Good Relationships Don't Just Happen They Take Work
Nobody said it was easy, right? Then again, nobody ever told you just how much work would be required either. Even at the best of times relationships aren't easy, they are so much more complicated, though, when modern life is involved. One glance at the divorce rates in America is enough to put anyone off marriage, but the problem isn't marriage – it's us.
A good relationship requires more than love, for it to thrive it requires compromise, the understanding that the give and take should be equal. While you need to strive as an individual, as does your partner, a good relationship will require work. Whether you are in a long-term relationship and live apart, you are cohabitating, or you're already married – then heed these tips.
• Don't think of a good relationship as a goal or an achievement – it won't be happy just because you want it to be or because you love someone. It's not even because you have met your “soul mate.” In all honesty, there are probably hundreds of people in the world with which you could build a happy and long-lasting relationship. However, the key is to take responsibility for your relationship and actively look for ways that help to bridge the gap between your differences. You can do this through open and honest communication. It's important to respect your partner and yourself.
• One of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is building unreal expectations of the other person. We expect perfection from our partner and believe they should be able to fulfill every one of our needs, even when you haven't communicated them. The best thing you can do when trying to build a healthy, happy relationship is to be clear about your expectations and ensure they are realistic.
• When you are in a live-in relationship, fairness is important – it matters. You might not be able to achieve complete equality in your housework and with children, but you will be happier if you outline what each of you does with respect to domestic chores and beyond. Failure to do this could fuel resentment. Set your boundaries, lay your foundation, and stick to it – you will be able to weather any storm.
• Your upbringing has influenced you in every possible way, in fact, it has influenced you in ways you don't even realize – it's important that you know how it has done so. It affects your expectations in relationships and may even influence many of the arguments you experience. We are more like our parents than we ever care to admit but understanding that may be the key to realizing what drives some of your actions and expectations.
• When you're in a relationship with someone who shares your values and interests you are more likely to become complacent in your efforts to maintain a good relationship. You think you're perfect for each other, so it's difficult to imagine things getting stale or becoming difficult. This is why it's so important to put the work into your relationship from the start.
If you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship, then you should seek advice from a professional. Couples often view therapy as a sign of failure or defeat – in reality, it's something that should be viewed as a healthy proactive step in protecting and improving your relationship. It provides you with an atmosphere to openly and honestly communicate with each other without judgment. Just because you are having problems doesn't mean that your relationship is dead in the water – you may just need to refocus your attention on each other and put the hard work in.