The Vital Ingredients of a Long-lasting Relationship
Heralding the 3rd year of my happy relationship, friends have started to wonder what it is that’s made the loveliest lady in my life and I stick together for so long. Laden perilously with the notorious couple-breaking days of the army for me and varsity life for her amongst many other things, buddies have told me that I don’t even seem to try, and yet couples around me who seem to put in twice the effort that I do are falling apart. What a conundrum!
An average person dates seriously 4 times before settling down into a marriage and family (that average applies to those who eventually do) and I guess it’s people like me who really keep that figure to such a low one in our modern world of non-commitment. Believe it or not, it’s my first relationship and sometimes I cannot help but feel really lucky that all the important factors of maintaining a healthy relationship are in place for me. For those who are still cracking their heads about why they simply can’t keep a relationship running beyond the honeymoon period (I’m not talking about the players though), the key is really to ensure that the following things are in place, followed by consistent nudges in these positive directions:
Poor communication is the broad umbrella that encompasses the reasons why so many relationships, be they personal or impersonal (such as colleagues, friends, family members), turn out sour. The fact that two people as emotionally detached as colleagues can develop thorny relations due to miscommunication shows that when it comes to being a couple where emotions and feelings are much more deeply involved, any form of misunderstanding gets easily blown out of proportion. And boy, do the misunderstandings come! Because for very natural (and yet, at times, quizzically unnatural) reasons, being in a relationship often leads couples to hold higher expectations of one another and when these expectations are not met, things nosedive for the worse.
Positive communication also doesn’t mean you have to call each other every other half an hour when one of you isn’t in sight. I hardly call my girlfriend, which is a baffling trait about us that friends who must perform that nightly phone call ritual feel about.
You should develop consistent habits of finding time to talk to one another about the things that really matter. This may feel awkward to some, because such deep conversations means dwelling into the things within yourselves that you do not wish to so openly reveal (for pride or egotistical reasons sometimes), and oftentimes Asians are a shy lot. But bear in mind that such communications can go a long way towards being intimate not just on a physical level, as you are opening your heart to the one you love and trust.
And by the things that matter, I’m referring to concentrating and sharing your thoughts to one another about your relationship itself, as well as what you feel about your partner and yourself. These moments play an important and very helpful role in identifying problems before they occur. Do not be afraid to lay out the ‘dirty dishes’ on the table and trash them out, as this prevents a much bigger trashing at a much more uncalled- for time, which will end in much unhappiness.
Nonetheless, they also help you to understand more about your partner, as males and females behave in very different ways and very often, the way that females deal with themselves and males deal with themselves do not apply very successfully when subjected to the opposite gender. Good and meaningful communication also allows you to be more aware of how your partner behaves and what he or she wants and will thus allow you to better respond to him or her.
Never sweep those niggling feelings you have about your relationship or your partner under the carpet, as these elements of unhappiness always build up exponentially and explode. This happens to be a very fatal error committed by many couples that do not last long together.
In a lasting relationship, you have to be spontaneous and also be natural about it. Many couples overdo all kinds of crazy stuff during their non-steady courtship days and in the earlier part of their relationship such that the flame fizzles out sooner than they know it.
Very often, these are over-extravagant gestures and some of them cost a bomb to materialise. All it takes is some creativity, effort and lots of genuine heart. Prepare occasional gifts for your significant other and bring him or her cut to interesting settings. Candlelight dinners and flower- bouquets are good tor typical romance on Valentine’s, but can also try picnics at big rural garden or park areas, preparing an al fresco lunch at your house’s balcony (if you’re rich enough to have one) or creating a new song and singing it just tor him or her.
Early before our 2nd Valentine’s Day, I made a paper heart which had a note on and learnt some magic coin tricks. Next to the river at the Black Angus along Fullerton’s, just pretended to be showing off some newly- acquired magic tricks to my girlfriend (albeit quite clumsily!) and suddenly ‘transformed’ one of the coins into the paper heart, which presented to her. That works and personally, do believe it’s worth more than that bouquet of flowers (valued at S50 in cash but zero on thought and heart!) And she often writes really sweet notes to me that I can stick around in common things such as my wallet: which allows affection to be manifested in all the small, daily things and act as ‘reminders’ of her love for me.
Rekindle your love flames spontaneously. Ultimately, you’ve got to be natural about it, want to do it and enjoy doing it too, as obligations get things started but bear no enthusiasm. If you can keep each other interested in such fashion, your honeymoon period will never end.
Side note and tip for the guys: Presentation really counts when it comes to gifts and such. You can get her a 24-karat diamond ring and it’d be worth nothing it you said, ‘eh. na. ring for you. * But you can get her a radio and it’d be worth a million it said, “whenever a love song plays, it’s a love song dedicated from me to you.” Haha of course I’m trying hard to believe in a fairy-tale-like manner sometimes that most girls will still reject the diamond ring on such unmaterialistic grounds.
A vital factor in keeping a relationship strong is physical contact. In a very layman, now-chart-esque concept of the reasons why this is so, it is because touch leads to bonding, and bonding leads to love. Of course this doesn’t much and isn’t true, in its raw equation: which is also why guys hitting on girls at bars fancy an idealistic, almost utopian pick-up line, such ‘”you’re a lady and I’m a guy and we both know what this is gonna lead to so we should skip the formalities and just go to my place now and have sex,” but it doesn’t always quite work out that way.
Romance, passion and touch are all linked and are essentials in keeping a relationship healthy and exciting and, while prudes often wish not to admit it, a small amount of lust (at least!) plays a significant factor in this. Humans are very feeling creatures and touch plays an important role in the conveyance of affection and love without needing a word to be spoken, amongst other unmentioned emotions. Be generous with your hugs! Keep some form of physical contact going, like placing your hands on his or hers on the table or bumping each other on the street out of playfulness. Just don ‘t suck- tongue tor distasteful PDA (public display of affection) in the open!
Yes, as the familiar tune goes, life is chock-full of irony. Sometimes, in order to give to your relationship, you have to take from it. And while it is the similarities between you and your partner that probably attracted you to one another and got you together, it is often the differences that will eventually bring the both of you far in your relationship. Ideally, the both of you should have passions in life, so that you may both empower your passions when you share them with the one you love, as well as enrich yourself by learning about what your partner is passionate about and partaking in each other’s favourite activities.
Keep in tune with your life passions and work your own aims in life, as being someone who has goals in life shows, to some extent, that you are in control of your own destiny and that makes for a very confident and objective person, which is attractive too. In learning new things together, you will help each other grow and your relationship will then be very strong.
Exasperatingly, I’ve seen many couples who do things like sitting on the train stoning with their ears plugged with earphones. Perhaps they’d rather masturbate than have sex. If you’re not going to have the time of your lite with the ‘love of your lite’, then it’s really quite a pity. Always look to enrich yourself and grow in your relationship and that in turn will enable you to give more and make for a very healthy couplehood between you and your loved one.
Have Faith & Trust in Your Partner
Ever so often, do not give of themselves fully as they fear the pain of loss when things do not out. But it you do not give your partner your faith in him or her, you can never fully give of yourself, as trust brings love to a whole new level. How then can things work out if you do not give love a chance? Granted, this sounds more like a problem that occurs even before a relationship starts (i.e. the fear Of even wanting to be in a relationship in the first place), but the sad thing is that many couples do not trust each other enough to fully allow the existing relationship to grow and they end up hanging on to past emotional baggages and/or simply close up their hearts.
I’m not saying that it’s always okay or ‘better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all’ but sometimes it’s more the case of setting the one you love free, and when he or she comes back to you, you know he or she yours forever (pardon the clichés but they are true’). In trusting your loved one, you are setting him or her free from your insecurities, which are often unnecessary (unless your partner is a two-timing ass; then you really deserve better) as they can weigh a relationship down very heavily. I’ve seen relationships crumble due to the insecurities that exist between couples and gnaw away at them until either one or both of them break emotionally.
Lead him or her into understanding that your love is real and worth returning to by reassuring your partner that you have faith in him or her (and mean it of course).
Ultimately, all these things add up to a very blissful relationship and, yet again, while others find it amazing and more often than not, too good to be true, my girlfriend and I have barely quarrelled. A consistent combination of good communication, spontaneity, physical affection, self-enrichment, faith and trust makes this possible and it’s no mean feat considering that it’s my first relationship and already 3 years running. Of course, this doesn’t make me a love guru of any sort and there will be those who will say I’m silly to have committed so soon and for so long, and make no mistake that I really do not frown upon people who wish to be more open to choices and experimentation, but if you feel the way I do about being in a relationship like mine, you’ll know.