With the New Year, right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to discuss what makes a relationship happy and healthy. It does seem like the further we look, the harder it is to find couples who are in strong, healthy relationships, but do not fear because they do exist.
Perhaps your marriage failed and you're divorced, just know that doesn’t preclude you from having another marriage that will last and bring you long-time happiness. In fact, if you took the time to figure out what went wrong the first time around, your chances are improved that you can and will succeed the next time around.
I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy New Year! And, may you all be blessed in love!!!
Below is some sound advice I found online from James Michael Sama that I am copying below. It’s definitely worth the read. It’s titled:
16 Secrets Of Couples With The Strongest Relationships
1. Arguments are natural and don’t end it all.
Strong couples understand that if you’ve got a house and a light bulb goes out, you fix the light bulb – you don’t sell the entire house. Just because you have arguments or fights doesn’t mean the demise of the relationship. You can disagree with someone and still be in love with them. Just make sure to never be insulting and understand that if you fight all the time, it is a red flag.
2. You can’t overstate how much you love someone.
If you love him or her with the intensity that you need to in order to spend a lifetime together – make sure he or she knows it. Hearing ‘I love you’ never gets old. As an added bonus, it helps eliminate any insecurities or doubts because you are keeping your partner confident about your feelings.
3. Your family is their family, and vice versa.
Family is an important part of any relationship. If you don’t think so – just imagine the tension present if you are with someone who your parents/aunt/uncle/friends/brother/sister openly dislike.
While it is unrealistic to expect everyone will always get along and like each other, it is important to put in the effort to treat his or her family as your own.
4. Keep your private life private.
It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds of scrolling through Facebook to spot more than one person’s relationship issues. When you start inviting the public into your relationship, it no longer becomes your relationship. Sure, share your fun dates, post goofy photos together, enjoy yourself – but make sure you draw the line where necessary.
5. Don’t let things get stale.
Particularly in longer-term relationships, it is natural to fall into a routine with someone. This is why it is important to stay spontaneous and keep the fire burning. Plan a date night, get in the car and pick a town for a weekend away, surprise him or her with tickets to that concert they’ve wanted to go to. Nobody wants to be in a mundane relationship forever.
6. Be punctual.
Just because you’re not picking someone up for dates anymore doesn’t mean you can be late. If you’re going to a party or event together, do your best to be ready when you both plan to leave. If someone is waiting around for you and getting impatient because you’re going to be late to something that’s important to them, it can cause unnecessary tension during an evening that’s supposed to be fun for you both.
7. Pick up the slack when your partner is overwhelmed.
Life can get busy, work can be stressful, and people can get overwhelmed. This is why it’s important to blur the lines of ‘gender roles’ in a relationship. Doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen are not roles for a woman – they are necessary household chores, and it is important that both share the responsibilities.
If your significant other who usually does a certain type of chore or errand is feeling stressed, step in and take care of it.
8. Take care of your partner when they are sick.
Nobody wants to get sick and nobody enjoys it – but being in a relationship is not just about being there when things are great, it’s also about stepping in to do what it takes when things are not great. Cancel your dinner plans, go to the store for more medicine, and do whatever it takes to make him or her feel better.
Don’t have an attitude about it either, nobody likes to feel like they are a burden on their significant other – if you are going to grow into old age beside this person, you’ll need to know they are willing to take care of you when they have to.
9. Don’t stop doing the little things.
If you are checking out at the store and their favorite candy is on the shelf, grab some of it. Bring home flowers randomly. Plan a date night. The small things you do for someone randomly are what count the most, because it shows you don’t need a holiday or special occasion to do something nice. You just do it because you’re in love.
10. Ask how your partner’s day was.
We all need to vent sometimes. Regardless of if we had a stressful day, are feeling unappreciated at work, or have some exciting news to share – being able to open up to your significant other about the details is comforting, and openly welcoming the discussion shows him or her that you are genuinely interested in their day.
Just because you have been together for awhile doesn’t mean you should care any less about seemingly routine things – just the opposite.
Most importantly, do not ask out of obligation, ask out of genuine interest. Really listen, absorb, and respond.
11. Understand the value of compromise.
You may not always want to do what your partner wants. That work party is pretty lame every year. You really don’t care for the band you just got concert tickets for. You’d rather be doing anything else besides this double date with their rowdy friends – but, you do it with a smile on your face anyway, because it is important to your partner and you know they would do it for you in return.
Plus, isn’t who you’re with more important than what you’re doing?
12. Know when to let things slide.
Before you bring up something small that bothers you, ask yourself if the potential argument that could arise is really worth eliminating something that is nothing more than a nuisance.
13. Do not let the intimacy fade.
Romance should not fade after the ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship, it should increase over time as your partner becomes a bigger, more important part of your life.
Both physical and emotional intimacy are cornerstones of a strong relationship. These are things we can’t lose sight of.
