Photo by Kiko Tsukayama-Edit by me
Wouldn’t it be great if your life partner were also your best friend? Someone with whom you could truly be yourself, vulnerable and loved, relaxed and laughing? Someone with whom you share mutual understanding and inspiration? Someone who listens? Someone who makes deposits in your life instead of withdrawals?
Listed below are some key ingredients which I think make for a successful happy long term partnership.
Be with someone who understands that a relationship is a team, and is committed to the betterment of the whole. When the crap hits the fan, both parties need to clean it up without blaming each other for using the wrong towel. A successful relationship consists of two people who understand that in order to make progress they must put their heads together and make conscious decisions. Both parties must see past themselves and patiently, willingly care for and understand each other, for they are better off together than apart.
Love Thy Self
It’s important for the individuals in a relationship to be independently happy and emotionally healthy and to treat one another with respect. Emotionally healthy people not only accept responsibility but also forgive and move forward.
Trusting one’s partner is incredibly important. Truly understanding that your partner has your best interest in mind and is not out to hurt or destroy you. Consistent trustworthy behavior over a span of time demonstrates that he has your best interests at heart and is your biggest supporter. This can only be established with time and consistent behavior…day by day, action by action.
The course of true love ne’er did run smooth. Your romantic relationship is not always going to be cotton candy clouds and glitter. You need someone willing to weather the storm with you instead of abandoning ship. It’s being with someone who you want to give a nice long kiss goodbye to, instead of a peck. Be with someone who inspires you to be the best you can. Intentionality is truly supporting your partners goals at the expense of your inconvenience. It’s being able to see past yourself for the greater good of your relationship.
Chemistry can neither be created nor faked. It’s that energy– that indescribable surge up your spine when he looks at you. It’s when your heart melts when your lips touch. It’s those butterflies you get when you think of him. You smile when you hear his name.
What’s the Rush?
It’s important to build a solid foundation. Get to know the person, build a friendship…a nice slow and steady burn. Actually like the person
with their clothes on.
Keep Your Heavy Problems to Yourselves
Yes, it’s a good idea to seek the counsel of those who you think are wise enough to give you a deeper perspective, but gossiping about your problems to your friends and family will usually paint a negative unrealistic picture of your partner. It’s a bad idea to go to your parents every time something goes down. It’s equally a bad idea to go to your girl friends and start with, “Girrrl, you are not going to believe what he did this time!”
It’s so important to communicate with and be sensitive to your partner’s needs. If you expect him to read your mind then you should also expect disappointment and confusion. If you want to be on the same page, use a bookmark.
Communicate with your partner. Let him know you appreciate him, and when you do or do not understand. Ask questions. If you are having a heavy discussion, listen, and after he finishes, reply with “What I hear you saying is…”
How You Argue
There will be arguments and disagreements in any happy successful union. It’s bound to happen, but how well you deal with these disagreements is key. Remember that the objective is not to win the argument but to achieve clarity. You are not opponents, but a team dedicated to a working relationship. Winning an argument at the expense of your partner is a total loss for the relationship. It’s not conducive to the relationship to start firing off all the bad he has done or name calling. You should start with how something makes you feel and why. This will allow the two of you to problem solve rather then blaming each other.
All relationships require work. Someone needs to take the initiative, and both parties need to support and promote one another. Life happens, but it’s the responsibility of both partners to act appropriately and problem solve together.
Now, I don’t think relationships should be all work. You should be together because you enjoy one another’s company, but both parties need to make an effort when effort is needed.
I guess it really comes down to kindness. To be kind one must forgive, empathize, and seek understanding in one’s partner. Kindness can smooth over so many rough spots. An act of kindness is when you are tired and your partner offers to rub your back. Or when you go to the kitchen to get yourself something, and ask if he would like something as well. It’s listening to what your partner has to say. It’s giving him your undivided attention instead of sharing it with your cell phone or iPad. Be kind to your partner and treat him as you would like to be treated. Kindness is selflessness, patience, and giving.