When we’re young, we’re taught how to share and play well with others. Somehow as adults, these early lessons don’t always translate into building and maintaining loving relationships.
But, it’s never too late to learn new life skills, and creating healthy relationships is one of the best skills you can have. The following are the essential relationship elements of a lasting love. If you can master these, you will set yourself up to experience a wonderful relationship for the rest of your life.
Create Trust and Mutual Respect – Even the most loving of relationships is going to be put to the test every once in a while. All couples experience ups and downs and the stress of every day life. The key is to not take that out on each other. Create a safe environment in your relationship where each of you can speak honestly and freely. Never interrupt or yell or belittle the other person. Should things get too heated, step back, and wait until things cool off.
Don’t Judge – “For better or for worse.” If you’re married, those are the words you agreed to. If you’re not married, you still made a choice to partner with another human being who has flaws and quirks just like you. It’s important to accept your partner and not judge them too harshly. This doesn’t mean you have to like everything they do, and it doesn’t mean you can’t remind them every once in awhile that they need to scoop the cat litter as well. But it does mean that you should try and be as compassionate as possible. Compassion is the opposite of judgement and it allows you to be open and fully connect with the ones you love.
Make Time for Each Other – It’s far too easy to get busy and neglect the relationship. Many couples get to the point where they become more like roommates than a romantic couple. Don’t allow this to happen. Be sure to make time each week to check in with each other and reconnect.
Be Responsible for Your Feelings – No one can “fix us” or make us all better. We must heal ourselves from old wounds and scars (and we all have those!). Our partners should be there to support us in becoming whole, but ultimately it is our responsibility to heal, not theirs.
These guidelines can help you and your love stay a positive force in each other’s lives. But let’s face it, sometimes life can come at us and before we know it, the relationship is on the rocks. At times like these, it can be very helpful to speak with a couple’s therapist who can guide you through the rough patch and get you reconnected.
If you and your partner would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW