Relationships can be both your greatest joy and challenge in life. Falling in love and starting a relationship is easy, but to remain happy in your relationship for a long time can become increasingly difficult. As time passes and you get to know each other, life becomes more ‘normal’ and you fall out of the ‘honeymoon’ stage. This is when arguments start and distance between you can increase.
If you want your relationship to succeed from this point then you have to train yourself to cultivate and maintain a healthy relationship. There are four essential elements for a happy and long-lasting relationship that will help you to strengthen your bond and deepen your love for each other.
The significance of communication in relationship is similar to what breathing is to living and is what makes or breaks a relationship. You should always aim to create a sense of safety and support instead of criticism or judgment so you are both comfortable communicating your thoughts and feelings at all times. Being able to talk about challenging issues either or both of you are going through helps your bond to become stronger.
As your partner is the closest to you, avoid keeping any secrets from him or her. Even if you have the best of intentions, hiding things from your partner will be more upsetting if he or she comes to know about it later, especially if it’s discovered through another source. This can create a distance unable to be conquered if you are not comfortable communicating with each other.
For example, many women like to get numerous opinions on a topic before making a decision, even after discussing it with her partner and appearing to have come to a decision. For most men, a decision is final and asking someone else for their opinion is blatantly disrespectful and can lead to thoughts and feelings of betrayal. He may even think she is hiding something or lying. This leads to mistrust and arguments, which can lead to both partners feeling isolated and alone.
Open communication means communicating honestly, even if you think your partner may become upset at your actions. Your partner is responsible for their own reactions and how they communicate, just as you are fully responsible for your own. Be careful to clearly verbalize your intent and avoid treading on each other’s feelings. When you first create a feeling of safety and openly communicate your intention to clarify an issue, it is much easier to seek a second opinion without upsetting your partner. This leads to the second essential key for a long-lasting happy relationship — respect.
You must respect who your partner is, their preferences, and how they communicate. While it’s ideal for you both to communicate in the same respectful manner, this is unlikely to happen much of the time. This is because men’s and women’s brains are wired slightly differently, meaning our approach to communicating issues is going to be different. We need to respect these differences, deal with our own emotional reactions and aim to align with the truth of a matter in all situations.
We learn and grow in different environments, which leads us to different understandings of how things should be done. Some people express themselves outwardly whereas others are more internally focused and process their thoughts and feelings that way. These are simply different modes of expression which need to be accepted and respected.
You need to respect your partner’s perspective, regardless of whether you agree or not. While learning to compromise is seen as a sign of maturity, it’s also essential for two individuals to share a common direction. Aim for the best result in a challenging situation and always seek to understand rather than be understood.
Respect includes personal preferences as well as family and background, caste, cultures and traditions. We seem to like people who are more like us, as we feel more comfortable with those who share our values, preferences, outlook on life and likes and dislikes. This helps in solidifying and validating our own sense of self. A great thing about relationship is to discover your similarities and respect your differences. Respect your partner’s thoughts, beliefs, abilities and also the fact that they are in love with you and for the most part are on your side.
It’s also important to give each other some space and respect each other’s need to follow their own passions and hobbies which fulfill them as individuals. This will enrich your relationship with new stories and ideas to share.
Building and maintaining trust
Building trust is the master key to a successful relationship. It is the cement in your castle of love. The absence of trust in the castle will surely lead to its fall one day. Even the strongest of relationships can fail if one or both partners lose trust. Relationships can last forever on the basis of trust that a person will remain honest and communicate the truth to you at all times. If your partner doesn’t feel safe or supported when communicating challenging subjects to you, then they will be triggered and therefore unable to clearly communicate.
When you’re feeling emotionally triggered, your memory fails you so you can’t communicate clearly. This means you communicate the issue badly — out of sequence and forgetting important points, which would add clarity to the situation. This leads to accusations and blame from your partner as they are basing their reaction on what you just said. Then when you realize your error in how you initially communicated the issue, you start back-peddling and trying to explain the other pieces of the puzzle in the right order. From your partner’s perspective, this appears that you are making excuses and leads to feelings of mistrust.
When you don’t trust your partner, then any other person’s comments can easily come between you and start to undermine your relationship. The human mind comes complete with a vivid imagination and there’s a part of your brain which makes you notice more of whatever you are focusing your attention on. Combined with mistrust, this combination leads to the death of many relationships.
Seek to give your partner the benefit of the doubt when they communicate something poorly to you. Understand that challenging topics will emotionally trigger both of you, and that when either of you is triggered you cannot communicate clearly. This has been proven by neuroscience.
Treat each other as the king and queen who deserve respect, honesty and the utmost integrity in how you communicate with each other.
Love, sex and intimacy
Sex is an important aspect of sharing love with your partner in a relationship. While you can have a happy relationship with little to no sex if you’ve found a way to make it work, or if that’s what both of you want, it’s not normal nor ideal.
Most men and women lose interest in sex due to a sexual ‘malfunction’ issue such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction or being unable to achieve orgasm which leads to feelings of disappointment, low self-esteem and self-worth. No one likes to feel like a failure. In other cases, one partner doesn’t like the other’s sexual technique.
If sex is something that’s important to you and no matter what you do you can’t get on the same page, then you are going to have some unhappy times. It’s crucial to learn how to balance your sexual focus so can both complete a fulfilling sexual act.
Love is a feeling that makes you fly high and rightly so, is one of the cornerstones of a happy and healthy relationship. Knowing that a person loves you unconditionally and will remain by your side no matter what happens is the most amazing feeling. If trust, respect and open communication are the pillars of a long-lasting happy relationship then love and good sex are the cement that will hold it together in the years to come.
Love and satisfying sex can bring happiness and mutual trust, respect and clear communication give you the power to overcome any obstacles in your relationship.
Previously Published on startsat60