Successful relationships don’t just happen, they take work. Intentional work. Most times people tend to think the love we have for one another in our relationships will keep us together and operating swimmingly. Unfortunately this could not be any further from the truth! You could have heard the phrase,”love alone is not enough”
And it truly isn’t. For a relationship to succeed, there are things you have to consistently put in practice. Think of emotions and logic.In love you have to utilise both to succeed. And while the feelings of love is what brings us together, These four things will keep us together and keep our love strengthened and renewed.
1. Selflessness; for a relationship to work one has to go in with one mind, “what can I offer the other person?” A heart of service, “How do I make the other person’s life better or easier?” For most men, the classic example is filling up the gas, getting your car checked, e.t.c.
Unfortunately love relationships are not supposed to be transactional. The act of doing something nice for someone without thinking of a return; or whether it’s deserved or not is what melts a people’s hearts. Human beings are programmed to crave love, from infancy to adulthood, we all just want love. To be seen, to be appreciated. Selflessness is putting someone first without necessarily putting yourself down. It is the simple act of caring for your partner in action.
When you master the art of selflessness, you open yourself up to understanding your partner and their “love” needs in a way that isn’t possible any other way.
I have always said that a lasting love connection is always possible when one’s needs are met, their need for love or a partner. Once that need is met, you become invaluable. Love looks different for every individual, what I deem to be love is different from what my partner craves as love.
The secret to having your partner staying in love with you, is taking time to learn what they need and you serve that need….BOOM!!!! You are invaluable.
Ladies, you are welcome in advance! 😉
2. Communication: Many of us have heard about how imperative communication is to a successful relationship. But why is it that it always seems to be the first thing most people fail at?
The main reason is because we don’t know how to communicate to be effective. Communication is ultimately one of the biggest make or break relationship factors. To communicate so the other person understands our feelings, not act on assumptions of not being understood, or throw tantrums when we should be communicating to come to a resolve that benefits both parties.
For instance, instead of getting upset and acting up because your significant other cannot read our mind and act as you expect, you could communicate your expectations.
You’ll find that clear and timely communication can save a lot of turmoil or conflict in your relationship, be it a romantic one or not.
I lived most of my relationship life expecting my partner’s to guess what I expected from them, to somehow always perceive my feelings and God forbid they act human and not do as I expected… I’d be upset for days!! And the poor man doesn’t even know what he did or didn’t do! This killed my partner’s spirit in the relationship and I had no idea. No it is not a woman prerogative to act irresponsibly in a relationship.
A stitch in time saves nine they say. Timely communication will save you a lot of time and money for counseling and divorce. It saves you from unnecessary heart break, it will save you from cold nights, sticking to your side of the bed when you could be cuddled up and enjoying each other’s company.
Good communication is…
Honest – Effective communication has to be truthful, otherwise what is the point? Being honest about your feelings or expectations isn’t always an easy thing for a lot of people. However with practice you can learn to say what you need to say. A healthy relationship space should allow you to feel safe enough to communicate truthfully.
Considerate – With every right, you have a responsibility. Always consider the receiver of the communication, your delivery matters! How you deliver the information will determine how your partner will take the message. I have a friend who has mastered the Act of delivery, she could tell you “you are stupid” in a way that will leave you almost wanting to thank her for letting you know. This part is where kindness comes into play, to deliver a message kindly, that the receiver gets it without getting defensive. When delivering a critic, perhaps start with a compliment, and then boom you deliver the main message! For example, “Last night you knocked my socks off! It was amazing! But I don’t like when you put your fingers in my mouth or whatever it is you want to say. That way, your message is honest and kind, lessening the blow on the other person.
Clear and Concise – Nothing is more bore-some that people going round and round a point rather than just getting straight to it. For communication to be effective you need your partners’ attention, if you beat about the bush, you lose their attention and by the time you get to the point they probably only got 30% of what you said. Equally if your point is not clear, then they miss it completely.
In Most cases, communication requires practice. The more you do it, the less uncomfortable it gets for both of you and the better your relationship gets!
3. Intimacy: Intimacy is glue that holds two people together at all times. This carries from light touching for reassurance to full on sex. Intimacy tends to come easy and natural when we first fall in love, but as time goes, it sort of fades. That’s when you find couples asking each other, when last did you do ABC; It’s when people say the chemistry is gone.
