People approach living life in different ways. Likewise, people approach romance and relationships differently. For many, romance is simply a physical attraction and sense of physical intimacy while it’s more a spiritual connection and understanding for another that grows from that first dinner date, to moving in and walking down the aisle together.
It’s hard to keep your head straight while in the throes of a brand-new relationship. It’s full of emotional intensity and potential hurt feelings. Even when things are going great, it’s important to take a deep breath and recognize your feelings and be honest about who you are, maintain your own friendships and interests.
Taking the step to live with another can be different in many ways. For some it’s no more complicated than the practicality of getting a roommate; for others it’s a way of making a commitment outside of a traditional marriage; for others, it’s the last stop before that walk down the aisle. Whatever it means to you, it’s important to have that conversation with your partner and establish open discussion about finances, division of property and assets, and homely expectations and preferences. Romantic stuff, right? Rest assured, as time passes and your relationship develops, you’ll enjoy the closeness that comes with increased trust and security and open communication.
What marriage is not, is a conclusion of a successful relationship journey. Most fairytales leave us with a carriage ride into the sunset and an assurance that “they lived happily ever after.” But marriage is really the beginning of a lifelong commitment to weather life’s storms side by side, and like any precious thing, marriage requires attention, loving and caring to thrive.
A healthy marriage is one where both partners can rest assured the other one is always going to be there for them, without taking each other for granted. In this sense, cultivating romance is the means of establishing open communication, trust and understanding through life’s ups and downs.
Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go. And that’s something you’ll only know by talking openly and honestly with your partner and trusting them with your needs. However, there are also some characteristics that most healthy relationships have in common.
- Maintain a meaningful emotional connection with each other.Take time to make the other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. There’s a difference between being loved and feeling When you feel loved, it makes you feel accepted and valued by your partner. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without feeling loved, a relationship can lose a sense of the emotional connection that was once there.
- Don’t be afraid of respectful disagreement.Regardless of how perfect “The One” is, there will come a time when you may not see eye to eye on something. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key to these situations is two-fold: to not be fearful of conflict and to be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation, or placing blame in an effort to be right.
- Keep your outside relationships and interests alive.Despite the claims of romantic fiction or movies, no one person can meet all of your needs. In fact, expecting too much from your partner can put unhealthy pressure on a relationship. To stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship, it’s important to sustain your own identity outside of the relationship, preserve connections with family and friends, and maintain your hobbies and interests.
- Commit to spending some quality time together on a regular basis. No matter how busy you are, make it a point to take a few minutes each day to put aside your electronic devices, stop thinking about other things, and focus and connect with your partner. This could be enjoying nice conversation over dinner, finding something new to do together, or simply relishing in a mid-day coffee date together. Whatever it is, be sure to have fun together without distraction.
- Communicate openly and honestly.Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people know what they want from the relationship and feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, it can increase trust and strengthen the bond between.
While there are many aspects of romance and relationships, if you continue to look and listen to your loved one in the same attentive ways as you did when you were first dating and falling in love, you can sustain a romance and blossom from falling in love to staying in love.