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How to build loving relationships

When it comes to being in a relationship, we hope that we have found ‘the one’. We romanticise what a relationship could be like, based on movies, books and other media. We believe that once we meet ‘the one’ everything should fall into place and we should be well on the way to having a wonderful fulfilling relationship. However, relationships are seldom like movies. There are disagreements, expectations, and life events which prevent us from having that idealistic relationship. The reality is, the idealised relationship doesn’t exist. No relationship is perfect because we ourselves are not perfect. To expect that of a partner is unfair. ‘Where is my knight in shining armour? When will I be rescued, saved? Do you not see me?’ If you find yourself experiencing these thoughts it may be an indication that you may need to address your beliefs as these thoughts can lead to disappointment in your relationship and ultimately in your partner.

All hope is not lost. There are ways to ensure that your committed relationship is fulfilling, nurturing, kind and equal under any circumstances. Below are a few pointers to consider in any relationship to keep it healthy:

Sometimes people aren’t available
You cannot always be available to rescue your partner. Conversely, your partner too may not be able to help you when you ask for help. It is unrealistic to expect your partner to be always there for you. Both you and your partner are individuals with stressors, commitments and world views and at times your partner’s perspective may differ from your own. This is not an indication that on the whole your partner doesn’t support you, just that at times it may not work out the way you had expected it to. Circumstances may impede you from being there for your partner. For example, an elderly couple that I know of happened to be both in hospital on Xmas Day but in different wards and on different floors. They wanted to be together, but one could not visit the other without assistance. The hospital staff were marvelous in that they organised for the more mobile of the two to visit the other. Another impediment could be your own mental health which may hinder you from being fully present for your partner. Life events may also happen simultaneously and both of you may have to juggle and prioritise situations. In these circumstances, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness are some of the virtues that we may need to implement to weather the storm so to speak.

Your partner is who they are
Your partner has a certain style about them. Perhaps they are loud when they speak or like the dishwasher stacked double spaced. This is essentially who they are. If you attempt to change them, you will be wasting energy and time. You may also create resentment in your partner if you constantly point out their failings. You need to accept them as they are, warts and all!

Civility costs nothing
think about how nice we are to complete strangers. We politely answer, ‘Well thanks’ to the check-out operator’s question of ‘How are you today?’ At times we smile sweetly to strangers and are civil and then treat our own family without the same civility. Consider your interactions with your partner and decide to give them the same courtesy. Show appreciation with compliments and small talk so that your partner feels that they are important to you.

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