Relationships are not easy, in fact sometimes they can be a lot of work. If you are being hurt by your partners actions, there is still love in the midst of it. When you stop caring and become indifferent, that is when the relationship or marriage is heading towards trouble. Our partner came in to our lives for a reason, to help make us a better person. It is the old saying that iron sharpens iron, we get to learn from what we experience.
"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attentions so you can change your life.". - Elizabeth Gilbert
These are what we have found to be the main requirements for a happy relationship. We are partners because we fell in love and should still love each other enough to want them to be happy and treat them well.
1. Security and Safety
The most important thing in any relationship is safety and security. Not only in a physical sense but even more so in an emotional sense. Safety and predictability is crucial. We are creatures of habit and when you are living in a constant state of uncertainty as to who your partner will be each particular moment, it becomes frightening and throws us off balance. It can create a feeling of helplessness and fear. We all need consistency and predictability to feel safe and secure. Living with a Jekyll and Hyde destroys safety for your partner. When we are the same person consistently, we can allow our partner to relax and be a better partner for our loved one.
This is one of the top requirements for any relationship. If there is not respect, there can not be equality and peace. When name-calling, cursing and the verbal attacks begin, you are not being respected and it is hard for to give respect in return. It is also important to be respected for who you are and what you do. We should each be allowed to be your own person and make decisions (unless they are not in the best interest of the relationship). We have the right to set boundaries to protect those boundaries and ourselves should be respected without guilt and shame. Also, our privacy and personal things need to be respected. Going through someone's things is disrespectful and violates the other person. There should not be anything to hide between both partners and so respecting each others space should not be an issue.
Commitment and trust in a relationship are so important. We usually don't have reason not to trust unless we ourselves cannot be trusted. If there has been betrayal in a relationship, trust must be rebuilt. It will take time and patience and if you are the one that created that distrust, the best thing you can do for your partner is to be understanding when they are having doubts and questioning your actions. When you get defensive, it sends the message that you are hiding something. When you are constantly questioning your partner, it creates frustration and resentment. Nobody should ever have to sell his or her honesty and commitment. If there has been distrust, the offender must sincerely accept their wrong, apologize and change the behavior to rebuild that trust.
It is so important for you to honor and respect your partners independence. If there is trust, allowing the other person to be independent should not be an issue. The first three qualities are crucial to allow for independence in a relationship. We need to make sure that we are not completely dependent on our partner and that we have some interests of our own. We need to be inter-dependent. There must me a me, you, and we. We need to be allowed to have time to ourselves, time with family and friends and time for one another. If we don't have balance, we can become resentful and we end up swinging to the other side of the pendulum. The most important time you can spend away from your relationship is time nurturing yourself. Do something nice for yourself, get a massage, play sports, journal or go for a walk. This is your sanity. If you can't make sure your cup is full, you will have nothing to give your partner. It may just be the 40-minute drive in the car that recharges you or some girl /guy talk with a friend or just time alone. Whatever it is, you need to allow that for yourself and respect that your partner needs it also. When we get that we usually are able to come back into the relationship a happier more loving person.
5. Self - Actualization
If you are not growing, you are decaying, and this goes for every living thing. We are meant to continue to learn and grow as we age and the person we spend our life with is the one that we should be growing with. When one partner decides to stop growing on his or her own, and as a couple, it can create real havoc on a relationship. We are constantly faced with situations where we can learn and grow and when we step into an attitude of blame and are not willing to look at ourselves, and our role, we have begun the decaying process. When we live in a constant state of blaming and being a victim, we get stuck and left behind. We all have some responsibility in every conflict and it important to be able to self reflect and own our share. From this point, we can decide how we want to learn from it and grow. Our partners can certainly trigger us the best and those triggers really have nothing to do with the other person, but issues that lay deep within us. Make a decision to look at your stuff and figure out how you can grow from it.