August 27, 2014 at 12:27 am #9945
I thought we needed a good ol’ discussion on good relationships. I am constantly seeing “marriage tips” and “relationship advice” articles all over the place. I think it’s actually been the hottest/most popular topic of all for like, eternity? But I notice that probably 90% (or even more) of these are just regurgitated content that doesn’t offer anything people don’t already know, or use themselves in their marriages/relationships.
Since I just finished reading yet another one of those articles and thought about how much time I’ve probably wasted on the thousands of same tips, it occurred to me that it’s probably better to simply ask real people!
So, what are some things you try to do to maintain a great relationship/marriage? Do any of you have any original ways of maintaining happiness, joy, bonding, newness, excitement, etc. in your marriages/relationships? I’d love to hear any of them!
I think one of the main ways we’ve kept ours amazing is by being so raw and open about our love for each other. Oh, you’ve probably read that one before in some magazine, too, but just hang on..
It’s not just telling each other “I love you” a third time every day (the other two times being the typical good night and I’m leaving “I love yous”). We go pretty far with it. We’ve actually not missed a single day of telling each other how stunning the other is. I’m talking “you’re my one and only. You’re in a category all to yourself because nobody could compare” … It can get pretty sappy, so I’ll spare you the further details, but we do this on a daily basis, and multiple times for that matter! We’re always speaking of how much the other gets us going.
You would be surprised at what an impact speaking up about your positive thoughts/feelings towards your spouse has. I used to be somewhat reserved about telling him of the strength of my deep feelings for him out of fear that he’d be less interested. I just had it in my head that once you showed “too much interest” they backed off. Yet we’ve been together 8 years, so I finally came to the conclusion it was safe to speak. Lol.
Anyways, back on topic. Basically any opportunity to speak highly of each other or give compliments, we take em. Heck, we create opportunities. One of my favorites is when my spouse says “can I ask you something? Will you promise to be 100% honest?” And then he asks me what it’s like to be the entire world to him, his one and only.” That never fails to put the world’s biggest smile on my face.
That’s one thing. I think it’s really important to make a habit of daily compliments, of course if they’re true and not just flattery. Anytime you see your lover doing something amazing, saying something intelligent, looking great, accomplishing something awesome, etc. you could stand to speak up.
I guess we just really love contributing to each other’s feelings good.
Another thing I try to do personally is be fun. Silly maybe. But I have a fear of becoming too predictable and boring. I want to be kind of mysterious where my S/O doesn’t always know exactly what to expect of me and my everyday behavior. I guess I like to surprise him (and I’m not just talking sexual stuff here.) I try to be fun, create funny discussions and stuff like that, but I’m stuck on ideas now! lol.
Those are two ways. Mine are lengthy and detailed, so I hope you guys won’t hesitate to share anything and everything, too! 😉 Perhaps you have a “tip” that you go by, or something you’ve created yourself that makes your relationship ‘better’. Or maybe you just have ideas of what you think would create greatness in relationships, even if you aren’t in one yourself at the moment. Then again, you might have been given amazing advice/tips that you’ve found successful in marriage/relationships that you want to share..
August 27, 2014 at 1:39 am #9949
My advice is to COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE. That’s the primary polyamorous mantra, but I think it applies to basically all relationships. You’re not going to get anywhere unless you know what’s going on with the other person!
Furthermore, getting a little more specific, it’s really important to evaluate what each partner needs in a relationship. “Fairness” and “equality” isn’t as important as satisfaction. Some people want the whole relationship to revolve around them, some people like talking more than listening, some people like a lot of space. I like a lot of space, and I prefer someone who doesn’t mind being called on whenever I feel like not being all self-contained anymore. And all of these relationship styles CAN be functional, if everyone knows what they’re getting into, and wants the same thing. Some people want to be the only source of income, and some people want to be supported. I think, as long as everyone is informed and on the same page, anything could be workable.
