Harold and I don’t do big celebrations in our relationship. We rarely even celebrate our wedding anniversary much less other “special days” meant to highlight our commitment. One Valentine’s Day we spent our evening enjoying the opera presentation of Romeo and Juliet. Then we hit the drive-through at Wendy’s. It was a good time.
For many, that would not have been an ideal Valentine’s Day and would make them question their mate’s commitment. according to a survey by Statistic Brain more than half of the women interviewed would end a relationship if their Valentine’s Day ended without a gift. It made me wonder what it takes to have a great relationship all year and not just on special days. This is what I discovered.
Know what you want from the relationship.
Do you understand what you want from the relationship you’re in? I bet those women who were willing to end their relationships over a gift wanted something much more significant. The gift, or the outward display of affection and appreciation, represents something much deeper they desire. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Then answer that question honestly.
Know who you are.
You are a complex being. You can’t sum up your being with a wish list of items you’d like to receive. Understanding who you are – how you think, how you behave, how you communicate, what you like, and what you do not like – will allow you to express how you desire to be treated by others.
I am allergic to nearly all flowers, grasses, and trees. I know this about me, so as much as possible, I try to let others know that so they don’t think to give me flowers. Don’t be afraid to express to your mate who you are – in a kind and non-aggressive or condemning manner. This way, you can reduce those uncomfortable moments and happily choose to stay in the relationship.
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Know who the other person is.
The other person is just as complex as you are. Understanding who the other person is – how they think, behave, communicate, what they like, and what they do not like – will help you begin to understand why they treat you the way that they do. This can help you both engage in communication and interaction better.
My husband is a giver. Early in our marriage, he gave, and he gave BIG. It came to be the expectation that he would be giving me jewelry at almost every opportunity for gift giving that came along. Receiving gifts is not a way in which I truly receive love, but I know how much it means to him. So much so, that I forwent the chance to take him to the Dominican Republic for our 10th anniversary so he could upgrade my wedding ring. There is really no way to lose in that situation, is there? 🙂
Understand your responsibility to the relationship.
This ties directly back to point number 1 and knowing what you want from the relationship. Once you have settled on what you want, you can assess your responsibility to the relationship. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll have a much different approach than if you’re just having fun and hanging out. If it’s early in the relationship you ought to give and expect, much less than if you’ve been in a relationship for some time. Sometimes we give more effort than our responsibility to the relationship calls for us to do. Other times we don’t give enough. Measuring your efforts with the level of commitment you both have made will help you have a more blissful experience.
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Identify the barriers to your bliss.
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines bliss as complete happiness. What’s the obstacle to your happiness with this person? Is it obvious and difficult to address? Do you know enough about them to identify it? Or maybe you know the obstacles and have difficulty addressing them with the other person. Once you know the obstacles, using what you know about yourself and the other person will help you face them and begin to overcome them.
What steps do you take to have a great relationship all year?