Most of the time the chemistry is not gone it’s just lacking practice, like everything else in life, anything you practice more of, gets easier. When people first fall in love, the holding of hands, caressing unintentionally, pecking, smooching , smiling flirtingly, all these things is what makes your heart full with love and that’s what we call chemistry.
As time passes you start getting used to one another, taking each other for granted, situations arise, ineffective communication etc. All these things get in the way of us naturally feeling the feels that cause us to be intimate subconsciously.
This is a natural process in life and relationships, be it romantic relationships or other relationships for that matter. Being in constant check of you is important in order to know and understand when things are starting to get stale, so you can start making an effort to get things back on track.
One of the things that kills intimacy in a relationship is comparison, ‘why am I always the one instigating ABC?”, then discouragement sets in, and effort is stopped all together.
Please note, there are two people in a relationship, shoulder to shoulder, what that means is that you can’t always be good at everything. One can be a good communicator, who will hold the communication fort down for both of you, understanding the other with passion and patience that the lack of communication skills of the other doesn’t show. Likewise, the other can be good at intimacy that holds your relationship together and keeps things going. I’m naturally a good communicator, over the years I’ve learnt to communicate effectively, whereas my partner sucks at communicating, I usually have to sit his behind down and try to understand what he is trying to say or mean. He, on the other side, is brilliant at intimacy, he is always the one keeping us close intimately and also giving me a gentle nudge when I’m slacking.
Ways to re-ignite intimacy in your relationship
Be playful – Playfulness is a powerful tool that brings you closer to your spouse without much effort. Learn to have fun with each other. Whatever you both find to be fun and encourages you to be playful.
Most times, we are so consumed with the events of life that we forget to live, and before long, our spouse becomes part of that life event that we feel we have to tick off on the list of responsibilities. So, it’s important to keep the romance going because that’s the only reason we fall in love in the first place. It was never to pay bills, raise children etc…IT WAS TO BE IN LOVE, TO FEEL IN LOVE, and TO ENJOY LOVE. IT WAS ALL FOR LOVE.
Spending quality time together: When you spend quality time with your partner, doing things you love that don’t require a lot of effort (not chores, kids schedule), or things that takes you into a world of your own, it automatically connects you, e.g. walking /running– I personally find that we have always connected when we walk, we talk, we do little races playfully, its leaves us happy (even if I start the walk upset) before in know it, i’m laughing and joking… sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m supposed to be sulking ? Cooking together -if that’s something you both enjoy. Watching a movie – Don’t underestimate the power of being cuddled up watching a film.
4 Individual but together lives: This simply means allowing yourselves to have individual lives.
Relationships do not complete or fulfill your life. A healthy relationship should complement a somewhat fulfilled individual or complete individual. Thus taking time for you to recuperate, work on yourself and have that much needed balance is essential.
I have learnt over time the necessity of having alone time or a life outside of my relationship. There are things I love doing alone or with my friends… that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t like spending time with my partner. It however allows me to recuperate, get new perspective and go back to my partner refreshed.
Can you imagine having no life outside of your relationship? It can be suffocation for the other person.
Spending some individual time allows you to recharge, distress and most importantly allows you to change perspective.
When you are constantly together, you have the same vantage point, when you, move back little, or away, your vantage point changes and so does your perspective of things.
Everything in our lives, i.e. associations, helps to mold us into the people we are, some people’s youthfulness is brought out by spending time with certain people, of their kind of nature, or wit. Different events or happenings attribute to who we are or how we are. So to maintain being the person we are (and yes you can make adjustments as necessary, We have to work on keeping ourselves grounded, do the fun things we did, keep our sense of humor as it was because realistically one of the reasons your spouse liked you to start with was some of the top attributes you are trying to keep going.
My partner is a flying enthusiast, he enjoys going on flying excursions with his flying club buddies, and I find every time he goes he comes back happier and less stressed.
I see his excitement on the mornings of his excursions when he tells me his itinerary, he comes back less triggered. Realistically, when you are being with another person constantly, you get fed up, it’s just FACTS! I don’t care how in love you think you are, it is necessary to spend some time apart to keep that “in love” energy going. I mean as a parent, I love my children dearly! these people were practically made inside of me, so the love I have for them is incomparable……; but I still need some time apart from them to recharge, and surely, after a night out with friends or a date night, I feel recharged, renew my patience batteries and I come back a better mom. So what more this whole person I only met already grown?????