Communication + Trust + prioritizing each other = Happy Partnership
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. It is easy to fall in-love but to stay in-love is hard work. The chick flick movies you watch give you a very wrong idea of what true love is… true love is WORK! Chick flicks give you an unrealistic perception of love. You don’t just trip and meet “the one” and live romantically forever after… WRONG! You both have to work to keep that fire in your relationship.
The stages of relationship according to me:
Stage 1 — Infatuation Stage is the first 6, 18 or even 24 months of your relationship. Passionate, exciting, motivating, inspiring, romantic…. if you pass the first 6 months together then maybe you are falling in-love.
Stage 2 — After you have seen your partner’s true self, such as his or her flaws, and you still think you can live with it and compromise, then my dear, you maybe in-love. You can call that love!
Stage 3 — After 3-4 years and you are still together, you need to ask yourself if this person made you a better person, a happier person or does this person make you feel less of an individual, make you feel lonely, made you into a person you don’t like. This is when people start to show interest in other potential mates who may give them what is missing in their relationship. This is when a person usually decides if he or she should try to work it out with their current significant other or not.
Stage 4 — The 7 year itch… (myth) it usually takes shorter than that for a person to decide if they are happy or not in their marriage. Hopefully they don’t wait that long to communicate their needs in the relationship. Investing time, energy and emotions in a relationship that doesn’t make you feel good is not a good investment. Life is too short for you to stay in an unloving and unsatisfying relationship. You can: Speak up! Work it out! OR Move on!
HERES THE WORK INVOLVE TO STAY IN-LOVE:
COMMUNICATION — is key! Establishing this from the very beginning of the relationship is imperative. Be transparent. Laid out what you need from the person. Create boundaries. Find out right away if this individual is someone who you can feel safe communicating your thoughts, your needs and wants without them shaming you, making fun of you, ignoring you or avoiding you and the issue.
I highly suggest to see a counselor together before you move in together or get engaged to find ways on how to safely communicate with each other and understand each others’ flaws (nobody is perfect) and needs. Don’t wait for your relationship to be in a stage when it is all falling apart before you go to a counselor. Start early and have a regular maintenance of your relationship.
TRUST — security in the relationship. Do you believe in each other? Do you support each other? Are you there for one another? Are you secure in your relationship? Do you trust your partner enough to tell him how he or she made you feel? These are some of the questions you need to ask each other to determine if you trust one another.
Feeling secure in a relationship means that you can give each other space and let the other person keep their identity and do the things they love to do before they met you. You trust them when they decide to grow and follow their dreams. You feel secure in your relationship when you hear their validation of your hard work and your dedication to the family. Feeling secure in your relationship may be difficult when there are no affirmations, affections, validations or support being shown.
PRIORITIZING EACH OTHER — kids are not the priority, your significant other is the priority (well after yourself). Self care is important and you cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of you first. You cannot make another person or your kids happy if you are not happy in the first place. We all know this, right?
In a relationship, you need to nurture it and you need to prioritize one another. You are each other’s partner and you are modeling a healthy relationship to your children. If you prioritize your kids and neglect yourself and your marriage or partnership, your kids will grow up as self-centered people in a bad relationship or a person with low self esteem who doesn’t value themselves in relationships. They will think that it is normal to have a marriage or relationship that is: not passionate, not happy, fighting regularly, insecure, abusive, neglectful, etc. etc. Kids know.. they are smarter than you think. What they see their parents do or not do will be normal for them and that is what they will look for in a relationship (subconsciously) when they get older. Heard of the saying, “You marry your mom/dad”?
So be good examples to your kids. Show them what a happy, healthy, supportive relationship or marriage could be. Prioritizing your partner and having that regular date nights, quality time together, affection and sex will lead to a happy partnership.
To wrap up:
Communicate what you need from each other. Do not assume that they know! No they don’t! You have to be transparent and you have to openly express what you need. Trust each other. Give each other space and time to enjoy what makes you happy and what makes you an awesome individual while making sure that the other person feels secure in your relationship. And lastly, prioritize each other. Work, kids, friends, extended family are great but your partner in life comes first.
Disclaimer: This is a blog, not a professional advice. You can schedule an appointment with a therapist or counselor for your individual or couples’ needs. E-mail me for questions or to schedule a free consult. firstname.lastname@example.org