I say simple in the title, but some things that seem so easy to give and receive are actually some of the most complicated and complex. Perhaps the right word would be 'basic'....seems like we all need these for relationship success. While I still navigate the sometimes rough waters of my own love life, there are three things that I have learned absolutely make or break any relationship.
1 - Communication
Open, honest communication is a key in all relationships. But how are we ensuring that what we are intending is what is being verbalized? How can we ensure how our words are interpreted by the person who is receiving them? There is no one right answer, but these are a few factors I have found help set the tone for healthy communication:
- Choose the right time – did your partner just get home from a stressful workday? Rushing to class? Watching the game/Scandal? Now is probably not the right time to have their undivided/un-irritated attention
- Don’t attack- At times, especially when we are feeling hurt, it is difficult to not launch an attack on your partner. However, this will simply make them put up their defenses and block the ability to hear what it is you are saying. Wait 24 hours to calm down if need be.
- Use respectful language – don’t curse at them, call them out their name, insult or belittle them
- Speak face to face – sometimes it is easier to publish a text message novel to avoid the confrontation of discussing a tough situation, however so much context can be lost in text communication. Important conversations should always be had in person, or at the very least, over the phone. Being able to hear a person’s tone, see body language and observe facial expressions can be the very thing that impacts how your message is received.
2 - Compromise
No matter how happy you are in your relationship, there are going to be things your partner wants that you don’t, and vice versa. This is where compromise needs to come in! If you never concede to your partners’ wishes but expect them to do everything you want and need to be happy, resentment will quickly build, adding tension and stress to your relationship.
Take a step back. Is what your partner asking for going to hurt you? Do you just not want to do it because it’s a “headache”? Feeling like the request is just him/her nagging you? Try to place yourself in their shoes and see it from their point of view. What would you want/expect from the situation? Have they been willing to deal with all of your “stuff” but you don’t return the favor? Relationships are about compromise. Sometimes we need to suck it up and give the other person what they need in order for there to be peace…and more important, happiness.
3 - Trust
Probably the most important factor. I’ve learned that once the trust is gone from the relationship, it is essentially dead. Trust will guide the two points above. Trust will affect how we perceive what is being communicated to us, what we are willing to share with our partners, our perception of our partners words and actions, and what we are willing to do for our partners. Without trust we have nothing. Trust is a precursor to love. We may think we love someone but still doubt them, and to me, that is skinny love. If you are lucky enough to be with someone now that you trust wholeheartedly – to not lie, cheat or betray you - the sense of security you feel, the way it builds you up and makes you feel whole is unrivaled.
Trust doesn’t mean your partner is perfect, or that you won’t still have insecurities, but having the ability to truly believe in something, in someone, gives you the freedom and security to truly experience real love. Loving someone deeply and receiving it in return.
Relationships are tough, and require a consistent investment of time and attention to ensure you are keeping these building blocks stable. I’d love to hear what your experience has been. Do you agree? Can you have one of these without the other? Comment below!