deep understanding of yourself and your partner. It requires forgiveness, some sense of humor about mistakes – and you are all set for a happy, glorious ride into the sunset!