With so many divorces, failed dating relationships and increasing friends with benefit couplings it’s a wonder any couples survive. So what’s the magic that makes one relationship work while ten others fail? Is it karma, luck of the draw or plain old coincidence that leads one relationship to succeed while another fails?
The truth is—it’s none of these.
Successful relationships happen when two healthy people decide to bring their best selves to the relationship.
With the daily pressures of finances, work, children etc., it becomes all too easy to allow relationships to take a back seat. It’s common for individuals to get lazy, take their partner for granted and to continue to think and act like a single person while in a committed relationship. A bad day at work, leads to snapping at home. Financial strains lead to shutting down and tuning loved ones out. Children acting out lead to working longer hours outside the home to avoid the chaos. Slowly but surely these pressures create greater distance between couples who spend so much time trying to bring their best selves to the office that they have nothing left to bring home.
Saving relationships requires a flip in this tendency. If you truly want a great relationship, you have to be great in it. You have to bring your best self to the equation rather than getting lazy, letting your hair down and assuming your partner will take it. “For better or worse” does not mean you get to take advantage of the people in your life and be your worst self to those who are supposed to be the most important to you. Those who are most important should always be treated best.
Successful relationships happen when two people love each other enough to not take one another for granted. They happen when two people listen to one another’s upsets and try to fix them rather than defend against them. Successful relationships happen when you have two equals who behave as though what they say to one another matters. They treat each other and their relationship as a priority.
I know many people who act extremely selfish in their relationships. They ignore their partner’s upsets, do whatever they want to do and are quite frankly obnoxious and selfish to live with. These characteristics do not bode well in relationships. If you want to do what you want, snap when you don’t like what you’re partner says and constantly justify your poor behavior while angrily complaining about your partners, then perhaps you should be single. Selfishness and harshness is downer for anyone to be around.
Healthy relationships are about a balance of give and take. They require that you bring your best self to the table. If you’re only interested in having your partner cater to you then it’s only a matter of time before you will wear him/her out. Be the partner you wish to be with and hold your partner accountable to do the same. Anything less will produce poor results…in any relationship with any partner.
Challenge: If you’re unhappy in your relationship take an honest look at your behavior and decide if you’ve honestly been bringing your best self to this relationship. If the answer is no—start changing. If the answer is yes, then has your partner been bringing his/her best self to this relationship? If the answer is no, then start holding him/her accountable for doing so.