I have come to understand that setbacks could be caused more by our actions and inactions (that is, the things we do and the things we fail to do) than external influences. We are in an era where marriages are crashing left right and center; relationships are breaking up and singles are afraid to get married. So many singles now find it difficult to be committed in any relationship. Marriage as an institution has become one of the most dysfunctional institutions in the world. A lot of marriages these days hinge their existence and survival on the children; some are holding on because of religious and cultural beliefs; others are just there believing that life itself has not been fair; so, why should marriage be beautiful. Marriage can actually be beautiful.
As I said earlier, it has become obvious that we are not really doing enough to strengthen this institution. A relationship cannot succeed by itself; it is the amount of effort we put into it that determines what we get in return. This is not to negate love as the foundation. If you do not really love someone; do not expect magic to happen to the relationship. Do not expect to build anything because nothing is built on nothing. That is, something must be built on something. All other elements of relationship- communication, care, trust, forgiveness, etc are all built on love. If you don’t really love your partner; if you’ve not experienced that closeness, that passion for your partner, you must pause; ask yourself some salient questions before you continue. If you truly share love; then avoid this ten attitudes lest they ruin your love; remember, true love is difficult to find.
Most times, we take many things for granted believing we are in love and as it is said, “love endures all things”. It is true that love endures but we must also be careful not to take it for granted. We must not neglect ourselves; that is, our physical appearance and other aspects of our aesthetic self. We must not take our partner for granted. We should ensure that those little things such as pet names, little gifts, phone calls and chats if you’re apart are not neglected. We may not readily see their importance but they do a whole lot. Check on your partner even at work, even if you left the house together in the morning, call at breaks etc. these are little ways of sustaining the love you have.
- Failing to Understudy Your Partner.
Once you find out you truly love someone, you need to understudy the person by paying close attention to his/her actions. This is the best way we can understand their values and principles. Such virtues and values as respect, courtesy, tolerance, forgiveness, humility etc are all credible catalysts that make love glow better and better. Take for instance, you are bad tempered as a young lady and you’re carried away by all his love and you’re too blinded by the love that you didn’t notice that he has a worse temper until it’s a bit late. You know what that means.
When we understand the values of our partner, we can synthesize them with ours and see how we can cope and work together. Do not be carried away by so much love that you fail to study who you’re dealing with. Love is no longer blind; it sees a lot of things these days. So, help yourself when you can.
- Not Bringing Out Your Own Values:
It is not enough to see the values or vices in your partner. You too must bring your own values and virtues to play. Being a man is not to yourself and being a woman is not to yourself either. What makes you a man should be offered to the woman to enjoy. A woman who has a man in her life should feel the presence of that man. The woman must feel secure, loved and protected. What makes you a man is only made manifest when a woman brings them out. It is therefore not easy to say you are really a man when a woman hasn’t said so. The same applies to a woman. You are only a woman if a man says you are. Everything a man wants in a woman is summed up in the word “respect”. The concept of womanhood is incomplete if a man is not involved. When you fail to make your presence felt in the life of your partner, even if the love is built on rock, it can only endure for a while. Play the role of a woman to him; He is incomplete without a woman. Fill that vacuum. Play the role of a man in her life; she is insecure; she’s feeble; she’s lonely. And that love will endure for as long as you live.
This is the opposite of what is discussed above. This form of selfishness might not be deliberate; it is possible that we think our actions are okay. It is possible we hurt someone without knowing it. It is possible we exist yet there’s a vacuum. Your partner would surely interpret that as being selfish. If you are always interested in what your partner should do to grow the relationship, if you are always conscious of what he/she hasn’t done right, you might not successfully endure together. Those are signs of self-centeredness. You should be concerned more about your own roles in the relationship. You should be concerned about how to become a better man to her or a better woman to him. Think of what you’ll bring into someone’s life before thinking of what you’ll take. Talking about an Emotional Bank Account, Stephen Covey says:
“If I make deposits into an emotional bank account with you through courtesy, kindness, respect, love and keeping my commitments, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve will compensate for it…”
- Using Silence as a Tool:
Silence could be misinterpreted to mean so many things. You must learn how to talk things over. Neither silence nor withdrawal is effective in sorting things out except if you’re just hanging out together. That is, there’s no true love between you. The longer the silence lasts, the more the love diminishes. Doubts, distrust and other negative attitudes will begin to build up. It destroys true love.
- Forcing Change:
It is dangerous to believe you can change your partner in the first place. It is worse for you to be doing it by force. It is possible for people to change their attitudes and habits but that is only effective if they discover the need to do so on their own. You cannot stop your partner from smoking for instance by burning all the cigarettes in the house or black mailing him. Find a way to make him see the dangers in smoking. Two things happen when you try to change your partner’s attitude by force. One is that he/she may start pretending to be doing as you say for peace to reign. Two is that the person becomes defensive. Both results are recipes for failure in a relationship. Genuine change comes through self awareness, self development and knowledge acquisition. You can influence or inspire your partner to change but you cannot compel him/her to do that.
I have seen several ladies who always want revenge instead of forgiveness. It’s more on the ladies because some of these grievous offences are committed more by men. Even when some of these ladies agree to forgive, they never forget. If there’s true love and the apology is genuine, only forgiveness can savage the stain. Revenge simply proves that you are never who you think you are. You are not really revenging; you’re actually trying to do what you think you’ve been bared from doing since. When you revenge or refuse to forgive it simply means that love never existed ab initio. If you allow your partner to have an iota of conviction that you haven’t forgiven him, the relationship is in danger. It is however, pertinent to say that false forgiveness aimed at protecting the relationship is as good as having not forgiven at all. It’ll still take its toll on the relationship because you’ll always remember and sometimes talk about it especially when similar issues are in the front burner. So, it is better to focus on yourself and push yourself to the level of maturity that can handle such a situation rather than just thinking about the relationship. Revenge destroys relationship.
- Blame Game:
There will always be a misunderstanding of information or a misinterpretation of actions. When this happens and you begin to blame each other on who said what should not be said or who reacted in a manner that was wrong and it is allowed to linger, the chances you’ll crash is building up. This situation could be misinterpreted to mean that you don’t take corrections and all of that. It is okay to put things in the right perspective but it must not degenerate to war of words which may lead to other worse situations.
- Lack of Appreciation:
Saying thank you even if it’s for being there alone goes a long way to strengthen relationship bonds. Appreciate who you have in your life. Celebrate your love as much as you can. If he/she has affected your life positively, say it and appreciate it. You can imagine how you feel, the joy and light that flows into you when someone says, “you have really brought so much joy into my life; what could I have done better without you”. It is a finishing touch to genuine love. Lack of it makes everything and everywhere so dry.
- Lack of Adventure:
It is good to once in a while forget yourselves and allow the boat of love to carry you away. Feel so free, be naughty, and try new things and new ways of bonding. You could be in the house or a designated place. Be safe though, adventures could be dangerous. Do not always be formal and churchy. Haba! Loosen it up a bit; memories are made of these too!