The internet is teeming with too many relationship tips and advice, making it difficult to filter the wise from the silly. So I’ve had to rely on credible sources for guidance and transpose them on my own experiences to navigate through my own relationships with some success.
One relationship tip I’ve learned is, don’t assume that if you grow up in a happy and harmonious family environment like I did, your own adult life would be as problem-free emotionally. As it was, I wasn’t prepared for life’s harsh realities and relationships with dysfunctional people. Not to say that I’m perfect though, haha. But if I had known then what I know now, life would have gone on more even-keeled and I could have done away with the unnecessary drama and emotional turmoil I went through. So stay with, and learn from, me.
10 Relationship Tips I Learned the Hard Way
1. Don’t lose yourself
Falling in love is disastrous if you allow your partner to own you. A fundamental relationship tip: don’t lose your identity. I did but I’ve since rekindled ties with my friends and spend time with them. I insist on pursuing my own interests and hobbies, and having “alone” time, or time away from him. Controlling men will determine how they want you to behave, stop you from seeing your friends or doing what you love to do. Don’t be trapped into obeying them.
2. Set boundaries
At the start of any relationship, always set the boundaries on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior from your partner. You may discuss the scope for emotional boundaries. Don’t allow them to use abusive language or twist stories to your disadvantage. As for privacy, personally I don’t share my passwords for emails and social media accounts and I don’t believe in shared accounts. But limits to physical behavior should be very specific. Assault and violence are definite no-nos. You should get out at the first incident of violence.
3. Lower your expectations
I’ve since learned that our men weren’t born to fulfill our needs or meet our expectations. So I have done away with too lofty standards. If you want your partner to be a corporate executive or a successful businessman but still be the perfect husband and father, and expect him to be present in all the kids’ school activities, spend more time with you, travel frequently for vacations, etc., keep in mind that there’s a trade-off for everything. Your man has to prioritize, and you can’t have it all.
Related reading: 13 Quotes to Help You Deal with Expectations
4. Stay committed
Stick around during the hard times. In my marriage, I’ve fallen out of love many times and met challenges of all kinds. Health, financial problems, annoying idiosyncrasies and serious quarrels have put strains on our relationship. But a relationship tip that the elders always told me was, “Don’t give up immediately. Have faith that the hard times are temporary and the love you had just took a respite and will be back.”
5. Always communicate
Communication is necessary for any relationship to flourish. It’s not only about talking; it’s more about paying attention and being there. It’s showing interest in and sharing information about each other’s activities. It’s actively listening and asking questions. It’s exchanging and respecting each other’s points of views without forcing the other to yield.
Related reading: 3 Tips for Enhancing Communication with Mindful Listening
6. Be someone your partner can depend on
This should work both ways. I may fight and scream and sulk but at the end of the day, if either of us encounters a problem or has an adversary, we know we can count on each other to be there. If he is passed by for a promotion and is upset about it, or I, God forbid, am in a car accident and need emotional support, without question we just know we’ll support one another.
7. Handle your finances with care
Although I’ve never had this problem, being a prudent spender, I’ve seen many marriages break up because of financial mismanagement. It’s usually one partner maxing out credit cards or getting hooked on gambling, and the discovery of huge debts deals a death blow to the relationship. Being mindful of expenses and each other’s activities can prevent such an occurrence and save the union.
8. Focus on the good qualities
When he still teaches me how to drive and I’ve been doing it for so many years. Or he suddenly decides we go see a movie and expects me to be ready in 10 minutes. Or I have a juicy story to tell and he just wants to know how it ends, minus the details. These are only three of the hundred annoying things I hate about my partner. But I think of his redeeming qualities (uh, what are they again?) and I count myself lucky.
9. Learn housekeeping
I’m not a feminist and if my partner is a slob, I simply remind him to cooperate. But I keep the house clean, change the linens, and cook decent meals. These are mundane activities that nevertheless help a good relationship be better. Help is always available but it’s nice to know I can manage if they go.
10. Keep the sex going
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that physical intimacy is essential for a relationship to last. Men and women may view the need for sex in different ways. But if you look at Pres. Trump who’s in his 70’s, and your man is half his age, you’ll understand why.