August 27, 2014 at 2:45 am #9960
Well said, Amalthea! I love this part: “if everyone knows what they’re getting into, and wants the same thing.”
Absolutely right! I always say that above all else, you should be clear on what each other wants (in pretty much every single area of life) before the relationship gets serious. I learned this in my own relationship. I had no idea how important it was to know what each other wanted/expected before my relationship. Knowing these things about each other before things get serious really can do a world of good in the long run. Wouldn’t want any surprises later on that could be deal-breakers for you or your spouse. It’s really good to just lay it all out on the table from the get go, in my opinion.
And like you said — be on the same page where it matters. That’s a top priority for me. Being on the same page with your wants (and non-wants! Lol) really does matter. Glad you mentioned those. 😉
August 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm #10164
I agree with both of you girls Amalthea and @Kendra .
“` <em>And like you said — be on the same page where it matters. That’s a top priority for me. Being on the same page with your wants (and non-wants! Lol) really does matter. Glad you mentioned those. ;)</em>
Being on the same page on the Important items (not taste in music, food, clothes or other material things), but having the Same values is the Major Key for a Successful relationship! Your music tastes can change..same with what you wear or how you look, but if you are on different pages on your values, the relationship will never work. (This is probably the biggest reason why 50% of marriages fail, they are only concerned with the material things and not the real Values)
For example, if being a Christian is extremely important for you and you date someone that is Athiest, they will never feel that void that you have for a “christian”. There are other values that are important to talk about with your partner as well, this is just an example.
August 29, 2014 at 2:04 am #10198
Jsnitz: Exactly! Well said, too. You said exactly the things I was thinking, but you said it far better than how I worded it. I can certainly see those being the main things that lead to failed relationships. It sounds like you have a really good idea of how relationships work. 🙂
Values — yes! That is where it counts. It’s easy to have the mindset of ‘oh, it isn’t that important if my significant other and I disagree on certain values,’ but I think that one minor disagreement on something tends to be a sort of link to other disagreements in other areas of thinking, if that even makes sense. Lol. I mean, it seems like if people don’t agree on values, even if it’s just one value, then the two have different ways of thinking in more areas as a whole than just one simple thing, and that adds up to a lot of disagreements.
I’m very tired as I type this, so that could make zero sense. In fact, by tomorrow it might not even make much sense to me! Lol. I have a really hard time getting my thoughts across with words sometimes, especially when I’m this tired, but hopefully my point is somewhat clear enough.
I guess a far more simple way to put it would’ve been to just say “one disagreement leads to more.” Lol.
Another reason why it’s so important to agree on some things (even opinions), is because if you are on totally different sides, then it’s possible you won’t be able to see each others’ points. A lot of times I can see a point my spouse has that differs from mine and still respect it and be fine that his view might differ from my own, but those aren’t the really important things in life.
One example that comes to mind is a couple I know who are so much alike that it’s baffling, yet they absolutely can’t seem to get along. They had totally different opinions on one particular topic (abortion, to be exact), which didn’t matter because at that point, it was just an opinion about something that happens in the world, you know? Like opinions regarding politics, kind of…. Until it came down to it not being just a topic to discuss, debate or disagree on anymore. It was an actual thing they had to face in their personal lives. So what a horrible thing to be stuck with disagreeing on when it happens to make its way into your life. And one party feels that abortion is the right choice, yet the other spouse can’t forgive the person they love and have been with for almost a decade. That’s the kind of thing that breaks my heart to see. They just can’t see eye-to-eye on it and it’s something so big and with such an impact on both.
It’s those things, like you said, that ruin relationships. It’s so easy to overlook the importance of making sure your views and stuff line up in the beginning of a relationship. You think you won’t ever run into something so big that you disagree on so intensely that you just forgo ever even discussing it ahead of time. It seems minor while you’re still in the beginning stages of a relationship, and isn’t until you’ve ever been confronted with big disagreements that you realize you have to sit down and really get clear on basically everything.