14. Give your partner your undivided attention.
This is a new problem facing our generation. Our parents and grandparents didn’t sit on the couch in silence on their smartphones, they interacted with each other. They spent quality time together. They really absorbed each other’s presence. Technology is a highly effective tool for streamlining our life and staying in touch when we are not together, but if we want to build a deep connection with someone, we need to unplug when we are with them.
15. Share new experiences together.
Whether it be something as simple as watching a movie neither of you has seen, or something as extreme as skydiving for the first time together [not that I have ever done that], I have always found value in sharing new experiences with someone. Particularly in a relationship, this is something that your girlfriend or boyfriend has never seen, heard, or felt before. Both of your minds are being opened to something new and unique for the very first time – together.
16. Value your alone time.
Even when you have jobs, friends, families, obligations, children, in-laws, and all of the busyness that comes along with a full life, one thing will always remain true: Your relationship is at the epicenter of this rotating universe you have created.
To lose sight of the two people who make it all tick in the first place is to lose sight of your foundation, your reason, your “why” that you are together. It is to sacrifice the quality of your relationship to keep the well-oiled machine that is the rest of your life working. The problem here is that when you do slow down, you are too exhausted to really enjoy each other’s presence.
This is why it is important to make time for each other. Really connect. Don’t lose sight of what matters. You are two individuals with individual lives, but you have also made the commitment to be a single unit that takes on the world together. To be a team. To be partners in crime.
Value the commitments you have made above all else, and the rest will come together and stay together – just like the two of you will.
This blog is particularly helpful for women in understanding men in relationships.
I found the information below online from Bob Grant, a Professional Licensed Counselor. He is speaking in particular about men and the silent signals they send when the relationship is in big trouble. I think he is spot on and I thought this was worth sharing.
The Silent Signals Men Send When The Relationship Is In Trouble
by Bob Grant, L.P.C. - "The Relationship Doctor"
Most of the time a relationship is in trouble because of too much fighting.
Yet, a greater danger is when indifference starts creeping into the heart of a man. Even though anger can be destructive, it also means someone cares enough to get angry.
But what happens when a man doesn’t care enough to get angry? It is at this stage that he becomes silent and begins thinking whether he wants to stay in the relationship, or leave. As scary as that may seem, it also provides a window into his soul if you recognize these silent signals men send when their relationship is in trouble.
He NEVER disagrees with you
If you’ve been fighting with the man you love and he starts agreeing with you, it might feel wonderful; but beware: What is most likely happening is he’s simply avoiding the conflict. Wait and see if he follows through with his promise or alters his behavior. If he doesn’t, he’s simply avoiding you…and building up resentment.
He stops wanting to do anything with you in public
While some men love to just stay at home, most men develop closeness by shared experiences. Have you ever noticed how seldom guys like to simply talk on the phone with their friends? Instead they want to DO something.
When he stops wanting to do things with you in public, it’s often because he’s emotionally exhausted with the relationship and feels it’s too much effort.
He starts looking away
When he begins avoiding your gaze, it’s because he doesn’t feel safe emotionally. Either he’s hiding a secret from you or he is fearful of being emotionally flooded. It’s not that he doesn’t want to stay in the relationship; it’s that he doesn’t know what to say. Instead of turning to the woman he loves, he begins emotionally turning away from her.
Okay, so this is where Bob Grants information ends because he wants you to buy his book and if you are interested you can Google him and get that information.
I thought it was interesting enough to get the down low from a man who has been counseling couples for years. Although I do not know where his book goes from there, one thing I know from my own personal experience is that relationships have ebbs and flows that are perfectly natural and normal.
Drifting away is completely natural for a man, even if he’s in love with you. In fact, it often happens just as his feelings are deepening for you. Falling in love can make him feel vulnerable, so he’ll try to pull back in order to not lose himself.
He’ll come and go emotionally while he works out his feelings to be able to find his ability to go the distance in a real relationship.
But the crucial part: how we (women) handle things when a little bit of distance shows up can make all the difference in whether he comes back to you, or he goes and never really returns. All relationships will inevitably deal with distance. It’s different for men than it is for women. Women want to know that the man they’re involved with cares and will do anything for them, and though men ultimately want that too, they do not want to feel smothered. So for women, instead of being their “everything” try to just be his “anchor.”
First, you need to keep in mind that a man always pulls back a little, and when he does start pulling away give him some slack and lean back, because if you move toward him you eliminate the tension he needs in order to come back. You have to keep the tension going and keep his attachment to you strong.
We women have been taught the exact opposite. We’ve been taught to move forward when he steps back, but when we do that, we lose our anchor position and we give up our own power. When you lean back and learn how to be strong on the inside but soft on the outside, you strengthen your inner boundaries and even if he doesn’t bounce back to you, you will be strong enough to handle it.