Sometimes relationships seem so complicated, don't they?
You love the person you are with and yet you fight with them. You want to feel close yet you push your partner away. You want to share a life together but find it hard to share a bathroom. You long for an intimate relationship but are so afraid to trust.Being part of a couple seems increasingly difficult in modern times.
In "the olden days" a young man and woman fell in love, got married, had children together and for the most part grew old together. Since the seventies, divorce has been on the increase and now statistics show that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Coinciding with the divorce rate increase has been the lessening of the number of marriages, so that more and more couples are simply living together. Every week I consult with couples who have flexible living arrangements such as living apart, living apart during the week but staying together on week ends, alternating homes, living together but leaving the children at another residence etc. The divorce rate, not marrying and even not living together indicate that individuals today find it very difficult to be part of a couple.
I believe the need to be with a partner is as strong as ever but the ability to achieve it has been diminished over the past 30 years.
I have theories about how societal values have eroded the ability to form long and meaningful relationships and I have some thoughts on how to remedy this. Whether or not you agree with theories (and that is all they are), my ideas about what is good for a relationship can still assist you.
- In my opinion, in order for a relationship to flourish in the long term, there needs to be the promise of a future, a commitment to stay the course. A commitment is the foundation on which the rest of the relationship stands. A relationship without commitment is like standing on shaky ground and is a recipe for conflict and uncertainty.
- A commitment also tells the person you are with that you have "chosen" them as a life partner which creates feelings of being special. This is turn will contribute to feelings of security and happiness and love. When there is no commitment, your partner will be anxious that you are still looking around and "selecting", looking for the ideal candidate.
- When there is a commitment, there is a public statement to the world that you are a team. Your partner will feel secure that rivals know they must stay clear. Also, the world feels much safer when you face challenges as a team.
- Today, many individuals see a relationship as a means to achieve personal gratification. When this becomes the focus, it is incredibly difficult to live together long term. There are times that you will need to put your needs second in order for your relationship to flourish.
- In our day and age it may be surprising to learn that many couples do not know how to communicate effectively. When you learn to listen to one another, you will feel closer and understood.
- The ability to resolve conflict is a major contributor to the success of a relationship. There will always be conflict between two individuals with different viewpoints. This is normal. The trouble starts when you cannot resolve the differences.
- Other keys to a loving relationship are pretty simple like being loving, spending time together, prioritising one another, being kind and being humble.
- If you would like to learn about how to improve your relationship, please subscribe to my Key to Relationships newsletter in the left column of this page which will be sent to you on a monthly basis, or you can visit my newsletter subscriptions page to receive newsletters on other topics that I write about.
- If you would be interested in attending a group course in relationships, please register interest by contacting us - our contact form is here.
- If you would like a private consultation with Renée Mill or one of her associates, please don't hesitate to call 02 9328 5899