That’s why I’ve said that discussing the things that are important to you in every area of your life is absolutely necessary before you ever get too serious with someone. I didn’t realize this myself in any relationship I’d been in up until this last one (which has been going strong for 8 years now.) And we spent probably the first year of our lives talking and talking about personal things that were important to us. We never ran out of new ideas and views to discuss with each other, and we still find new ones all the time! In fact, there was a new view to discuss just last night when we learned about the 9 year old girl who was in that shooting accident during a shooting lesson. I won’t go into details since it was such a horrifically negative thing and I wouldn’t want to upset anybody here, but most of you have probably seen it in the news…
Anyways, that was just one thing that my S/O & I found ourselves discussing in depth and finding our stance with it. I had my own view about how something like that should be handled and whether or not I would be okay with our kids (future talking) were to shoot guns at early ages. His could’ve very easily differed greatly from mine. Over something seemingly so simple and something that seems it would never be a situation we’d have to deal with, yet it is a big thing. If I was totally against guns and didn’t want them anywhere near myself or my house, but he was a gun enthusiast… We’d have some problems to work through.
Those things seem so minor and un-important when you’re just falling in love, and you sometimes think that everything will just work out, ignoring having to discuss or deal with possible disagreements. Sometimes people just automatically expect that their spouse will give in and just toss away his/her values and opinions and morals to agree with whatever you want. I’ve also seen people ignore those important things and just go with the flow, thinking that if it ever comes down to a serious disagreement on something, they will just give in themselves and let it be however their spouse prefers. Nobody’s values, morals, opinions are of higher importance, though. Each person’s are equally as important, so these are not things you can just compromise on. Of course it’s very possible to find middle ground (and that happens a lot), but not every case will allow it to go that easy.
Something I appreciate about the relationship I have with my love is that we did some of our growing up together, as a couple. I was 15 when we got together and he was 18, so we were still forming our opinions and stuff. And throughout that time, my views on very important matters have changed drastically. Some things have even changed entirely, some beliefs and views of mine, so I did kind of worry that we could run into a problem and drift apart or something, but we never have. Even as our views (and us ourselves, really) evolved, we have always kind of kept the same kind of mind-sets. It’s amazing to me that it worked out that way for us. I guess communication.
You mentioned how things like taste in music and stuff is one thing that doesn’t matter so much about agreeing on, but the values and morals & all would make it pretty impossible to have a successful relationship without agreements. So true. And it made me think of something else… I’ve known people who thought their close friends, family and significant other *had* to agree with them on every single thing! Music, food, everything. If they didn’t, then the person would be highly upset. That’s overboard, and is unrealistic because it’s impossible to have a total duplicate of yourself, and why would anyone want that? Lol.
On the other hand, I’ve known people who were so passive and lacked any strong feelings or values at all that they could get along with anybody. That’s actually a negative quality, and the relationship usually doesn’t work out (although it sounds like it’d be the easiest relationship in the world! lol.) I have seen for myself how it really does make it hard (if not impossible) to be in a relationship where one person basically has no views or strong opinions and will just go with the flow no matter what. It’d be boring for one thing, but seems like it would be frustrating to be with someone like that, too. I wonder about the stability or development of somebody who doesn’t have their own thoughts/views about things. It’s like they don’t have a personality or something! lol.
The Christian and Atheist example was a really good one! I think it would be so hard to really connect with someone who’s beliefs were totally opposite of mine, and if their beliefs are opposite, it seems that other things would come into place that wouldn’t line up with each other too. I’m not sure how to explain that in a way that makes good sense (I tried to in the beginning of this very long message Lol.) I mean, a lot of times when views or beliefs like that are totally different from each other, then the people tend to be extremely different in many other ways as well. Again, to clarify, I’m not saying you have to be almost completely alike to have a successful relationship, but things have to meet up. When your beliefs, views and opinions that are of most importance to you line up, then you tend to line up in other areas too. This has been my experience anyways.
