The first thing I would like to mention before getting into this article is that perfect relationships DO NOT exist, this isn’t a fairy tale, it’s real life and with that comes a lot of “real” feelings and events that may make you think your relationship is suffering but it isn’t, it’s just life, it’s natural and you’ll be able to be in a strong and successful relationship as soon as you realize nothing’s perfect (not even two people who think they’re perfect for each other). Simply put, relationships are not easy, relationships require a lot of effort from both sides at a constant rate. We aren’t talking about flings here, we are talking about emotions, purity, the need of the other person, a true and strong relationship. I was provoked to write this piece when a friend of mine came to me asking for help, he was going through a very minor fight with his girlfriend and he wanted to know if it’s normal, because they’d been together for over two years and he thought fights aren’t a normal part of relationships. Do you sometimes wonder if your relationship is suffering? Then continue reading on as I explain the 10 habits of a successful couple and these are the things you should already be doing, if not, start doing them for yourself and your partner. So sit back, relax, maybe grab a cub of your favorite coffee and let’s begin.
10. Love & cherish each other’s differences
Happiness in a relationship is achieved when you’re interdependent with each other, when you learn each other’s differences and cherish them for each and every one of those differences. As always, I’ll speak about myself here because I don’t like giving out general examples and I like being personal with you guys. Me and my lady, we are very happy together, but we do have an insane amount of differences. I, for one, watch a lot of TV shows that she just simply despises. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men etc. are just to name a few. We don’t have the same eye for colors either, I’ve studied Color Theory so whenever we go shopping, I start telling her why certain color would look good on her, but her taste in color is completely different, so I let her shop on her own grounds. These differences are why I actually love her so much, because she’s proud of her differences and I’m proud of her for not trying to change for me.
I guess we are at a point where we don’t really have to say it, that comfortable silence is insanely hard to achieve with someone. We know just how crazy we both are and we love each other for it. You should NEVER try changing yourself for anyone, find someone who loves you for how they found you and not what they can mold you into.
9. Check with yourself before “assuming”
Ever notice how the word “assuming” starts off with “ass”? That’s because you immediately become an “ass” if you assume too much without giving it any reasonable justification. Assumptions are very harmful for every relationship because they act like a slow-acting poison, they start off being harmless but they slowly damage the relationship from its core and finally get strong enough to cause major issues between you and your partner. Your partner hasn’t been in your shoes, they can’t really know the pain you’ve suffered in the past (even though they try to), they can’t empathize with you on your past because you’re the one who suffered it all. I’ll try explaining this better with an example.
You all know I went through a very difficult past, so it’s safe to say that I’m a little too sensitive about some things that my girlfriend would deal very normally with. Now what do I do in these situations? Do I start assuming that my girlfriend doesn’t have any feelings? Do I assume that she can’t “feel for me”? Or, if we kick it up a notch, do I start assuming that she doesn’t truly love me because she can’t be sensitive about the things I’m sensitive about? No, just NO! I know she isn’t sensitive about certain things that I take a little too seriously because she never went through that pain, so I can’t burden her with the weights of my past and I need to learn that she thinks the same way about certain things too. Assumptions are bad, give each other enough room to breathe if you trust them enough and don’t assume.
8. Know they’re not mind readers
Most movies and TV shows have made this “mind reading” thing pretty famous, the very untrue fact that people in relationships can read each other’s minds, they can’t. We are all human, we have mood swings, we have happy moments, we have sad moments, and sometimes they only take split seconds to change, it’s not humanly possible for anyone (no matter how close they are to you) to always know what you’re feeling at that specific moment, and that’s where the need to communicate properly comes in. Yes, sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes the feelings are just so overpowering that our faces show them before we can say them, and hence our partners know something’s wrong, but most of the time we expect them (wrongfully) to just know if something’s wrong with us without us saying it. Don’t think like that, because it’s not normal. If something’s bothering you, tell them, don’t always expect them to be your resident psychic.
For example, if I’m feeling bad about something and my girlfriend is in a happy mood. I NEVER expect her to just know something’s wrong with me, this is different in my case since I’m a very emotional person and if something’s bothering me, it just very clearly shows up on my face, and she understands something’s wrong. But for people who have a little more control over their emotions, it’s harder to tell if something’s wrong and that’s when you need to say it instead of expecting them to magically know it and then later get angry at them for not knowing something they never knew in the first place.
7. Try being in each other’s shoes
Time and again, you need to try stepping in each other’s shoes to really feel what’s going on. The key to every happy and strong relationship is being interdependent on each other, and this helps A LOT in that case. I was about to receive a very important business call, something that was very life-changing for me, my girlfriend went blank for a second and then started prepping me for the talk all of a sudden. After the call was done, I asked her why she went blank, and she said “I started imagining myself in that situation and I started thinking of ways to prepare myself and started feeling the pressure”, now wasn’t that sweet? This isn’t that hard to do either, it’s not going to kill you to try experiencing what they’re going through, just put yourself in their position and you’ll know what to do and how to handle the situation. That’s how strong relationships stay strong and survive.
6. Know the importance of personal growth
People in strong and healthy relationships know the importance of personal growth. They’re your significant other, you share a life with them, it’s very scary and very sweet at the same time and it’s very rewarding when you work on each other. Try your best, more than your best, to make each other grow, to help each other become stronger, to enhance each others’ way of life. Support your significant other in their struggles and hardships, always be there for them when they feel like they’re not going anywhere and tell them why they are okay and don’t need to be scared of anything.
I myself used to be someone who just wouldn’t let go of the past, not past relationships but the past I suffered because of my dad. So my girlfriend tried her best to make me stop thinking about my horrible past whenever anything remotely bad starts to happen, because I had a habit of doing that. I used to instantly start thinking about my dad as soon as any bad situation came up, and she finally brought me out of that dark place. Now I just face my problems head on without blaming my dad or my past, because everything happens for a reason. So play your part strongly in each others’ lives.
5. If you’re going to assume, assume the best
Like I said in the 9th part of this article, assumptions are a big no no, but they’re actually quite healthy if you always assume the best of intentions. Life isn’t easy, it makes us go through a lot of challenging situations, especially when we are in a relationship with someone, so in bad situations, it’s always safe to assume that your SO meant the best of intentions and don’t assume the worst. Great couples overcome a lot of challenging scenarios by making a habit out of assuming the best. This point might seem weak to some people but it’s funny how this one thing can lead to a lot of negativity.
Here’s an example, so I planned to go out on a date with my girlfriend and she canceled it last minute. Now here’s what I would assume if I’m assuming the worst:
- Is she too busy for me?
- Does she not love me anymore?
- Is she seeing someone else/cheating on me?
And the list gets worse and worse as we go on. But I assume the best, I knew she would never do anything to intentionally hurt me so I just stayed patient and waited for her to say something. Hardly five minutes later, she told me her mother had to go shopping with her and she couldn’t say no. And she wasn’t lying about that either. See, assuming the best always saves you from a lot of painful and socially awkward situations, always assume the best if you trust them with everything you have.
4. Maintain a strong rapport
You need to be a person who makes their partner believe that they understand them. A strong rapport is very important in healthy relationships, the comfortable silence that I talk about a lot is also a part of this. If you make a mistake and it hurts your partner, make sure you let them know that you understand why they’re hurt and why you’re sorry for making them feel that way. Here’s an example from my own life:
So I overslept a little too much one day and I was supposed to meet my girlfriend and her friends for a hang out she had been planning for weeks, so I showed up very late. I knew how hurt she was because of my tardiness and she still said “it’s okay”. So I openly told her, I told her it was completely my fault, I told her it’s not easy to arrange a hang out with eleven different people who live at different parts of the city and it’s definitely not easy to arrange everything, I told her I understand her pain and I apologized. The smile that was on her face after I said all of those things was just priceless, because she knew I know what she felt, and achieving that state of mind is very difficult but also very rewarding. It’s all about being selfless and knowing how your actions affect others and owning up to those actions.
3. Know how and when to reconnect
Strong couples always come out of fights stronger than ever, they don’t let fights and arguments create any gaps or distances between each other. The key is to remember exactly why you love them so much, even if your mind is telling you to hate them during an argument, fight the need to keep being angry and just think of all the good times and happy moments, this always works for me when I’m having an argument with my girlfriend. We recently had sort of a big fight, it went on for a good half hour, then we both went to sleep (or tried to).
It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to sleep when I know she’s sad and she knows I’m sad too, so after like ten minutes, I called her up. She was crying, she knew the argument would end up harming us to we told each other how much we loved each other and forgot the fight. It’s that simple. Do NOT let arguments (no matter how big or small) create any distance between you two, fix issues quickly and know when to reconnect. Don’t always wait for the other person to start talking first, do it yourself, if you know them and you trust them completely, you probably know how much pain they’re in simply by knowing how much pain you’re in.
2. Properly nurture the relationship
People in healthy relationships always take enough time out of their busy schedules to nurture each other and hence they nurture their relationships. A strong relationship is like any good car, it’ll give you an awesome mileage and won’t have any breakdowns as long as you keep it maintained and taken care of, what happens if you stop the tune ups and monthly checkups? Eventually, the car (which was awesome at first) starts showing signs of problems, and if you keep ignoring those signs, it’ll eventually break down when you most need it. So keep your relationship in check, always take the time out for the betterment and health of your relationship, like I’ve said many times before, “We are all busy, it’s all about priorities”. So your relationship needs to be high up that priority list, no matter how busy you are.
I, myself, am quite a busy person, but I make it seem like my business is a walk in the park when I meet my girlfriend. Now of course she knows it’s not a walk in the park and she keeps asking me to make sure my work isn’t suffering, but I always tell her this one line that just makes her smile:
“As long as my relationship is healthy, as long as you’re happy, I’ll keep succeeding in life, so don’t worry”,
That was true word for word and it works because knowing that my girlfriend is happy with me is important to me. It fills me up with a lot of positive energy that directly impacts my work. So take out the time, it’ll be worth it.
1. Make it work, no matter what
You know how healthy and strong couples stay together for longer than the usual people? People they make it work, no matter what. They know what they asked for, they know relationships aren’t easy, they know they are going to be responsible for each others’ lives and happiness and everything else that comes along with it, they just never quit. Life is going to throw a lot of problems at you, what are you going to do? Leave them and run away or face them head on and conquer them? Do not give up on your relationship, it’s a constant struggle but it’s worth every second of it.
Be realistic about things, understand that you will argue a lot (every normal couple does), understand that you probably won’t agree on a lot of things, understand that you might hate each other during the fights, but also understand how much you love them and why you chose to be with them and never forget. [RelRules]