I wrote this in early 2014, but it’s worth a repost. I am posting near the day which SHOULD have been a six year anniversary for me. C’est la vie.
Relationships take some work to keep them humming along, and some couples are actually fortunate enough to find a formula which nurtures their interaction and enables them to beat the odds. Sadly, though, it just seems like most people these days are too quick to jump ship. Perhaps it has something to do with the promise of the bigger, better deal which multiple dating sites proffer, but I believe the restlessness and discontent are largely due to laziness. Our society is so rapid fire, with the convenience of social media ironically causing a veritable breakdown of true communication and intimacy, that as soon as conflict arises with someone, the instinct to flee seems to rear its ugly head. Gone are the days of working issues out over many decades, staying the course and serving as an example of everlasting love. The art of compromise seems to be lost, and people often will cohabitate or marry with separation or divorce viewed as an easy escape route. It’s no wonder that breakups seem to be happening more frequently now.
Love and relationships are almost treated like fast food, and the sad thing is that through the common lack of willingness to constructively work through conflict, many relationships become disposable. Like fast food, weak or unstable relationships begin to resemble fast food, full of empty calories and ultimately bad for the system. Also like fast food, weak unions may cause cravings for more of the same, and a vicious pattern may ensue. If you ask yourself why you keep picking the same type of person, it is time to look at the reasons why you are drawn to that type of person and do whatever personal work you need to do in order to break such patterns. Otherwise, you will find yourself in the same situation with the next person.
I have talked to couples who have been together for four, five, six decades and they have all said the same thing about weathering the storm through the years and enjoying a lasting union. It seems to boil down to two very important guidelines:
1. ALWAYS RESPECT EACH OTHER. Psychologists say that a clear sign of impending demise for a relationship is when partners fail to respect each other. Insulting, name calling and blaming are the clearest signs, but there are other indications of a lack of respect, such as lack of emotional support for a partner when major life events occur. This doesn’t mean that successful couples never fight, they just argue in a constructive fashion and allow each other the opportunity to vent all frustrations and concerns without interrupting or attacking.
2. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Rather than nitpicking about little things, successful couples let them go. If irritating issues arise, calmly discussing the issue is far more successful than bickering about minor incidents like the trash not being thrown out, or the toothpaste cap being left off. However, both partners must be receptive to active and constructive communication. If one partner is hostile and unyielding, the petty issues will erode intimacy and affection.