Even though I have been married for over 25 years and have two adult daughters, I am not an expert on marriage or relationships; but the experience does enable me to help others with their family related relationships.
There are 5 important things to remember and learn as you grow old together. They may be the key to a happy, healthy, loved-filled and successful long term relationship or marriage!
1. Don’t try to change each other. If you are starting to change to make your partner happy, you are really losing your authentic self. Stay true to yourself and the love you share will grow stronger.
2. Recognize you are two individuals who have decided to share their lives. Respect the things you have in common and the differences. It is alright to have two different opinions and at times there will need to be negotiation. This ultimately brings you to a shared ground which represents a part of each of you.
3. Communication and listening are the cornerstone to a successful relationship. This is one of the most challenging areas as we are either a good listener or a good communicator; it is hard to be both. Awareness of which one you are weaker in means you need to challenge yourself to practice that particular skill.
In all personal and also professional relationships, good communication and listening can make all the difference. We all want to feel heard; so it is important to not interrupt when someone is talking. Communicating your true feelings helps you feel lighter and can also let your partner know exactly how you feel about a situation.
4. Trust in yourself no matter who or what temps you. Remember, nothing happens unless we allow it to happen! There is always a choice; so ask yourself, “What is the consequence?”
Ultimately, it comes down to your beliefs and it is important to communicate those beliefs to your partner before getting too involved. Make sure that you both have the same values, as this will make it easier to trust each other.
5. Self-love comes first before you can share unconditional love with others. What does it mean to say that we “love” someone? It should mean that our feelings are open and honest, with no strings attached. We are freely giving and receiving love. When in a relationship, we unconditionally accept the other person for who they are. There is no judgement, pointing a finger of blame or bring up the past.
A healthy relationship needs to stay in the here and now. Complement, encourage and learn from one another. It is about supporting and being there for each other. After 27+ years in a long term relationship, I realize that I am a real person; both making decisions for myself and then with my partner. Even after so many years I still need to practice trusting, communicating, listening and unconditionally letting my partner be who they truly are. As a couple, we must never give up on each other. It is important to enjoy what today can bring in order to dream of tomorrow.
Relationships evolve and change as the individuals involved are constantly learning and growing. So if you are starting a new relationship, are in an existing one or taking the next big step (marriage), practice these five lessons. Live, love, and laugh; for now and always!
Author: Cynthia Barnesky