Whether you're currently in a love relationship or not, we all understand sustaining a strong one takes a little time and effort, and that the time and effort is so worth it with the right person. So let's celebrate love in all it's forms and make healthier decisions, deeper connections, and create more fun for a relationship that happily lasts for years to come.
Don’t Compare Your Relationship to Others
Every relationship is as different as each human on earth, which is the most valid reason to not compare yours to anyone else's - ever! This applies to comparing the relationships your friends have with their partners, as well as relationships you’ve had in the past with other people. Sure you can learn from observation and past experiences, but your current squeeze is not them, and you you've likely grown and changed everyday too, thank goodness!
Respect your relationship by being as present in the here and now as you can. You'll not only drive yourself and your other half less crazy, but you'll begin to notice, feel and appreciate all the quirks and moments that make this pairing so special. Or on the flip side, you'll have the clarity to see what's not working and make decisions accordingly to exit or repair the situation.
If You Can’t Agree, Understand
You and your partner - and any other person in the world - are never going to agree on absolutely everything. It's normal and healthy to a degree and it doesn't mean the relationship is doomed when you don't. Wanting you and your partner to be in perfect harmony on every single issue sounds good in theory but sometimes someone to question your choices is exactly what you need. Like do you really need to buy those $300 black shoes when you just said you want to save for a holiday? Probs not. Ta.
The greatest partnerships are where two people know and support each other's visions, see the best in each other, and encourage the other to go after their goals, grow and be their best self. And during times of disagreements with one another, at least try to understand each other if you can’t agree. Breathe. And respond rather than react and see how much smoother solutions come rather than an all out fight where you get so far down and around the main thing you can 't even remember what it was that started it! Clear and honest communication is key and you'll feel stronger for retaining your individuality or learned for having seen a different perspective. Each person feels heard and supported and the relationship can move on, improved. And you might even laugh about it later.
Show Your Appreciation for One Another
Appreciating one another is essentially the glue to you two, because if you don’t do that, then why are you even still together? Find some way every day to show your partner your appreciation with no expectation of a return outcome. Do it because you love them, care for their wellbeing, want them to look cute, feel special, chill out or let their hair down and have a good time. The 5 Love Languages teaches us the various ways you can speak and act in accordance with your partners preferred 'language' or understanding of love and how you can communicate yours to them. Whether it's acts of service, gifts, quality time, words of affirmation or physical touch, you will find that they show their appreciation for you in return more readily when you're talking directly to their deepest desires or values of the heart. When you both know how much one person appreciates the other, it can only be positive.
Learn to Talk, Even When it’s Difficult
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. If you and your partner are not great at having honest, open and deep talks in which feelings are discussed and grievances are aired in a forgiving and understanding way, and if it's causing problems, it’s something to work on for the relationships longevity. Make a weekly date to sit on the beach and truly catch-up with each other, phone free. Or schedule to meet at your favourite restaurant once a month to talk of nothing but your love for each other. Talking to a professional with marriage counselling or relationship counselling is also an option if you and your partner really want to work things out with some third party mediation. Some couples even consider seeking professional therapy as a necessary regular relationship development and maintenance check-up. Whatever way you work it, words really have the power to heal sometimes. Use them wisely.
Never Try to Change Your Partner: It’s Futile Anyway
If anyone has ever tried to change you in a core way that is against who you intrinsically are or want to be, you’re most likely familiar in it's futility. Stay focused on the things that matter because trying to change who someone is almost never works out the way you want it to and can lead to so much heartache for you and for them.
Talk about the things you love and loathe openly and see what you're each willing to work on, adjust, or compromise on. Putting the toilet seat down is one thing, quitting an unhealthy habit of smoking, drinking, drugs or gambling for example is a whole lot of something else you have to ask yourself if you're willing to live with or leave.
Of course, the other side of a loving and strong relationship is one that is not working, is toxic to one or both parties, and destructive to your lives, the lives of those around you, and your life goals. In these cases, agree your differences do indeed not align and it's time to go your separate ways. And this could be the result of one major difference or many. Check in with your head as much as your heart often and make the decisions that are healthiest for you right now and into the future.
At the end of the day, no-one else or one single quote can define what love is to you.
It is yours and yours alone to find uniquely. Only you can decide what's best for you.
I only hope we all find it in all the ways we want it and keep it for as long as is healthy and respectful to each other.
Choose love, friends, and love the heck outta it!