Is your relationship not working? Are you arguing or is the fire of your love slowly extinguishing? Why is it sometimes so terribly difficult to keep a relationship good?
For many people in the East, a relationship is based on an arranged marriage and in the West on personal choice. Both have their good and bad sides, but in the end it’s all about making sure that the relationship grows and you prosper together.
That can be hard. Being in a relationship means giving a piece of yourself. You have to take the other person into account. And that’s often where relationships go wrong. We often consider our own opinion and our own well-being more important. Our attitude is also partly shaped by the culture in which we live. How do we look at our partner? Do you treat him or her as an equal? Consciously or unconsciously, we often don’t really consider our partner’s feelings and needs. Perhaps you never learned that properly because your parents didn’t either or because you had to miss one or both parents early in your life.
On top of that, men think differently than women. Women have different emotions than men and thus react differently to the same situation. That can lead to many misunderstandings in a relationship.
Why do so many relationships get in trouble
It starts with ourselves. Most of the time we think about ourselves first. Even when you are very helpful, you may be doing it because it makes you feel good or because you think you have to.
When one or both of you thinks of his or her self-interest first, you will grow apart. Maybe one of you is busy with his or her success and career or with the kids. There is not enough attention left for the partner. Or one of the two thinks they’re better off with a new partner and cheats on you.
If you give your partner too little attention and respect, he or she will respond by, for example, becoming distant, getting angry or trying to restore balance in some other way. Before you know it, deep emotional wounds arise that cannot be healed easily. The longer the problems persist, the more those wounds fester.
It could also be that one of the partners has a secret from the other. For example, an addiction, certain expenses or problems. Even though you may think that it doesn’t bother the other person, it will always affect the relationship.
Prevention is better than a cure
It starts with being really aware that a relationship is much more than just for your own pleasure and benefit. Relationships are give and take. Often we like to take, but we find giving a lot harder. You might like to give a present or a flower, but it goes much further than that. To give something that really costs you? Are you willing to give up some of your pride sometimes? To really respect the other person?
The fact that we mainly think about ourselves is deeply ingrained in our human characteristics. Fortunately, there are also plenty of examples of true love where both partners really pay attention to the other.
Do you have a difficult relationship and do you want your relationship to flourish, then I invite you to start discovering what is really important in life. That also will have a major impact on your relationship.
Tips for a good relationship
- Don’t just think of your own benefit. Consciously or unconsciously, we often mainly think about what is good for ourselves. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and discover what he or she likes. Also ask your partner about this and try not to put your own wishes and ideas first.
- Respect the other. Take your partner seriously. Check with yourself to see if you really do. If your partner has a different opinion about something, are you willing to consider and respect this opinion?
- Being in a relationship is a conscious choice. Even if the feeling is sometimes less present, it is important to remain loyal to your choice. Even when temptations arise.
- Do not be bitter towards the other. Even though the other person may have done things that hurt you. Try to consciously avoid becoming bitter. Bitterness only makes it harder to get the relationship right again.
- Do something fun together on a regular basis. By going somewhere together or doing something fun together, the bond becomes stronger. Especially if you’re trying to do something your partner really likes.
- Give compliments. A compliment is good for a person. Look for sincere compliments on your partner. Find what motivates the other person the most. For some these are sweet words, for others time and attention or a gift, physical touch or helpfulness. If you want to find out more about this, do a search on the internet for the “five languages of love”.
- Be grateful. Make a list of things in your relationship for which you are or were grateful.
- Be honest. A hidden secret can destroy a relationship. Even if you don’t think it’s that big of a problem. The relationship will always suffer from your secret.
- Take care of each other. Be there for the other person when he or she needs it. When your partner is busy, in pain, or in grief.
- Don’t lose yourself. If you enjoy taking care of your partner, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Take enough time for yourself. Are you getting enough rest? Also discuss this with each other.
- Sometimes it takes a lot of patience. Your partner may not be on the same emotional level as you. It sometimes takes time and a lot of conversations to figure out what it takes to get closer to each other again.
- If you have children, are you a team together? Or do you both have different ideas about parenting? Children notice this flawlessly and take advantage of it. Make sure that you agree on what rules apply at home and what you think is important for the children. If you don’t agree with your partner’s decision, talk about it when the kids aren’t around. If you show that you respect each other, the children will treat you with more respect.
What if the relationship doesn’t work anymore?
There are always two people in a relationship. If one of the two people no longer wants to invest in the relationship, sooner or later the relationship will break down. It can’t always come from one side, even though there may be times when it seems that way. It could be that the two of you are at a completely different point in the relationship.
Talking a lot with each other, but also listening well can get a deadlocked relationship back on track. Of course, both of you must be willing to put in the time and energy into the relationship. Sometimes it takes a lot of stamina and patience.
Help from a third party, for example a relationship therapist, can help you. But the most important thing is that you both invest enough in each other. But be careful not to sit around and wait for the other person. Talk a lot with each other and try to work it out together. That sometimes takes a lot of time. Especially when pain and sorrow has been built up over the years. Sometimes it can feel like you’re pulling a dead horse, but when there is still love, there is hope.
If there is abuse or violence
It’s a different story if there is abuse or violence in a relationship. When your partner abuses you or your children, it is terrible. That’s definitely never acceptable in a relationship. You should feel safe and supported in a relationship. We do not specialize in help for these kinds of situations, but we do want to encourage you to seek help quickly! At the bottom of this page you will find a number of websites where you can go for assistance. You can also contact us through the CHAT (if available in your country). We are not professional care providers, but we can offer a listening ear.
The foundation for a good marriage
With the tips I have given you for your marriage, you can boost your relationship. These tips are based upon a foundation that goes far beyond just your marriage. It is a foundation that can give value to your entire life.
I’d like to tell you more about how you can build your life on a solid foundation. A solid foundation for now but also for your future.
I invite you to read on and join me on a journey of discovery to a more meaningful life.