As Valentine’s Day draws near, we are consistently reminded that our relationships could use a little extra attention. This once a year reminder is great, but what about the other 364 days? Could our relationships use some extra attention then too? It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy relationship is one of the toughest tasks in the world to fulfill, but there is little else as rewarding as being in a full time, committed, and happy relationship. There are countless books and articles written on the subject of maintaining a healthy relationship, but they all boil down to three major items. Keep it Fun, Keep it Together, and Keep it Real.
Keeping it Fun
I put this point first because if you can’t keep it fun with your current partner, then you need to take a serious look at your relationship. It might not happen in the first week or the first month, but by the first year, your partner should without a doubt be your best friend. We are talking more than just hot, steamy passion here – we are talking about truly enjoying each other’s company. As a couple, if you can’t find two or three fun things to do together on a weekly basis, you need to try harder. I love going to the store every weekend with my significant other. We are hardcore people watchers and hardly anything slips our gaze. We turn the mundane task of shopping into a complete laugh-fest because we cease to see it as a shopping trip and see it instead as a chance to bond. If you think that “keeping it fun” has to involve exotic vacations and nights out on the town, then you need to examine the foundation of your relationship a little closer. If you are in a serious relationship, you should have be able to find a few things every week that you enjoy doing together and can look forward to.
Keeping it Together
This ties in closely with the suggestion above. Many people will tell you that you each need to have your separate lives so that you can get away from each other now and then. I say the opposite. As much as possible, you should do everything with your significant other – I mean, after all, they are the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with so you should probably enjoy the time you get together. One of the strongest relationship building exercises that couples can do involves team decision making. Sure, it may be slightly more efficient to have one person do the shopping and another person to do the laundry and so on and so forth, but doing these activities together will only strengthen your bond. You would probably be surprised at how many arguments can be avoided by doing things together. You will cut down on arguments over spending, dinner, and other things – all because you are doing those activities together and making decisions on them as a couple.
Keeping it Real
There is a difference between speaking your mind and acting in a way that is damaging to relationships. You need to be honest about the things you want, the things you need, and things that bother you, but you must also consider the other person’s feelings. If it bothers you that your boyfriend plays video games for several hours a day, try to avoid using words like “selfish, immature, etc” Instead, tell him that you wish you could spend more time with each other and suggest some activities you could do. In a relationship, you don’t get anywhere by being offensive or rude. As your relationship develops, you will learn how to better communicate with each other and understand what words will lead to a fight and which words will lead to real change. Make sure you are honest with your partner about things you truly cannot live with or without, but not everything has to be a discussion point. Keep it real and know when to bring issues to light and when to let them be.
Your relationship with your significant other should be a source of excitement and fulfillment for you. Understandably, things can get tense or even a little stale but keep in mind that lavish vacations, expensive gifts, and major overhauls aren’t always the answer because they aren’t sustainable in the long run. Finding little, everyday things to improve and build upon are the best way to grow your relationship and create a love that lasts.
About the Author: Aaron Garcia is a marketing consultant who works with clients who range from divorce lawyers in Phoenix, AZ to campground franchises nationwide. He is currently in a happy and prosperous relationship.