Marriage and Relationships
A great deal of evidence suggests that the ability to form a stable relationship begins in infancy, in a child's earliest experiences with a caregiver who reliably meets the infant's needs for food, care, warmth, protection, stimulation, and social contact. Relationships are not destiny, but they appear to establish deeply ingrained patterns of relating to others. Strong relationships are continually nurtured with care and communication. Failed relationships happen for many reasons, and the failure of a relationship is often a source of great psychological anguish. Most people have to work consciously to master the skills necessary to make relationships endure and flourish.
Although relationships can take many forms, certain traits have been shown to be especially important for healthy relationships. Both individuals should feel confident that their partner is willing to devote time and attention to the other, and that they are committed to accommodating the differences and challenges that inevitably emerge. In the 21at century, good relationships are generally marked by a sense of fairness in the distribution of the time, energy, parenting, chores of maintaining a household, etc. Partners also feel grateful for one another, openly provide and receive affection, and engage in honest discussions about sex. In good relationships, partners always afford their
partner the benefit of doubt, which creates a sense of being on the same team in life, a feeling that can help couples overcome many difficulties.
Here are some tips for one of the most common questions I hear - "
How do we make our relationship work?"
- Mind your manners. "Please," "thank you" and "you're welcome," can go a long way in helping your partner remember that you respect and love him and don't take him for granted.
- Variety is the spice of life. Studies have shown that dullness can lead to dissatisfaction with a relationship. Trying something new can be as simple as visiting an unfamiliar restaurant or as grand as a backpacking trip. Discoveries you make together will keep you feeling close.
- The couple that does activities together, stays together. Find a sport or hobby or activity that you both love (no, watching TV doesn't count) and make it a priority in your relationship. Camping, biking, building model trains... whatever it is, find something you enjoy doing together.
- Fight right. Don't initiate a discussion when you're angry. In order to have productive arguments, keep these rules in mind: Don't call your spouse names, don’t bring the past up, don’t bring others in the present issue. Keep it strictly between the two of you.
- I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Everyone can appreciate a compromise. If you want your partner to do something and you're not sure he'll be agreeable, the quickest way to avoid a confrontation is to sweeten the deal. For example: "Sure, I'll watch Monday Night Football if you take me to see the next movie of my choice."
- Two heads are better than one. Being in a relationship basically means you've made a merger; you've not only joined assets but inherited the other's problems as well. Rather than looking at his problems as merely his own, tackle them together. For example, if he's gaining weight, rather than pushing him to diet on his own, enroll in an exercise program together.
- Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Maintain your own friendships and occasionally have a night out without your significant other. Do things without the other person at times. [And in case the relationship doesn't work out, you'll still have your friends.]
- Sound it out. It other words: communicate! Talking out the tough subjects — money, religion, fidelity, raising kids —will not be the most fun you've had, but it'll be valuable.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and at silly mistakes. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves to be forgiven and their mistakes forgotten.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. If you keep your perspective fixed on the goal — to be in a happy, functioning partnership — you're less likely to get tangled up in every minor annoyance. Yes, he forgot your co-worker's name for the tenth time, but it probably doesn't mean he doesn't care about you. Remember, you both want the same thing – a stable partnership.
- Quitters never win. Find a ritual and keep it alive, no matter what. Whether it's always wishing each other good night, renewing your wedding vows every year, sleeping in as late as you want once a month or committing to having sex once a week, pick something that makes you both feel good and stick to it, even when you're tempted to skip.
- When the going gets tough, the tough get going ... to therapy. Studies show that couples who seek counseling during rocky periods are more successful in resolving their issues than those who don't. Whether its from a religious figure, counselor or mental health professional, getting an expert to help sort out strife, is as wise as hiring a plumber to unclog the sink. May your relationship flourish and may you enjoy a fulfilling life together!
My personal favourite quote on relaltionships is the following:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of life can contain your hearts. Stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.” ―