How many times have you heard ‘all you need is love’? or ‘Love conquers everything’?
It’s a cute idea, but unfortunately it’s nonsense.
In certain cultures people can get married without even having spent time together before the wedding day, yet they still go on to have beautiful, strong and often loving relationships. Others fall deeply in love with an abuser who destroys them.
Love is easy – you fall into it, you fall out of it, it just happens. A good relationship needs you to put in some effort.
In the example I gave above – falling in love with an abuser – there are some really important things missing.
A good relationship requires respect – from both parties. It doesn’t mean that you always have to agree, but you must respect each others feelings. If you dismiss how someone feels, or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way, it’s not respecting them. If you accept this behaviour from someone else – you’re not respecting yourself.
Trust can take time to build, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past. It can be destroyed in seconds. It’s one of the most fragile things in any relationship and must be handled with care. Whilst it’s obviously important to honour the trust someone gives you, it’s equally important to give that trust in the first place. Yes, you may have been hurt before, but if the hurt was caused by someone else, it’s deeply unfair to punish your partner for the behaviour of someone else.
Courtesy is the little things – the ‘pleases’ and ‘thankyous’. The ‘bless you’ when you sneeze, the ‘pardon me’ when you burp. It’s the small polite things that demonstrate that you are thinking about the other person all the time.
Caring and Kindness
Caring is kind of like Love light, but it’s just as important. Showing that you care about what sort of day they had. Caring about their sore foot. Caring if they are tired or want to talk. I’m not saying their feelings should always come first, but show them that you care about it. Be kind. It’s simple but if we all treated our partners with kindness we would end abuse immediately.
To me one of the biggest things about any relationship I have is reliability. Doing what I said I would, when I said I’d do it. Showing up, every time. I can rely on my partner and they can rely on me.
Responsibility is about owning the obligations in the relationship and not giving excuses. I am responsible for my behaviour – no-one else. If I put myself in situations where I get drunk, take drugs, have other people influence me, that’s still my responsibility.
I need to be honest with myself and my partner – all the time. I also expect that from them. This links back to the trust. If I want them to trust me, and I want to be happy trusting them, we need to be honest – even when it’s hard or it hurts.
Honesty is worthless if there is no communication. If someone doesn’t tell you something that’s bothering them, that’s a form of dishonesty. If you don’t tell me, how can I possibly do something about it. People seem to think that their partner should be able to read their mind. Unless you’re dating Derren Brown, that could be a little unfair.
An here’s the big one. If I’m in a relationship with you, I’m committing to it. 100% There are no days off, there are no exceptions. All of the above, all of the time. As I said at the beginning the love part is easy – it just happens. Maybe I’ll fall in love with someone else – I’m not in control of that. But what I am in control of is my thoughts and behaviours, and if I’m committed to the relationship, I will shut down any of the other stuff before it’s a problem.
Love just happens – a good relationship is much more beautiful than that.
Jealousy is a horrible destructive emotion. If you need help getting over negative emotions, you should consider a therapy like hypnotherapy or BWRT.