Sex & Life
By Damilola Ojenike
A ‘good adult relationship’ means different things to different people. And there are many different kinds of relationships. The couple relationship may be the most important one in our society. It is often the main relationship in people’s lives; it is the basis of a family (and this is the place where most of us learn about adult love, about negotiation, about how to change and how to compromise), and it is often an economic unit.
What does a good relationship need?
It will vary from one person to another, but most people would probably agree that respect, companionship, mutual emotional support, sexual expression, economic security and, often, child rearing are all important parts of an adult relationship.
Any partner will have qualities, characteristics, and behaviors that push your buttons and test your sanity. To make your relationship last, you have to accept your partner unconditionally—quirks, behavior, flaws, and all. First, you make the commitment to accepting them completely.
Once the chase is over and we’ve gotten the prize, we often just forget about our partner’s feelings and needs. In lasting relationships, both partners value each other and take care with their words, actions, and behaviors.
If you’re not willing to share what’s going on with you or what you need from your partner, you’re not going to get what you need. Yet, as men and women too—out of shame or a habit built over a lifetime of bottling up our feelings—don’t want to let anyone else in on what’s going on with us.
- Trust and Honesty
You have to be willing to trust your partner not only with your feelings but with your weaknesses. You will have to learn trust at the emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Trust and honesty take practice and earned one step at a time.
Empathy means trying to understand what your partner is feeling. It isn’t about trying to fix your partner’s concerns and problems, necessarily, but about being able to be there for them.
Do all the things for your partner that you would do for your best friend. Try to anticipate their needs. Think about what they need help with and try to be there for them.
You have to be committed to your partner, yes. But more than commitment to your partner, you have to be committed to the relationship. If you think about the health and future of the relationship instead of just your own, you’re likely to take more constructive actions and behave differently.
You will be offended and feel hurt many times throughout a relationship. The key is to forgive quickly, let go of grudges, and start over each day.
It may sound clichéd, but giving up on firm positions, unbendable views of the world, and what each of you want to do independently of the other person is another important step to lasting love.
After some times in relationship, we often forget to show love and affection towards our partners. Affection can be as simple as touching, holding, or kissing your partner for no reason at all. It’s a warm embrace, a light touch, a loving word, or any other small way you can show your partner that you love them.
We all take our partners for granted sometimes. If you can regularly remind yourself how lucky you are and how valuable your partner is, and tell them so, you will boost the happiness and longevity of your relationship.
Most of the time, people don’t really understand us. Everyone has different opinions. Validating your partner shows them that you’re on their side. When you understand and accept what they say, they feel fully seen, heard, and accepted.
Relationships can be difficult. Focusing on external qualifiers make it even harder. But successful relationships require something much deeper than shared interests or physical attraction. Maintaining a healthy, happy relationship requires you to make daily choices that leave your ego behind and act in the best interest of your relationship rather than just yourself