If you ask anyone who has been or still is in a relationship about what their secret was/is, you will probably hear pretty much the same answer. That you need to communicate, respect, and love one another. Those are valid points and solid advice, but a relationship entails so much more than that. You know what they say. The devil is in the details. I am not referring to picking up the socks, although that can help, but there are some things that you do not hear as much as love, respect, and communication.
Learn how to fight
Whenever you hear someone say ‘We never fight!’, it is safe to assume that they are lying. Everyone fights. To be honest, I think it is healthier to fight once in a while than getting along all the time. After all, you are different people, and while you have a lot of things in common, there will always be separate points of view. However, the way you fight is crucial. Couples that throw heavy words during each fight or are in the habit of insulting one another do not have high chances of survival. You need to learn to avoid all that. You can get angry, scream at each other, vent, and everything in between, but you should never offend your partner. You should never use his or her weaknesses against him/her while you fight. That is way too low. You need to remember that you love that person, even if at that particular moment you do not like them too much. There is a huge difference between fighting and hurting your significant other.
What you need to remember here is that sometimes you should take about 5 seconds before your next line. Weigh your words and think about how they are going to stick. Is it something that can pass easily? Or is it something that you can never take back? Basically, you need to learn what to say and what to not during a fight. That will ensure your relationship remains loving and healthy.
Value each other’s alone time
Just because you are a couple, it does not mean you have to be together every single moment in your lives. Believe it or not, that is a mistake a lot of couples do. As you can imagine, quality time together can strengthen the relationship, and common interests may be the thing that brought you two together. However, everyone needs some alone time. If he would rather spend some time in front of the game console after work instead of spending some time with you, that is fine. If she would rather read alone on the porch rather than watching a movie with you, again, that is fine. You need to remember that you are separate individuals, and while you can be good together and have each other, you also have yourselves to think about. Alone time is healthy.
Lower your romantic expectations
Trust me, I am aware of how that sounds. But real love is not like in the movies. Absolutely not. A lot of women, mostly, have this idea that romance involves a man that knows them inside out and who do and say all the right things. That is not life. Life is messier, sometimes gross, annoying, hair-pulling and nail-biting obnoxious. The guy does not bring flowers every time he messes up, and the woman does not organize the romantic picnic when she does something wrong. But you know what? Real life romance is some much better. It is full of surprises and small details that can make you happy.
It is not his or her job to make you happy
Another mistake that people do is thinking that their partner is in charge of their happiness. That could not be more wrong. Being happy is a complex process, and it needs to be continuously nurtured. Why should it be someone else’s job to create or maintain it? Now, do not get me wrong. Making gestures for someone else’s happiness is something that loving people do, but there is no equal sign between that and making someone happy. It is not your job. Whose is it? Their own! Your happiness is too important to let someone else be in charge of it. Plus, people sometimes leave. Does that mean your happiness goes with them? Of course not.
Learn to make yourself happy first. Your relationship will be a lot more relaxed. When you already have some happiness to bring to the table, things go a lot better. As a result, you will be happier together.
Some traveling alone may do you some good
Couples often travel together, and while that is some quality time, it is best if you travel alone sometimes. It is not uncommon for couples to have different interests when it comes to destinations, and one should not just forget about a particular location only because the other one has no interest in it. Just take your passport and go. Your partner should not mind, and if he or she does, then you have an issue.
Traveling alone may also be the perfect occasion to clear your mind and get some quality alone time. There is nothing wrong with that. It is actually very healthy. As I said above, time apart will do you both some good. Just do not forget to get your visa should it be necessary. Apart from that, bon voyage!
Respect each other’s separate lives
When couples get together, their lives do not just merge. That is almost impossible. The thing with the couple friends should be out of the discussion. You are not tied at the waist. You do not know that, right? Your old lives do not disappear all of a sudden. He has his friends, she has hers, and it goes the same for interests. You do not have to share everything. As long as you remember that, you will be much happier.
Being in love and loving someone are two completely different things
This is a tough one, and as long as you have this one down, you are prepared for forever. When you first meet, you fall in love. It is all pink and flowers for a while. After a few months or even a few years, that feeling tones down, but you can still feel the butterflies. However, what happens next is more important, and a lot of people make the mistake of breaking a relationship. Let’s call it a milestone, shall we?
Your love suffers a transformation. You fall out of love, but you still love the person next to you. Instead of having unreal expectations of love and breaking up just because you are no longer in love, embrace it. It is the natural course of real love. The feeling of being in love reaches a stage in which we can talk about real commitment, partnership, devotion, respect, loyalty, and trust me when I say this, the things listed a second ago are so much more important than the actual feeling of being in love. It is greater, it is richer, and that is the final and ultimate stage of real love. That is what we strive for.
The tips mentioned above are all learned. Nobody is born knowing that. There is no book on how to make your relationship thriving. Of course, it kind of beats the purpose of writing this article, if you think about it, but it is true. The tips I gave you above are for reference only. Your relationship is different. You are different. And while there are some general principles that apply here, each partnership is unique and should be treated as such. Tips are not rules. Remember that.