Plus, there’s the whole part of respect for your S/O and their beliefs and opinions. It’s so easy for people to not get along when the most important things in their lives are mis-matched. It allows for a lot of room to harbor hard feelings towards each other, even just from an inability to really understand each other. Just as important that you can understand each other and your point of views. You want to be able to understand what makes your love feel and think the way they do. It helps you get along, too when you can understand those parts of them.
Humans just aren’t always perfect when it comes to treating others with the respect you want. I’ve seen SO much belittling in relationships of people around me who don’t see eye-to-eye on things. So much hurt, too. It’s like it’s a breeding ground for disappointment and sometimes even putting each other down, or thinking your own views/opinions/beliefs are more significant that your love’s.
Different beliefs, such as in the example you presented about faith and non, usually means different lifestyles, too, and well, there’s another thing that kind of adds to the block that separates people who are just simply too different.
That said, it’s only natural that we’ll argue, even the most loving couples will argue. We may see eye-to-eye and even be darn near identical in our views/values with our love, but there are always misunderstandings that happen. Which leads me to yet another thing (lol) — misunderstandings are another contributor to failed relationships, especially when the misunderstandings are due to lack of communication. That’s why I’m so fond of super detailed explanations. Just taking your perception of something your love says and not clarifying what they mean (even when you think you’re certain of their meaning) can lead to a whole crazy misunderstood mess. I’ve been there many times! Lol. I have misunderstood the meaning of something my love has tried explaining or said and took it totally different than what he actually meant. Now days, we ask “do you mean…” before letting it go further because some things could sound as if they mean something that is upsetting, and instead of clarifying and re-wording to make more sense, I’ve sometimes replied back in a way that was rude when he was only stating something as neutral as “I am taking a shower.” Lol. Assumptions. They can be major pains! Especially if you’re an over-analyzer like me. 😉
Of course I do enjoy some fun, light-hearted debates with my spouse, though. As long as they’re friendly and of a topic that neither of us are sensitive or have strong feelings about, we can usually enjoy them. Sometimes even topics that we do feel strongly about are fun and easy to joke about. We do that all the time, but always kindly and with respect to each other. Nothing wrong with the little disagreements, like music tastes that you mentioned. My significant other & I often make comments about each others’ taste in music. I’ll tell him his music taste sucks, and he’ll tell me mine is lame. 😉 I’m 100% okay with that, and have even admitted myself that some songs that I love are lame as can be. Lol. But I just like the beat or like the way I feel listening to it. And his excuse for liking lame songs is that they remind him of me, so I can’t get too mad at him over that! Lol.
Okay, okay! I must shut up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire website didn’t crash due to an overload of my talking! Lol. Oh gosh. I’ll cringe when I see how long this really is. You poor people! You do not have to read all this. Don’t want to scare ya’ll off. This is one of my worst habits — lengthy talking. ;/
August 27, 2014 at 9:05 am #9976
All well said but it is sometimes difficult to do it practically. Most of us are good but we find ourselves in a relationship with a different person.
I came to realize that one will have a difficult life if you have a partner who is always doing anything to compete and to proof that they are better too. In that case they are not even ready to listen or be advised, they are in a relationship.
August 29, 2014 at 2:33 am #10202
Sorry to make even more posts already, but I wanted to respond to this comment, too. Zacc: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. I appreciate what you had to say, and agree that it can be easy to end up in a relationship with someone who isn’t particularly “good,” even though we are. I think this sort of thing goes back to ‘we attract everything and everyone we come in contact with,’ even if we don’t intend to! Law of attraction talk, there. Competing with people, especially the person you love, is not cool. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, of course, as long as it’s all done in a good, friendly manner, but the type of relationship you described doesn’t sound so fun. 🙁
Every couple has their fun, and enjoys the occasional competitions such as in a game with their spouse or something light-hearted and fun. And healthy couples who aren’t taking competition to extreme extents will either win or lose in their competition against each other, but both will be the winner. They won’t be rude about it, or be trying to prove themselves to be something better.
