A tough truth about relationships is that love alone is not enough. In the throes of the fiery passion of infatuation, couples feel like they can overcome anything together. But as your relationship settles into the monotony of everyday life, days become weeks which become years, and the greatest challenge you may have is actually each other. The prickly parts of each other’s personality can rub up against each other in just the wrong way. But learning to look at your relationship with a positive bias and apply a select toolkit of values and perceptions means that you can have not only the love, but also the wisdom to build a solid relationship that can weather the storms, continue to grow and be the source of your greatest joy.
So what is the love advice you need to create your best life together? Here are a few genuine things you should know;
Love is a verb
Realizing from the outset that relationships require work, hard work, is the basic starting point. It’s not a fairytale, but it’s your story – your love story. And that’s what makes it magical. Approaching love as a verb, put in the effort and don’t be surprised when it’s not all smooth sailing. Do the work and reap the reward; back your love with your choices and do the deeds that need doing. Action really does speak louder than words.
In a fight, there are no winners
There are two vital things to know about fighting in relationships. Firstly, it is normal to fight and fight you will. Secondly, when you fight in a relationship, you both lose. Let go of winning, of being right, of proving a point, and choose rather to focus on really understanding and listening. Keeping your connection is more valuable for your well-being than trying to inflate your ego by outsmarting your partner. Understanding each other’s experience is more important than who is right or wrong. Try using ‘I’ messages, instead of ‘you’, to lower the levels of confrontation.
Give a little respect & a little appreciation
In a long-term relationship, an easy trap to fall into is to take your partner for granted. Remind yourself what you admire about them. Don’t push their boundaries; understand that they are an entirely separate and different individual to yourself. Give your partner the space and appreciation for what they bring to your life, and show respect by taking their wishes, values and ideas into consideration. A little respect and appreciation will go a long way.
Two halves don’t make a whole
In romantic rhetoric, there is this idea of finding your missing half in a partner. However, an honest piece of love advice is that the best way to create a healthy relationship is to create a healthy relationship with yourself. Your partner can’t complete the missing parts of your own insecurity. Only you can fill that space, and relying on another person to make you feel complete can lead to a co-dependent relationship, creates too much expectation and is a heavy burden for a relationship to carry.
The Little things matter
A lasting relationship is made up of a million little moments. Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can attest to the fact that the real bricks and mortar of living with someone and loving someone is actually about taking the rubbish out, making dinner, putting on a load of washing, a quick kiss in between dropping the kids off. Real romance doesn’t only reside in grand gestures, but rather in loving in the mundane and the minutia. So pick your towel off the floor, remember to buy milk on the way home (and sometimes throw in a bunch of flowers), and make the effort. It will make your partner feel loved on an authentic and meaningful level.