How to have a Good Relationship
It is tempting to compare our relationships to others; perhaps this couple seems to go out more, or that couple is more loving in public, or perhaps they seem to disagree less. It is important to realise that all couples are different, because it is a coming together of two unique individuals to form a unique relationship. So, measure yourself against your own expectations and needs - not those of others.
Often, when a relationship starts, its fun; the sun always seems to be shining, and you enjoy each other’s company. Slowly and surely, however, reality creeps in, and you are in that area of a relationship which is about sustaining it for the long term. There will be good times and bad. The marriage service talks of sickness and health, and it could be as easily applied to the relationship as an individual.
So, what is the secret of staying together? What can you do to sustain and grow your relationship?
One of the first things to happen is that you stop doing things together. You talk less, you go on fewer dates...in short, you spend less time together while pursuing other interests, such as friends etc. This is quite normal - however spending time together, talking, having shared experiences, talking about dreams and fears...these all help to cement that intimate relationship that you have. So, continue to make dates; perhaps you could go out once a month?
They say never go to bed angry. I’m not sure how realistic that is - yet there is something of a sliver of truth in it. Essentially, it is saying "do not let disagreements fester". Talk about the issues, say how they make you feel. The longer you leave it the more jugular the issue will become. Sure, you can choose not to talk about it...but don’t mistake avoiding the issue for resolving it. Often issues can hide away for years, essentially poisoning the relationship, only to one day leap out and surprise you with the anger behind them. Talk about, it however hard it might be.
It can be easy to fall into a rut, especially as life takes over; there is the housework, or children, or elderly parents, and so on that seem to take over our lives until we get to the stage where we're saying “Its Tuesday so I must be…”. Occasionally break the mould. Go and do something different together: see a movie, or go for a walk - anything a bit out of the ordinary.
Don’t forget to be intimate with each other. By that, I am not necessarily talking about sex. While that is an important part of your physical relationship, it is also only part of the story. Studies have shown how touch boosts the body's levels of feel-good chemicals, so hold hands, snuggle up together on the sofa...back rubs and hugs all help cement the relationship and the keep physical intimacy alive.
Finally, don’t be scared of asking for help if your relationship seems to be in trouble. Many couples go to relationship counselling every year, and, rather than an admission of failure (of the relationship), it is a very powerful statement that the relationship is worth saving and worth investing in.
Work at it every day and you will be rewarded with a more healthy and happy relationship.