When you have a partner who’s “always doing anything to compete, and to prove they are better…” that take healthy, friendly and occasional competition too far. Can’t be too healthy, and it would feel terrible (if they’re always doing anything to compete, as you said.) It shouldn’t be an always thing, and one shouldn’t go so far as to do anything to compete. Usually that kind of need for competition seems like it stems from insecurities. People who are that intent on competing usually do it in an attempt to, like you said, prove something, and it’s usually proving that they’re “better” in some way. I’ve seen that, too, Sorry you had to learn this in such a way. I’m not much of a competitive person as it is, so I certainly wouldn’t do well in that type of a relationship. It’s not necessary to go to those lengths with your spouse, the person you’re supposed to love. Not when it gets to the point of hurting or feeling less significant or as if one partner is better. It should be equal. Competition should be fun, like in a game of ping-pong or something 😉 In that case, the winner can have their victory and fun, but not when it’s not friendly anymore.
You don’t want to feel like you have to compete with the person who you’re supposed to be in love with and be equal with. It’s so much easier to just be who you are, and enjoy each other. I think I’d have to agree with you on that one — one who feels the need to compete to that extent doesn’t seem like they’re in a good state for a relationship. Not a very healthy one, anyways.
Amalthea: True — there are plenty of people who enjoy a healthy, friendly debate, even sometimes a heated one. Fun arguments and debates (that are not serious or hurtful in any way) are natural. That’s okay. My own “rule of thumb” is as long as everyone is having fun and are being friendly, then it’s okay. It’s when someone does it with negative intentions (such as the situations Zacc described where someone would do “anything to compete and with the intentions of proving they’re better”) or as a way to attack someone else’s beliefs/opinions and put them down, is when it’s just unhealthy. Especially with a spouse. We should not want to prove that we’re better all the time because we’d only be wanting to do that as a way of putting someone else down to make ourself feel like the “better” one. We shouldn’t use other people’s lack to feel better about ourselves.
A debate is one thing. They’re typically friendly and not something we go overboard with. Avoiding being insensitive or hurting the other person’s feelings is really all it takes to enjoy the fun of a debate. If one can’t debate in a healthy friendly manner with their spouse, then they should join a debate team or something. Lol.
Like you said, when they want to make their partner feel bad in some way, that’s when there’s a problem. We should want to uplift our partners and make them feel good, ya know? Most of us enjoy that, not putting them down, but you’re right — I’ve seen couples who feed off each others’ hostility and put each other down. I know one in particular who literally have no limits to beating each other down as far as humanly possible, and then laughing. It’s just their “way,” but it’s so hurtful and so hard to watch them! It turns into a constant attack of each other, and that’s no way to be to the person you’re supposed to love.
I like how you put it — “as long as they agree on how to do life together, it seems to work.” That must explain the couple I know who totally attack everything about each other. They feed off of it! But they stay together all these years because their way of living, and lifestyle is matched up. I also think they thrive for each others’ hostile personal attacks. LOL. Crazy as that sounds, it’s true. It’s like a love/hate thing, I guess. I never understood it.
Thanks everyone for chiming in. I am (as you can probably painfully tell) thoroughly enjoying this conversation! You guys are really fun to chat with, so I hope my too much rambling doesn’t run you off. From this comment on, I promise I’ll keep it short. ;/
August 29, 2014 at 12:06 am #10175
Hmm, but @zacc, I’ve found that some people really like having partners they can debate with, or compete with, or otherwise engage in constructive conflict with. The problem ends up when one partner uses their differences to make the other feel worse in some way…
So, I’ve seen long-lasting, “successful” marriages between believers/non-believers, democrats and republicans, career rivals and the like… some people really do feed off of argument, somehow. As long as they agree on “how to do life together,” it seems to work out.
October 7, 2015 at 6:58 am #36942
I am not sure I would ever want a “constructive conflict” from my wife. I am sure all disagreements can be discussed in a civilized way. A disagreement should not be made into a conflict anyway.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.