We date to find a helpmate in life and choose to marry. We start with mutual affection for each other and we enjoy the blindness of first love and intense attraction. Once it peels from our eyes we begin to notice the irritables and unpleasantries of coexisting within an intimate environment, whether married or not.
Keeping our relationship strong is so simple. Ever read “All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten”? There is a reason we are constantly told to return to the basics. You cannot accomplish anything without understanding and, here’s the kicker, remembering the basics. Here is your refresher course on relationships 101. Take notes and keep them handy.
Have a clear idea of your individual expectations. Understand that this must be accomplished BEFORE marriage. Lasting relationships need stronger foundations or there is nothing to kindle when the physical quiets. It is true opposites attract, but only when a few common interests, comfortable companionship, as well as physical drives are present. Once the drive cools, the interests and companionship remain to deepen into a lasting love.
Don’t let disagreement fester. There is the oft used phrase of “never go to bed angry” that we tend to view more as an old wives tale. Bring it back into the present where it belongs and leave it there to remind you to let go of your grudges.
Forgive freely and, yes, forget. Forgetting is as important as forgiving. Resurrecting old wounds are as swift a death as a bullet to the heart of your relationship.
Treat your partner with the utmost respect. Respect is essential in any relationship whether intimate, work related, or familial. Without respect there is no love, no joy, and lets not forget how quickly the physical attraction turns to disgust.
Build trust in your partner and be trustworthy. Allow yourself to trust your partner to keep your skeletons secret and safe. Trust them to love you without restraint and thoughts of other possibilities. Be trusted to speak of your partner with kindness and love. Be trusted to refrain from gossiping of shortcomings.
Don’t keep secrets. Partnerships with trust will be honest in all matters. What once may have begun as an innocent omission will quickly become deceit.
Talk about your wants and needs within the relationship. Men often complain of women expecting their partners to know them so well they magically and instantly are aware and understanding. So many men hide their emotions with misguided thoughts that sharing is not masculine. If you can’t open your mouth and say what needs to be said it will never be known to the other and your relationship will start to tear.
Don’t stop dating just because you are married or live together. Dating is not a process of elimination. It is supposed to be fun. If you aren’t having fun you will find yourself looking for it elsewhere. In the same breath, don’t stop being romantic. Just because the physical quiets does not mean it should disappear. Cheating happens when “couple” becomes nothing more than “roommates”.
Never take your partner for granted. They won’t always be there. They won’t always feel the same for you if you ignore them. They won’t always have the same capabilities or desires. Start every day with the understanding that your relationship could deepen or crumble and spend everyday exercising the little things that feed your love.