What Makes A Relationship Work?

As humans, we are born with the instinct of nurturing, protecting and with the desire of creating our “nest” (whether it is made of two or more members). We also actively or passively seek attention, acceptance and appreciation from others, hoping that it will validate who we are or what we offer. It could be said that relationships are a give-and-take deal, where we offer a part of ourselves and receive in return a part of our partner.

However, relationships do not always function on this unwritten rule. There are experiences where we give more than we receive and we receive more than we give. The discrepancies appear due to the lack of communication.

Before digging into this topic further, it is important to remember that there is no standard recipe for the perfect relationship, but there are certain aspects of personality or behaviour that could help two adults adjust their relationship. And communication is one of them; perhaps the only standard rule.

Being able to openly communicate your feelings, desires or ideas to your partner will go a long way to remove doubts and clarify what you intend to convey. One of the major pitfalls in relationship interactions is the assumption that your other half is certain to guess at and unravel the exact meaning of what you expect from him/her by mere verbal innuendos or body language expressions. Nobody is born a mind reader and assumptions may create unnecessary discussions. With patience and clarity, always express your feelings (i.e. anger, frustration, joy, etc.) if you wish to be fully understood. Even after years of marriage or relationship, do not assume that only because you have been together for so long, your partner will know what you think.

Communication is not only essential throughout the relationship, but I would say that it is highly important even at the beginning of it. When two individuals decide to start a relationship, they may tend to think that some plans or emotions will disappear or appear in time. Take as an example marriage or having children. Of course that discussing these two important subjects may be too sensitive to bring them up at the beginning of the relationship when you barely know each other’s date of birth or hobbies. But it would be helpful to discuss about what you two expect from each other or at least from your future. I have heard and seen couples whose relationship/marriage ended up due to the fact that they have not been fully open about their desires.

You cannot assume that s/he wants to get married only because you have a wonderful relationship; you cannot assume that s/he does not want children only because their immediate plan is to build a career. Especially women. You must have heard about the biological clock ticking and you cannot know when she will realise that you two have never discussed about having children.

Now, communication is not only about expressing your wishes or plans, but also listen to your partner’s feelings. As mentioned above, a relationship is a give-and-take art and your partner’s plans should be as important as yours, which is why you must actively listen. As such, you do not allow the creation of a possible space between you two.

Speaking of active engagement, attention is another important key in a relationship. Attention to small details may reveal so much about your partner’s personality, hobbies or mood. Understanding that your partner is different than you can save useless quarrels. You may be more calm, while your partner is a little bit more impulsive. When you know each other’s differences, you can communicate and adjust your behaviour rather than battle to change it.

One of the major issues in relationships or marriages is individuals’ desire to change their partner. Once that you have decided to start a relationship with somebody, you love them for how they are and not for what you think they may become. If you feel that the person beside you is not the type of person who completes or mentally/physically attracts you, do not continue the relationship. It will not benefit any side of the relationship and it is more likely that somebody will be brokenhearted. Do not make compromises and do not expect your other half to make them for you.

Compromises in relationships are usually translated as the acceptance or the reduction of personal demands in order to reach an agreement. A compromise will lead to another compromise and to another one until building up frustration overtime. Whether we talk about career or personal plans, the role of relationships is to individually grow together and not to hinder each other’s light. In other words, both partners must have the freedom of expressing and developing themselves within the relationship while also supporting each other in doing so.

Last, but not least, two souls that are meant to be together will not need rules or support to last. Destiny is in their favour and their differences will be the similarities that will complete each other.

Image: Shutterstock



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