Are you in a good relationship?
This question is so difficult to answer when you consider all the variables that arise when you attempt to meld two completely different people together. Choosing to be in a relationship with someone is a big step and this 12-part formula is my attempt to help you “keep the peace.” That doesn’t mean that if you follow these steps, you will make it work with anyone. Some people are not meant to be together, and you can look up another guide for that advice! If you enjoy staying inside all the time and you try to make it work with someone who hates being inside and wants nothing more than to be out in the wilderness, you won’t work. I’m sorry but that is too much stress for your relationship. Someone will have to sacrifice a fundamental part of their character.
Moving forward I will assume you’re with someone that is compatible to your character and both of you are happy. The following 12 rules can assist with giving you the best relationship you’ve ever had. I will not give advice like “spend time together,” “go on dates,” and “always talk.” These points are standard. Your relationship will fail if you don’t spend time together every week or talk to one another. The professionals recommend at least 8 hours of alone time together every week. That doesn’t mean with the kids running around. This is time after the kids are asleep or while they’re with a babysitter.
Let’s dive right in. And I’ll keep each point bite-sized for easier consumption. I hate fluff!
The first part of the formula is having the ability to give up something for another person’s happiness. This doesn’t mean you always surrender what you want for the other person’s desires (number 3 helps with that) seeing as this is a fast track to resentment, hate, and most likely divorce. Compromise means you chose the restaurant last date night and it’s their turn to choose even if you know they’re craving Mexican, and you aren’t.
This should be self-explanatory but being honest with your loved one is a must. Communication and being open with your significant other is required for growing together and establishing/maintaining trust. If they ask what is bothering you, tell them! Don’t say nothing because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or be rude. More damage will come from keeping it inside than from saying how you feel in a loving manner (that is important, don’t just throw it out there in a mean way).
Cowards have no place in a healthy relationship. Sorry if that sounds mean but it is true. Either you won’t get what you want which, will turn into years and years of you giving way to someone else and eventually lead to resentment, or the relationship won’t make it that far when your spouse grows tired of making every decision.
People speak about how you should love your partner for who they are, but I disagree. You should love your partner for who they will be tomorrow. If you’re spending quality time together every week this part is almost irrelevant because you will grow together and barely notice the change, until you look back at the past and recognize you’ve both changed. Regardless, it should be stated that growth is normal and if you grow together this won’t cause issues. Just be sure to nurture the other person’s growth and ensure they’re not growing away from you.
Women always love a man who makes them laugh. That is one of the single highest-ranking traits a woman looks for in a man. Life is dull if you cannot laugh and enjoy time with your spouse. That doesn’t mean you cannot have fun without laughing but joy typically goes hand-in-hand with smiling or laughing. Don’t be a stick in the mud, have some fun and be willing to laugh with your spouse. Even if the joke is bad. Throw them a bone.
6. You choose to love
Love is a choice. Don’t let anyone tell you it is an emotion or a feeling. Infatuation and attraction are emotions (or feelings) and cannot be controlled (within reason of course). When you say, “I will love you until the day I die,” you are making a choice to love this person. “In the good times and the bad,” is a proclamation that even when you don’t like them, you will love them. People seem to understand this a little better when I mention that one relative they don’t get along with. They are your relative and you only hang around them when you must, but you still love them. You may not like them but they’re family.
Along with choosing to love them comes the requirement that you respect your significant other. Men and women react to certain stimulations in different ways, and this is obvious when it comes to love and respect. Women need love. They respond through love. Men need respect. They respond through respect. If you love a woman, respect will typically follow. If you respect a man, love will typically follow. To receive that which you desire most, you must give it to the other person first (or hopefully at the same time).
It isn’t a free pass, and it doesn’t mean they get away with everything they do just because you love them. People should still be held accountable for their actions but unforgiveness is one of many root causes for resentment and eventually, divorce. If you can’t forgive your significant other when they mess up, you are keeping something inside you that will eat away at every other part of your relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to forget either. There are many spouses who have experienced an unfaithful spouse. When they choose to remain with that person it is possible to forgive them but almost impossible to forget. No one says you should do that either.
9. No pride
Pride eats away at all relationships, not just romantic ones. Most of the time we encounter pride when someone is wrong. You are caught in a situation where you made a bad call, you confidently spit out an answer, or something similar and you are exposed to be wrong. One route is to double down and commit fully to your incorrect action or words. Everyone knows your wrong, even the other person and they see your inability to accept your fault. Don’t be that person. Don’t let pride eat away at your relationship and the other person’s ability to trust you. It takes a humble person to admit when they’re wrong and humility is the foundation of every friendship/relationship.
This almost requires no explanation. It is fundamental that you must trust the person you’re with to have a healthy relationship. If one person in the relationship cannot trust the other, it erodes at the foundation, and you create a ticking time bomb.
Sometimes you’ve had enough of your significant other and you just need your space. Of course, this shouldn’t happen all the time (that’s a bad sign) but occasionally it can benefit the relationship if you spend time away from one another. This creates the desire to see each other again and makes coming back to one another even more enjoyable. If you both have jobs that separate you for most of the week this will typically not come into play; unless you have an argument. In times of disagreement when you cannot come to resolution getting some space to think or cool down is key to recovery and finding common ground.
There are some things in this world you cannot change. This is mostly prevalent once you choose to settle down with someone (or at least remain in an extended relationship). It is unethical to manipulate people, and this applies to your spouse/love one. There will be times when you disagree, and you will know the topics to leave out of the conversation. Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you cannot have a happy relationship. Quite the opposite. It helps your relationship grow when you have someone who comes with a different perspective. If you open your mind to their way of thinking you may learn something. You don’t have to agree with them, but the mature option is to understand why they have this opinion and accept them for their difference.