Love is the most profound emotion known to mankind. It cuts across cultures, races and regions. Every human being desires to love and be loved. Companionship and procreation are innate needs of human beings. Our first experience of love occurs in the form of parental love which is unconditional and unlimited. The tenderness with which a mother comforts her child and the protection a father renders makes us feel cared for and safe. As we grow up we experience and learn different kinds of love and ultimately seek out romantic love. No matter how much heartache that may accompany it, we still seek out an intimate relationship.
To keep this beautiful intimate relationship alive after the initial attraction and euphoria, here are a few aspects I feel that are extremely important in determining a strong, loving and healthy relationship.
1. The relationship:
Relationships are all about giving and receiving!The relationship should not be sought to fulfil a lack in one's life. The partner may or may not be able to bridge the gap and fill it for you. True love can exist by loving yourself first. What we need to understand is that relationships are all about giving and receiving. You can only get from someone what you are willing to give yourself.
2. Relationship is not about only you:
You alone cannot make your relationship work!Relationships are not about another person completing you. Your partner has his/her own place and does not have to fulfil a vacuum in your life. For example in situations where a child has not received nurturing from the mother or father may start expecting the partner to fill that void. This kind of expectation will lead to an unhealthy equation as the relationship is between two equal adults and not a parent and child.
3. You happiness:
You decide your happiness!It is not your partner's responsibility to make you happy. Your happiness is your need and therefore your responsibility. However, more happiness can be created together as a team.
4. Personal space:
Personal space in necessary in every relationship!Building a life together and simultaneously having independent friends, hobbies and interests ensures that you are content and fulfilled on your own and also available in a more holistic manner to your partner.
Mutual respect is essential in a healthy relationship!Maintaining boundaries is essential in a healthy relationship. You may share a life, home and children together but non-negotiable boundaries like verbal and physical abuse have to be established and adhered to. This would ascertain a high level of mutual respect which is essential in a healthy relationship.
No one is perfect so accept the way he/she is!Yet another importance aspect is to accept your partner for who she/he is with both their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Do not try to change the other. He/she is an individual in their own right. Acceptance encompasses the whole package, not bits and pieces.
7. Expressing love and gratitude:
Never take a partner for granted, keep expressing your love and gratitudeAs the relationship grows the most common mistake we make is that we begin to take the partner for granted. Expressing love and gratitude and showing appreciation on a regular basis goes a long way in strengthening the bond.
8. No relationship is perfect:
Resolve the unresolved conflictsConflict resolution is yet another important aspect to be considered. When two individuals are involved with different upbringing and mental make-up, arguments and difference of opinions are bound to occur. Nonetheless, dealing with them and resolving them in an amicable way determines the health of the relationship. Unresolved conflicts harbour resentment and lead to cracks in the relationship. On the other hand, turning a cold shoulder to the situation will lead to bitterness and frustration which will eventually ruin the relationship and culminate in a romantic tragedy. It is therefore important to calm down first and then communicate without playing the blame game.
9. Spend time together:
Make a daily routine to spend time with each otherMake time for each other. In the hustle bustle of life we usually forget to cherish precious moments with our partner. In the courting phase we make the effort to spend as much time as possible with him/her. This happens because the attraction is at its highest and due to the newness of the relationship. But as the relationship grows and matures, we tend to forget to prioritise the most cherished bond. It would be a good idea to go on date nights once a week and just focus on each other.
Appreciate your partner even for small gesture!Be kind to yourself and your partner. In times of stress and despair it's easy to blame our partner or displace our emotions for them. However, it is important to remember that they are not our punching bag. Ideally, it would be better to identify our need. It could be a warm hug or simple pampering or even just a little appreciation. That would fulfill our emotional need without really burdening our partner.
-Written by Ms.Atika Shukla (Founder and CEO of Breaking Barriers)