As a relationship counsellor the big question I often get asked is; “why are relationships so hard to make work?” Two of the most important ingredients for a happy relationship are constant compromise and positive self-identity. The problem is how do you give in half the time but still manage to maintain your own identity as an individual.
A good starting point is; do you share similar values with your partner, attitudes towards money, children, sex, religion and general beliefs about life? It’s not common for couples to ask the questions before marriage, but they are worth considering. Even if you do share many similar values to your partner in the early years of your relationship they do change as you grow older.
Here are a few tips:
- Equal compromise is the basis for all happy couples.
- A happy marriage is based on the belief that you are getting what you’re giving.
- You have to like yourself for someone else to like you.
- There must be a shared equality in strength and power.
- Relationships change and grow over time, priorities and interests shift and move at different speeds. This can challenge your relationship in negative and positive ways.
- Separation is never easy and the process is made more difficult depending on the attachment.
- Never underestimate the power of intimacy, respect and trust in your relationship.
Remember a happy relationship is the responsibility of both partners. You both need to work hard. And nobody can do the work for you.
Christopher Swane - Couples Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand