You know, having a fully supportive relationship is the dream of many people. Finding that one person who just “gets” you no matter what! And yet, statistics don’t lie. For every one couple who is in a healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationship, two to three others are not. How, exactly, do you prevent that from happening to you?
There is no magic wand that can be waved and save any relationship. No checklist that will prevent problems in the future. But there are a couple of habits that can prevent you from living that ‘happy ever after’ life that you may have dreamed about. Check them out and see if you might be guilty of one or more of them:
No conflict, no arguments, no confrontation. On the surface, this sounds idyllic! I love the idea of never disagreeing with someone. No fights. No disagreements. No bad days. But guess what . . . That’s the type of thing you might find on the fiction rack at Walgreens. You aren’t going to find it in a real relationship. There is no way in the world you are going to put two healthy human beings into a single relationship and not have some kind of conflict.
My first conflict with my husband was over how to cook scrambled eggs. Apparently he had enough time to sit over the stove and “worry” those darn eggs to death. By the time they were plated, they were the size of couscous and cold. My experience with scrambled eggs came from the fact that I lived in a very large family, and if the 15 eggs in the pan got turned more than two or three times meant they weren’t going to get burned. I was used to huge chunks of very hot eggs on my plate. See where I’m going here? Neither way was right or wrong. It’s what we got used to. I finally realized that to keep the peace, I could finesse my husband’s eggs the way he wanted, and keep mine whole and we both enjoyed our Sunday mornings quite nicely.
But other things simply must be discussed and talked out. Yes, this is confrontation, but it does not have to be hostile.
The second biggest problem is something I worked very hard with during our early years. My father helped me with it because my husband and I lived quite a distance from my family. He said, “If you and your husband are fighting, please don’t involve us. Because we will want to protect you. You may make up five miles down the road, but because we don’t know, we’re still mad at your husband, and for you, everything is fine.”
My father gave me many pieces of phenomenal advice, and that was one of the best. I did have to train my husband, however, to stop calling his sister or his mother any time we had a conflict. It didn’t solve the conflict and only served to drive a wedge between me and his family. After a couple of years of being away from family, we learned to turn to each other when trouble hit. But it didn’t happen without concerted effort on the part of both of us.
And the last thing I learned was to make sure that life didn’t get so serious we forgot why we got together in the first place. Most people are attracted to their life-long mates because there was an element of fun and zest when the two of you got together. After starting a life together, it’s altogether too easy to forget to make time for fun and romance. Life can be hard work, but it doesn’t have to be hard all the time.
Just the other day, my husband of many, many years was upset about a review at work. We were going to go to the hardware store for a chore the next day. But sizing up the situation, I suggest a drive to a town an hour and a half away from us. There the weather was cooler, rainy (which we both love) and had a brew pub we both enjoyed. What started as a ho-hum day turned into an adventure where we both remembered once again why we were together.