Relationships, By Ebele Peters,
A great relationship is not just something obtained on a platter. It is actually something that happens when both partners work consciously to make it stronger, safer, caring and of course with commitment. A relationship is like a refuge against the storms of the outside world. And like a house, it requires a good foundation to make it stand the test of time. You have to find ways to turn me, myself and I into a “we”.
So what really makes a relationship last, and last and last? Affection yes; respect, of course but a great relationship is much more than these. Some pointers below should help you and your partner create a relationship that will last a very, very long time, if not forever.
• Compromise, trust and unselfishness: This is paramount for any relationship to stand the test of time. If either of you is stubborn and insists on having their way all the time, you’ll both end up in tears or resentful of each other. It just as important that lies and deceptions are kept out of a relationship as much as possible, because once a precedent is set, it is very hard to build trust and every word or gesture is received with suspicion. It is just as important that both partners are considerate of each others feelings. A major deal breaker in lots of relationship stems from the fact that partners take each other for granted with the passage of time. This is very dangerous and paves the way for resentment to set in. This is particularly more prevalent among men who take their partners for granted under the misconception that she will stick with them through fire and brimstone. To avoid this, learn to say thank you and show appreciation both by saying it and through gestures. Don’t take it for granted that the responsibility of taking care of the home and the kids is hers alone. It is a partnership and should be shared by the couple in it as often as possible. Sometimes, it doesn’t require that you buy her an expensive gift or car to show that you appreciate everything she’s done for you, your actions such as helping out with her problems, taking the kids off her sometimes, and lending a listening ear or offering help to resolve a nagging problem bothering her, says a lot about how much you care.
• Lending a listening ear: It’s amazing how tense most men are after a hard days work. They have to contend with all sorts of issues ranging from providing for the home front to contending with an ever hostile environment outside. So the last thing they need when they get home is a nagging partner or a sullen face. More than anything else, the need a partner that can help them unwind, listen to their problems and hold an intelligent conversation that can help them resolve the external issues bothering them. If a man finds anything lacking at home or in a relationship, he’ll look for it elsewhere.
• Make the home front inviting: This is very important for women who want to ensure their partners come home and don’t seek alternatives outside. A clean and comforting environment, backed by a delicious meal, is very important to everyone. So if you want to be sure he comes home, make an effort to make your home inviting and his haven where your partner can escape to after the rat race outside. But if you decide to make the home front a war zone, don’t be shocked if your partner starts to spend more time anywhere else but home.
• Touchy, touchy, feely, feely: Even if there is no plan of it turning into a physical marathon, just touching your partner goes a long way in expressing how you feel about him or her. It’s amazing what a little rub on his head as you walk past him while he sits on the couch watching TV can do to your relationship. As you come into the kitchen, just brush her hand with yours as you walk past, or give her a pat on the bum. When both of you are relaxed watching a programme together or reading the papers, lean against each other, rest your head or feet on her thighs or vice versa. Even while outside, when having an animated conversation don’t be shy to touch his/her arm to make a point; and when walking together, it the mood catches you hold hands. And don’t forget, if either of you is tired, don’t hesitate to offer a rub down or massage. It may or may not lead to a wrestle in the sack, but the fact that either of you has offered to help ease stress by giving a massage shows that you care. These little gestures say a lot about the relationship. For one, it means you’re both comfortable with each other, have a passionate physical chemistry and don’t find each other repulsive even when there’s tension in the air.
• Do something unusually nice for your partner: While she loosens her braids, ask her to show you how to do it and sit down to help out even if it means you have to remain on one string of braid until she has finished loosening the rest of the braids. The fact you are doing a thing like that for her, says a lot about your feelings and your desire to spend time with her doing things that may be considered inconsequential. Alternatively, women that are adept at using razors can help their partners shave. It is an intimate and sexy gesture, and signifies that you trust each others implicitly, because trust me, no man who has doubts about his partner will allow her near his throat with a razor.
• Being too serious could be a problem on its own sometimes. I mean, if you can’t crack a joke or two with your partner, or if you can’t tease each other from time to time without being hyper-sensitive, then who else can you do these with? The stress of the outside world alone is enough to drive one crazy, so why bring it home with you? Learn to laugh and play with your partner. Laugh at their jokes and make them know you are there for company. Our mothers always said that the best lovers always start out as best friends.
• Be there for your partner through thick or thin: The only permanent thing in life is change. This is so even in your relationships. It never can be rosy day in day out and challenges must be faced. It could come from your work place, or your business. Sometimes, immediate or external families could pose challenges, and even your partner could be the ones to trigger off difficulties. Remain loyal and unselfish. Make your shoulders available to cry on and your ears wide open to listen. The pains would be greatest if you of all people along with others, desert them when they need you most.
• Always include, or better still try as much as possible to include your partner in your schedule. Agreed these schedules are important, but what could be more important than your relationship? You have the right to choose, and if you choose to still have a functional relationship, then you have to fit them in as well as a matter of priority. Your partner should also be supportive and understanding about schedule as well. Your business is very important, yes. But remember that your partner is your business as well.
• Be very understanding. After all you will not kill your own child because they are naughty. In the same vein, you should try not to get rid of your partner because they do not meet up to your expectations. Try to understand they are humans just like you, and what you think of them matters most to them. You would be very surprised what people would tell you if you gave them the chance to say what they honestly felt about you. In other words, no one is perfect. If it’s a problem that can be resolved or a habit/trait that can be worked on, both of you should work at doing away with the trait that causes friction.
• Your partner should take centre stage in your life. Not your external family, nor your work colleagues, because if you could just take a moment to sit down and think of it, when your mum and dad decide to face their own relationship in old age or pass on, and when your friends find new acquaintances, it is your partner who remains there for you as a pillar. Always remember that.
• Granted that the economy is very tight now. What, with prices of almost everything hitting the rooftops. As such, most of us try to be very careful with how we spend money. But my friend, something as small as dinner in that restaurant next door just for the two of you, that simple box of chocolate or cologne on their birthday, or your anniversary, or even just because you thought of them, goes a long way to show them you care.
In what ever you do especially when it comes to your relationship, try to put in a little effort. It does not have to be riches and joy all the time, but if you just tried then you would understand that a relationship worth keeping is one worth working on.