Relationships are hard work. They can be stressful and, at times, drive you nuts. Thousands of people write to newspapers and magazines daily seeking relationship advice. Television “gurus,” therapists and self-help books have made a multi-million dollar business out of couples’ desire to make their relationship work. When it comes to relationship advice, we can all dole it out, but find it much harder to follow it ourselves. In the midst of a relationship, logic can yield to emotion, and composure to frustration. This article offers 5 time-tested rules that are necessary for every relationship to work. While these rules are by no means ground-breaking, their absence can lead to some of the more common problems in relationships…
The golden rule of all relationships. For some reason, many couples find this hardest to do. Men are more likely to be guilty of not being good communicators, but some women are just as bad. The main reasons men don’t like to talk about a relationship:
- You have to talk about how you feel.
- You have to admit something may be wrong.
- You feel like you are being questioned, judged, or nagged.
- In dealing with life’s issues, you prefer to find solutions to problems, not sit there and talk about them.
The problem is that relationships are not like jobs, so you can’t deal with them as such. There are two people involved in a relationship and the best way for them to be together is to work at it together. If you want to make your relationship less stressful, then make the effort to get over your fear of “the talk.” Take the time to sit down and evaluate things. Make sure your partner is on the same wavelength as you. Talking through issues is healthy and can avoid many problems further down the road.
2. Quid Pro Quo
If you want to be treated with respect, then treat your partner with respect. If you want to get your way, then give a little bit too. However, don’t turn your relationship into a balance sheet. If you are doing nice things only in order to get something in return, then you will put unnecessary expectations on your partner. At the same time, if you are always the one making the sacrifices while being handed the proverbial short end of the stick, then it is okay to speak up about this. Don’t be unrealistic with your demands and expectations. Let your girlfriend know that you care about her, but feel that you may not be getting treated the way you feel that you deserve.
Caveat: do not ever list off all the things you have done for her. All your acts of kindness will be washed away in a heartbeat.
3. Learn To Forgive
When it comes to friends, most of us hold a really high threshold for insult. Friends can break promises, sell out or bail out, and we forgive them instantly. Yet, when it comes to relationships, we hold a more stringent standard. We tend to become stubborn. In relationships, it is important to realize that we are all human and we all make mistakes. If your girlfriend makes a mistake – if she’s late, forgets something important, loses her patience with you – then forgive her. As long as she’s sorry and doesn’t do it to spite you, you should try to be the bigger person and let things slide. Try not to fret the small things in a relationship. Don’t count each other’s mistakes or nag constantly about something the other person does wrong.
4. Give Compliments
Most people love to hear nice things about themselves, but find it hard to give compliments. Compliments are very important in every relationship. We can get so caught up in the problems, quarrels and complaints of a relationship, that the relationship can easily become engulfed in a negative cloud. The best way to get past this is to say nice things about your partner. Compliments from a loved one have a lot more meaning than from a stranger. If your partner does something nice for you, then acknowledge it. If they accomplish something in life, big or small, then commend them for it. Most importantly, compliment them on their looks. Many (insecure) people in relationships tend to fallaciously think that if they say their partner is handsome or beautiful, the other person will think they are better and run off with someone else. Complimenting your girlfriend won’t make her run away (hopefully), but putting her down probably will. Say a nice thing or two about her. It may take a little bit of effort on your part, but it will make her day for sure.
5. Don’t Try To Change Each Other
If you start dating someone hoping their annoying habits or history of questionable behaviour will disappear thanks to you, then you are extremely delusional and headed for relationship disaster. Change does happen in a relationship. However, people should change, grow and mature on their own, with the relationship. They shouldn’t be forced, blackmailed or emotionally coerced to change. If you are in a relationship with someone, there should be things you admire, respect and love about them. Before getting seriously involved, you should take note of the good and bad. If the good far outweighs the bad, then you must also be willing to overlook the bad. Do not try to make it your life’s mission to exorcise their negative traits. At the same time, this doesn’t mean you or your partner should be taking a “take me as I am, haters gon’ hate,” approach to a relationship. If certain habits or actions are causing problems in the relationship, you two should be able to talk about them and work through them. Be understanding and remind them of the good things you admire about them. Let them know how that particular behaviour may be causing problems. However, don’t nag or harass them about it. At the same time, acknowledge when they point something out that you do incorrectly. Ultimately, following the golden rule of communication will accomplish more than a self-righteous, fanatical attempt to change someone.