Advice 1: How to make a relationship last?

5:47 PM

First and foremost, I feel the need to type a short disclaimer to protect me from potential flamers. Please note that I'm not a relationship expert, neither do I have a perfect relationship. Everything mentioned in this blog post are from my own experiences and applied knowledge, and should not be taken word for word.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's start.

This is Ken, my boyfriend. We've been together for 3 years and 6 months so far, and our relationship is still going strong. Like every other relationship, we have had our ups and downs. But throughout the years, we have ironed out our differences in personalities and habits to allow this relationship to be a little more smooth sailing.

Note: The most important thing in a relationship would be communication and understanding.

1. Talk about goals you seek on achieving in the future.

Many couples break up when it comes to future goals, as they fail to find a common ground. Ask as many questions about future goals as you possibly can, before you go much deeper into the relationship. The most common mistake that couples make, is to push this to the last minute (usually before engagement) as they don't see the importance of planning ahead.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask:

Do you want kids? If so, how many kids do you want in the future?
Are you planning to live here in the future, or to migrate somewhere else?
When is your ideal age to get married?
How would you like to bring up your children? (Parenting style)

You'll be surprised how many people break up because of these questions. I personally know of a handful of people who have left their significant other because their goals in life were misaligned. Thus, it's extremely important to search for these answers before things get too serious. Do it sooner than later, so that if you don't have similarities in terms of goals, there is ample time and space for negotiation before life-changing plans start rolling in.

2. Talk about differences.

With the understanding that your significant other is different in both personality and habits, you're able to address each and every difference to come to a mutual agreement of how things should work. While you learn to give and take, you must also be willing to let go of issues that are insignificant and unimportant. I hear you asking, how do you figure out what's important and what's unimportant though? Well, if any habits do not affect you or your relationship directly, they fit into the 'unimportant' category. It's unfair to attempt to change someone when it doesn't affect you in any way. Give your partner room and space.

3. Bring up scenarios.

When you bring up possible scenarios, you are able to see the way in which your significant other makes decisions. This helps you to see your partner's maturity level in handling different situations, and whether he/she has the ability to think in different perspectives. This is very important because it shows whether the individual is an understanding person. When we understand how others are likely to feel, it can guide the way we interact with others. So to speak, better relationships can be formed when both partners have an understanding of each others' feelings, actions and reactions on an everyday basis.

4. Voice out concerns.

If your significant other has a bad habit or does something that you absolutely can't stand, it is important to voice out concerns as soon as possible. If you leave it to the last minute, it would be too late. Let's assume that your partner doesn't like to take a shower before bed and gives you an excuse that he/she is too tired or too lazy to. It doesn't make it better that you're a clean freak, and you definitely don't want to marry someone who has hygiene issues.

Scenario 1:

Feeling uncomfortable about the situation, you try to keep it to yourself as you don't want to ruin the relationship because of something 'small'. Then you eventually get married with your significant other. One day, you just can't stand the fact that he/she doesn't take a shower before heading to bed. You get really upset and tell your partner off, and he/she says, "You have never brought up this issue in the past, and now you're telling me off for this. You can't blame me or expect me to change because I had no idea that you had a problem with it until today!"

You can see the repercussions of not voicing out concerns and leaving it to the last minute.

Scenario 2:

Feeling uncomfortable about the situation, you feel like you have to bring up this issue with your significant other to bring up awareness. You tell your partner about your concerns and explain to him/her that it's important not to neglect hygiene despite being lazy or tired. You also explain that you're actually a hygiene freak, and have to sleep in a clean bed.

By doing this, your partner is aware of his actions and might be willing to adapt to your habits.

How do you solve problems with your partner? Refer below for the step-by-step guide.

How do you solve problems with your partner?

Step 1: You bring up the problem or voice out the concern.
Step 2: Your partner might react to this and explain his/her perspective.
Step 3: You may react to your partner's reaction and explain your perspective.
Step 4: Put yourselves into each other's shoes and have a good think about the situation.
Step 5: Sit down together and come to a conclusion. How will the problem be solved?

Can you see how 'understanding' comes into the equation? Once you can understand how someone else feels, you're able to analyse the situation in a manner that has consideration for the other party. That's being fair to your significant other.

It is very important not to treat everything you dislike in your significant other as a problem. Be sure to only label it as a problem when it directly affects you or it's a trait that you don't want in someone you'll marry. Other than that, I would highly recommend for you to close one eye and just let it go. We have to understand that expectations have to be realistic. No one can be everything we might want him/her to be, and sometimes we have to accept people as they are.

Warning: Bringing up everything as a problem might create more tension in your relationship.

5. Don't make assumptions.

Never assume anything - I can't emphasize this enough! When we feel close to someone it’s easy to think we know how he or she thinks and feels. But that's not true. It is impossible to read the mind of your partner, so it's only fair to ask for clarification rather than to make a guess. Communication means asking questions, and trying to understand where your significant other is coming from. Your significant other's standpoint and belief system would no doubt be different than your own. Likewise, what is considered a big deal in their life may not have been important in yours. So, please remember to put yourself in your partner's shoes and think from their perspective to try knowing and understanding how he/she really feels.

These are the five top tips for a more successful relationship with your significant other. Remember, it revolves around communication and understanding. Apply these tips to improve the way you manage your relationship (it can also be applied to friendships).

I wish you all the best in finding your happiness in life! Good luck.

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  1. Hello Marie, thanks for the insightful post!