Everyone’s life could be a little easier.
With work, bills, finances, children, family, drama, problems, and a laundry list of other things on our plate.
Sometimes it’s hard to manage it all, let alone deal with it.
Top it all off with the responsibilities of being in a relationship and odds are something is getting pushed aside or neglected somewhere.
Unfortunately, it’s common for our relationships to take the backseat.
We’re under the impression that they’re secure, running on autopilot, that we’re locked in, or they’ll just work out on there own.
Truth is, it takes steady work and upkeep to make your relationship work. Just as your vehicle requires routine maintenance and upkeep, so do your personal relationships.
You get out it what you put in.
In order to lighten the load for you a little, I’ve outlined some simple and practical steps to building a better relationship.
Recognize the Change in Culture
First, a little background.
Society has changed drastically over the past 40-50 years.
So have the roles of both male and female. The societal pressure for a women to marry, have children, and be a stay at home mom has faded (but the option to do so is there if they’d like to).
The pressure for a man to head off to work and provide all the financial support for the home also has faded – to a degree (but the option is there for him as well).
While religion, belief, and family values still play a crucial role in many peoples lifestyles, the pressure from the community is no longer focused on shunning divorce, separation, or even living together prior to marriage.
We now live in a new era.
One that is more flexible, open, and blended towards all the variables one may encounter in life.
Our spending and economies are set up in a way to where more and more families are two-income households, and have to be, to maintain their current level of lifestyle.
Where the Disconnect Starts
Part of the issues, and where I believe a lot of relationship unhappiness stems from, is time.
Enough hasn’t passed.
40 years in terms of human and behavioral evolution is a grain of sand.
Our new cultures and the varying shapes of our communities are still in their infancy.
We’ve just reached the point in the past couple of decades where step-families are common and perceived as normal in the community.
Divorce and single parenting are considered a normal part of life.
To the next generation, it will be even more accepted (and who knows, we may possibly see a shift back to the old-ways years from now).
In the past, a marriage or relationship was defined and perceived in a certain way. It’s status came with certain expectations.
We still have old-world expectations in new-world living situations.
Therein lies part of the problem.
The reality of today is that people would like the benefits of being their own person and the freedom that comes with being an individual, as well as the shared connection and obvious benefits of being in a relationship.
We’d like to have our cake and eat it too.
Where the Reconnection Begins
In order to achieve this new type of harmony, we have to address both sides of the coin.
The healthiest of relationships focus on balance.
The priority then shifts from “what a marriage is” or “what a relationship should look like,” to “how can we find balance for us?”
Each person is an individual living their own life, and living it with another as a couple. Getting the proper balance for the two is the key.
A question to ask yourself (and often) is “How do I meet my goals and needs, as well as the goals and needs my partnership?”
The effort and time must be pointed towards mutual understanding and cooperation – not compromise or sacrifice.
Settling and giving in will only end up stirring up neglect, resentment, and arguments.
Steps To Making Your Relationship Succeed
So here’s what can we do today, right now, to start making a difference and drastic change.
1. Figure out goals and wants of the relationship as a couple.
Having a clear definition of where the two of you are going is critical, and builds on communication and understanding. This includes developing an action plan, implementing action, and finding a way to measure if it’s working or not.
2. Maintain trust and honesty at all times.
Once you’ve set up your goals and paths, you must trust each other to follow through and commit to them. Sure, there are going to be difficulties along the way, so remain open and honest throughout it all. There are no shades of truth. You’re either honest, or you’re not. There is no in-between.
3. Work hard on yourself.
Own your responsibilities and emotions. They are yours and yours alone. Caring for yourself and working towards becoming a more complete person. Realize that in order for you to become a better partner, you must become a better person.
4. Appreciate it for what it is.
You’re together for a reason, so enjoy it. Be friends and partners. You’ll find that there will be times where the benefit of each other may warrant adjustments and corrections, but learn from those lessons and come out healthier as a result.
There you have it. Remember the importance of responsibility. As an adult, we are responsible for the choices we make. This includes doing what is right for ourselves, so that we can become better people to those around around us. Also, leave a comment below and tell me what you think. Do you think times and expectations have changed? What would you like to see stay, or go away completely? What are some things you do to make your relationship better?
Photo by jtjonesphotos