As human beings, we all desire to establish, develop and maintain loving relationship with those whom we care about. Most of us especially desire a love relationship, someone with whom to share our lives and grow old. It is arguable that on one really wants to die alone. But if this is so, then why are U.S divorce rates so high?
Many factors can account for why people split up such as early marriage, financial problems, infidelity, drug and alcohol addiction and abuse just to name a few. But, no one enters into a marriage with the intention of divorce so what goes wrong?
In order to maintain a love relationship over time, the bottom line is that each person in the marriage has a certain obligation and responsibility to practice emotional maturity and personal responsibility for their feelings, dreams and aspirations. Here are five key things to keep in mind if you want to keep that love relationship alive and well for decades.
Five ways to improve your love relationship
1. Be honest with yourself about who you really are, not who you think you should be or your spouse wants you to be. We can all only keep up a charade for so long, and then the dark side of us exposes itself at the worst possible moment.
Most of the time we deny to our conscious self that we do have a dark side in which we don’t always act in way we’d like. We confuse who we think we are with who we really are, a living human being with a complete range of powerful emotions that we’ve learned are not safe to express, especially the vulnerable or dark ones.
If we can’t accept that we are humans and are imperfect, how can we expect our spouse to do so? As long as we wear the mask of happy at the expense of embracing our pain and fear, an underlying anger and resentment will grow and grow until it finally rears its ugly head or we stuff it inside and become a victim. We begin the death march of projection of our anger, disappointment and depression onto our spouse. Somehow it makes sense to blame them. The result of this is an emotional distancing that is unhealthy and painful for both partners.
Understanding our own responsibility to be honest with who we are, what our aspirations are, what our fears are and what our joys are gives us permission and courage to ask for what we need it the love relationship.
2. Make time for the love relationship
This has been said many times, many ways and it bears repeating here. As time goes by and real life begins to creep into your loving world, it is important to remember why you got married in the first place and it is equally important to remember why you were attracted to your lover in the first place. All of the qualities that put butterflies in you stomach and passion in your heart in the early days of the relationship, still exist. However, life doesn’t stand still just because we are in love. No, the sun still rises every morning, the darkness comes and the bills have to be paid.
The importance of scheduled time together cannot be overstated. As you and your spouse grow, so too, will your love relationship. It will grow and change as you do and if you do not establish a deep respect and friendship with each other, your love relationship will suffer. Be creative about together time. Take turns planning your special time together, surprise each other, have fun, create adventures and make a point to create memorable moments. This is as easy as consciously being present in the simplest of moments. When you are fully present to your love, the meaning will be memorable.
3. Be compassionate
Over time, it become very easy to take our love relationship and our partner for granted, in actuality, we begin to consider them as an extension or ourselves and this, too, is a deadly mistake. While the two of you may have joined together as “one” in marriage, there are still two distinct personalities that have dreams and goals. Eventually the day will come when we find ourselves being harsh and judgemental toward the one we love the most. Other times we find ourselves speaking to our love in a way in which we would never speak to another person. At times like these, remember that how we speak to our spouse or others who are close to us, is actually a reflection of how we speak to ourselves in our minds through a process of negative internal dialog. This is a reminder to us to stop and show compassion both to ourselves and to our love and our loving relationship.
4. Be committed
A love relationship is above all a commitment that we make not only to our lover, but to ourselves. We are best served by understanding that a commitment is not just a promise and a powerful intention, it is our integrity. Personal integrity is separate from moral or ethical integrity an responsibility. It is a promise we make to ourselves, an internal standard of the way we will live our lives. Many moments will come and go that will test the integrity of both partners, but an acknowledgment of our own code of conduct and what is in our own integrity can serve as a powerful anchor to steady us to our commitment when challenging times befall us.
5. Be Positive
It’s human nature, for some unknown reason, to look for what is wrong instead of looking for what is right. This is a habit that is a must in a loving relationship. We find what we look for, so if we look for what is going wrong, or what we think is wrong about our spouse, we are sure to find it. On the other hand, if we look for what is right, we will surely find that as well.
In moments of frustration, asking this question, am I looking for what is right or what is wrong, can bring some much needed positive energy to any situation. There is no flaw in another that we can recognize that does not, in fact, dwell within us. The old saying “You spot it, you got it” is trite but true. We cannot identify what is wrong with someone else if it didn’t exist is us. If not, how would we know it exists? How would be be able to spot it in another? And likewise with looking for what is right. We possess those qualities too, for again, if not, we would never be able to recognize them in our lover or the loving relationship.
There is nothing like being in love, but nothing endures like a truly loving relationship that is built on honesty, integrity, compassion, commitment and a true respect for the greater support structure being built. These qualities are the bedrock of any loving relationship that will be with you for the rest of your life, in good times and bad, in sickness and health until death parts you briefly.