Why is it that so many relationships, which start off with such energy and enthusiasm, seem to lose their glitter just a few weeks down the road? Studies have shown that there are five basic principles, which govern the quality of a relationship in the long run:
Principle #1: Knowledge of the other person’s preferences
How does your husband or wife like to be told that you love him or her? How would you like to be told that your lover or spouse loves you. Would you like to touched in a certain way, or would you like to be embraced in a certain way, or would you like love to be expressed in words, or would you like to be looked in the eyes in a certain way? Love is a very delicate affair, and the surest way of sabotaging your relationship is to be aloof of the others person’s preferences.
Over the months and years, most people realize, what is it that makes their lover express love. But, some don’t and this can be fatal for the relationship. If you think you haven’t yet discovered your partner’s preferences, this is the first thing you should do. Often called the “Love Strategy,” you must make a conscious effort to discover it, and meet it on a consistent basis.
Principle #2: Relationship is a place to give, not take
Often, people approach a relationship as a place to solve their problems. While a relationship could definitely solve problems, this approach tends to disempower both the people involved in it. If you have not been cuddled or pampered as a child, and use a relationship as a place to receive such treatment, you are disempowering yourself of your ability to take any initiative, because you are constantly looking for your partner to treat you in a certain way.
Instead, what one should do in such a case is, concentrate on giving something into the relationship. Such contribution of love and affection will automatically elicit the kind of treatment you desire.
Principle #3: Learn to communicate your problems with your partner
Dr. Barbara De Angelis, in her best selling book, “How to Make Love All the Time,” identifies four stages in a relationship that can kill it. And, by identifying it, one can immediately intervene and eliminate the problems before they become unmanageably large.
Phase 1: Resistance
This is the first phase of challenges in a relationship. It occurs when you take exception of something your partner said or did which you did not like. Maybe, it was a joke, which you didn’t find very tasteful, or a statement that offended you, or something else, which you wished hadn’t happened. Of course, resistance is bound to happen in a relationship between two human beings, but the secret is to talk it over, and settle it before it reaches the second phase.
Phase 2: Resentment
Resistance, if not handled properly, can lead to resentment. Now, your irritation with your partner grows into anger, and a communication barrier is erected between you and him/her. In this phase, you begin to avoid your partner, and the intimacy that you both enjoyed is virtually over.
Phase 3: Rejection
If resistance is not eased, or if you and your partner do not talk the matter over, you may move into the third phase: rejection. This is the beginning of the physical separation from your partner. Coupled with emotional separation, in this phase, you begin to find everything about your partner annoying and irritating.
Phase 4: Repression
This is the most dangerous phase of the demise of your relationship. In this phase, you stop communicating with your partner altogether. There is an emotional numbness between the two of you. Slowly, you just become a roommate of your partner, not concerned of what he or she is doing or feeling.
So, what is the way to avoid this dangerous trap? Dr. De Angelis says, it’s simple: Talk. Talking one’s problems, one’s concerns and one’s likes and dislikes is the only way to ensure smooth sailing. Adequate and meaningful communication is an essential component of any relationship.
Principle #4: Never threaten your relationship
A lot of couples have the habit of saying things like, “You do that, and I am leaving you.” This can be disastrous, because, although most of the time such a statement is not supposed to be taken very seriously, but what if one day, your spouse said, “Go ahead and leave. I will do things my way.” If such a case arises, one’s ego may often force him or her to follow up on their threat (of leaving), and that is the end of the relationship. See, the point is that no matter what situation arises, there is no justification for threatening your relationship if you want it to last a lifetime.
Principle #5: Strive to constantly add glitter to your relationship
Just like any other emotion, a relationship also needs to be constantly propped up. You need to constantly excite your partner, and ignite his or her desire for you. One way to reinforce your feelings of connection and renew your feelings of intimacy and attraction, is to constantly ask questions that would make your partner express love; something like, “How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?” Try to surprise each other. Do outrageous things, like arranging an outing at a place where your partner would have never even imagined. Express love in an out-of-the-way manner, and have fun doing it.