We are all involved in one type of relationship or another. We cannot even do without relationship for no man is an island. We all need someone at one point or another in our lives. Nevertheless, relationships are not simple when it comes to their maintenance and sustenance. The result is everywhere from broken and breaking marriages to girls and boys who commit suicide due to heartbreak. This is based on the fact that no two people are the same. We all have our differences based on our gen ethical constructions and environmental nuances. And when these are noted underscored or taken for granted, we pay for the consequences.
As a general concern, many relationships have false foundations. When this is the case, the relationship is just a failure in waiting. Most people are married today because they just have to. This could be due to socio-economic pressures and false notion of what it takes to be in a relationship. It takes maturity of mind and body to get into certain relationships that involve emotions. When we are in a relationship due to lust or quest for the material gains, we are in for a self-arranged crash. Compatibility is another fact most people ignore in relationships. Personality matters a lot in relationships. An introvert getting involved with an introvert, for example, must be aware of the dos and don’ts of the personality types and how to cope with them. Effective communication which is the crux of every relationship is only possible when we are aware of our personalities and that of our partners. If the relationship is a friendship, we should be clear if we are on the same page with our partner. If one partner relates with the other as a close friend while the other partner considers him an acquaintance then there is bound to be friction and with time, possible failure in relationship. Without these backgrounds, we may find ourselves struggling to remain in relationship.
There are also some particular issues that when guarded against will help for a stable and lasting relationship in all fronts, be it casual, close, intimate and even in marriage relationships.
- Jealousy: It is surprising that we are often jealous of our closest friends. Jealousy often occurs at a period of separation and competition. We need to learn to be appreciative and happy at others success. We need to trust our partners and give them benefit of doubts at all times. Jealousy often stems from our own insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Trust is the tool to fight jealousy. A relationship that is short of trust will definitely end up in dangerous suspicion and jealousy that can lead to violence and abuse. Watch this in your relationship. When jealousy is present, we begin to listen to gossip, feel threatened by the cute dressing of our partners, and quarrel with his or her good relationship with neighbors and colleagues at work, the quality time he or she spends with friends and even parents and siblings. It is even worse when the jealous partner is a man.
- Domination: There is need to give a breathing space to your partner is any relationship. Domination comes in the form of our wanting our partner to behave in a certain way or manner that suits us. We place an index of expectations for our partners to live up to. This will, inevitably, in its own, time raise a conundrum of conflicts that may cost you the relationship. We often justify this trait in our relationship when we claim that “all we are doing is for the good of the other party”. Strong relationships are built on freedom and mutual understanding. A strong and healthy relationship should be able to cope with constructive criticisms.
- Selfishness: This is probably the root of all relationship problems. It resides in the ego and that is why it is often masked and difficult to handle when it is covertly evident in our lives. There is no doubt that our survival instinct is at play here. It makes us think of ourselves first in all circumstances even to the detriments of our relations. It is the root of avarice, cheating, lack of care for others, murder and even suicide. Selfishness drains a relationship. When we are selfish, we want to be praised and appreciated, receive things but never give any in return. When we always want to dominate discussions, we are selfish. When we want our cases to be treated first, your siblings need to be taken care of first before your husband’s and vice versa, when you want your boyfriend to be always spending on you and you spend nothing in return (I am talking of emotional and material expenses. Sex can never be a gift among unmarried people), you are selfish and this will in time wear out our partner and destroy the relationship. Avoid this and you will have lasting peace in your relationship.
- Time Factor: Too much time or no time could be a problem in relationship depending on the personalities involved. Some people, especially introverts, need time for themselves. Thus if you do not take time, you may make the relationship claustrophobic for them. This could be so irritating for them that they may want to even sever the relationship in order to have their privacy. On the other hand, and even more dangerous is the claim that we have no time to be with those we love. If we don’t spend time with those we love, it will not take time for them to start feeling unloved and unworthy. This brings low self-esteem and may push the other partner to seek consolation elsewhere and the end result? I leave to your imagination. We need to strike a balance between spending so much time with our partners in a way that will be suffocating and keeping off to the extent that weakens emotional attachment altogether.
In spite of the fact that we have highlighted these few points that, if we avoid, can help us to have a healthy and sustained relationship, there are no hard and fast rules about it. What works for A may not work for B and that is why it is useless to compare relationships. Treat each individual as he or she presents him or herself. Prejudice is the first death knell to any relationship. We are all humans made in the image of God. Loving without conditions as God loves us is the best way to have a steady and lasting relationship. Always bear in mind that love is always patient, and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)