I haven’t written anything quite like this before, but I recently came across something that really resonated with me and it’s something that I want to share with all of you. This is a long one so grab a little snack for while you’re reading!
“Most people spend more time planning a two week vacation than they do planning how they want their relationship to be…”
I have been with my current boyfriend for almost three and a half years now, and although I’m still young and I’m not an expert in this area, there are certain aspects of our relationship that I feel have helped us overcome obstacles together and stay strong as a couple. There are a few questions relating to the statement quoted above that you should definitely ask yourself when you are 1) just starting your relationship or 2) have been together for a while and want to improve your relationship. Here is the main question:
“If we could design this relationship any way we wanted it, how would it be?”
You might already be thinking that the question is too broad to answer right off the bat, but let’s break it down and make it easier for you.
1) How would you spend your time, together and when not together?
2) How would you relate to and communicate with each other?
3) How would you plan for your future?
4) How would you spend your money?
5) How would you help each other grow?
Now without getting overly personal, I’d like to share some of the aspects of my relationship that have helped us overcome obstacles and stay strong as a couple over the years we have been together.
A) Communication has always been key. Don’t get me wrong, we had to work on this just like everyone else. Proper communication has been really helpful in our relationship but to get to where we are today it has been a giving effort from both sides. It’s not going to work if only one person in the relationship knows how to communicate their issues, opinions, and thoughts openly. We’ve had to help each other grow in a sense and trust each other, which moves on to my next point.
B) Trust each other. This is another aspect that we’ve had to really work on, and again it needs to come from both sides of the relationship. There’s not much to say here because it’s quite straight forward, but if there are trust issues in play then boundaries need to be established and communication is important. It’s vital to communicate to one another what you are and aren’t comfortable with so that there is no misunderstanding between the two of you.
C) Treat each other as equals. Speaking from the viewpoint of a guy/girl relationship I strongly feel that treating one another as equal is a huge game changer. For example, many individuals still believe that the guy should always pay for the bill, but in my case that’s not true. First of all, I have my own career and job and I get paid. Second of all, I don’t feel less loved or special when I pay for the bill so there’s no need for me to be paid for all the time. This was never an issue for us because we both feel the same way about it, but that’s not to say that my boyfriend never treats me out for special events or dates! For some it might be a hard concept to grasp because of pride or self-esteem issues, but I’m telling you it will most likely help in the long run. Personally it makes me feel less dependent on him (I honestly never want to be solely dependent on another person) and it also allows me to treat him out and take HIM on dates hehe. I’m not in a relationship to drain out my man’s bank account!!
D) Be open to hearing criticism and don’t judge one another. 3 years to me is kind of a long time, a long time of getting to know one another and learning about each others flaws. (There’s still a lot to learn.) The both of us are open to criticism, whether it be the way we treat our family or how we speak to others, we both provide each other with constructive criticism when need be. This is something that has helped us grow together and improve our individual selves. There’s no room for judgment here, if you’re harshly judging one another then why are you even dating? Being in a relationship is about accepting the other person’s flaws and aiding in their personal growth.
E) Do NOT play mind games. By this I mean things like “seeking revenge” when your partner does something wrong or “pretending to be OK” when your partner already knows something is up. Honestly, just be straight up. It works a whole lot better and helps issues to be solved much quicker when you tell it like it is. We’ve learned to tell each other right away if something is wrong, bugging us, or on our minds and it’s saved us a lot of energy and time!
Hopefully that wasn’t too mushy-gushy for you and I hope that some of the things I said resonated with you. Always remember that a good relationship is work and effort needs to come from both sides. The sun isn’t always going to be shining but if you focus on aspects of the relationship that build you up as a couple then you’ll be able to overcome any obstacle thrown at you!
If you have your own thoughts on relationships I would love to hear about them, leave me a comment below!