It has always been tough for me to sit down to write and write about relationships because I always end up pressing the back button to start over simply because it’s a tough subject. It is difficult to describe a relationship in words because each relationship is so different. It’s like riding a roller coaster with tons of bumps that changes overtime and constantly evolves. Looking back at the relationship with my husband, I see that it is not the same as when we first started dating or even when we first got married. Over the years, as we grew together so did our relationship. It grew to allow space for deeper meaning, understanding, and love. Nothing really tests your relationship more than the challenging events themselves. We went through scams, unresolved family drama, moving, and life changing decisions. Can I just say nothing makes it more real than the feeling of wanting to walk away and being pulled back knowing that the deep love you share brings the two of you back together. This is real marriage. It isn’t the butterflies that you feel when you first meet and make sure to look your best for those weekly dates. It’s in the truest form when you are eight months pregnant and the movers do not show up so you move everything together. When you got scammed at your first place in Los Angeles and lost more than half of your valuables, but you pick up yourselves up and go on. When you wake up happy next to that person and he thinks you’re the most beautiful in the mornings without make up. This is the truest rendition of marriage that I know. Being able to pick up bits and pieces and rebuild.
Understanding how men and women process their thoughts and actions plays a huge role in how the relationship will develop and be maintained. In the end the biggest enemy of every relationship is stress and it all breaks down to how each person reacts to it. Men and women react differently during the stress response. Neurologically men go by “fight or flight.” Fight or flight is due to the sympathetic nervous system that is responsible for this behavior during times of stress. Women on the other hand most commonly “tend and befriend” while in moments of stress. Most women want to talk it out while most men want to be left alone and that is why it is hard to resolve anything during an argument. I mean how many men do you know would go to a therapist to talk issues out by themselves without being dragged there? My favorite quote from a book called “Love and Respect” by Dr. Eggerichs explains how much women need that connection through communication to maintain a healthy relationship through his daughter:
“I learned about this female need for face-to-face connection from my daughter, Joy, when she was just four years old. One evening I put her to bed, and I lay there with her for a few moments to help her get to sleep. The room was pitch black, and Joy was talking as usual---little Miss Motor Mouth. Neither of us could see the other in darkness. As she was talking, suddenly she said, “Daddy, look at me!” Then her hands reached over and grabbed my dace, forcing me to look toward her…The connectivity is what women look for in any relationship, and especially marriage. When she married you, she thought you would be like her best girlfriend--…” (Eggerichs 127-128).
Those high stress levels need to be expressed some way and that is why that deep connection between partners is so critical. A way to deal with that stress is to release it in a form of communication to someone who will listen and understand, and that is why it is so important to be present. If that doesn’t happen then the stress continues. When women can’t release it they start tending to other things like constant focus on the house or kids, while their partner isn’t being paid attention to. This starts to create issues because the partner feels ignored but she feels like everything is laying on her shoulders. You need to create that balance together and tend to each other’s needs.
Get away from the ideology that everything must go your way or your way is only right because even if you are from the same culture, you are two different individuals and you have been raised entirely different. Mix your family traditions and create your own. A strong and healthy relationship is filled with compromise, understanding, acknowledging the differences between each other, and putting in that effort together to maintain happiness. I don’t have answer on how to maintain a perfect relationship because there is no such thing. It takes effort from two sides to communicate and keep it going through the ups and downs.
5 RELATIONSHIP GOALS TO SET FOR THIS VALENTINE’S DAY
1. Communication, Communication, Communication-I cannot emphasize it enough. It is one of those things that easy to say but hard to do, yet it is the key ingredient to a successful marriage and cannot be one sided. It involves both parties to talk AND LISTEN. A lot of the issues arise when people just keep talking and talking but they don’t listen to their significant other. Listening to what their feelings are and acknowledging them can make a big difference.
2. Cool down-resolving matters when everybody is cool and has thought through the whole situation. Nothing should be discussed while both parties are heated and there is lots of tension. Things can usually be said in the heat of the moment that can be hurtful and not taken back.
3. Date nights-They are SO IMPORTANT! I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t have regular date nights with your partner where you two can reconnect, the relationship will be tremendously affected. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it can be a picnic or a wine and cheese night watching a movie at home. As long as it is time that the two of you spend together is all that matters. Couples need time to reconnect back with each other especially when there is a lot going on. Date nights keep that romance flowing and intimacy happening, without it you are just roommates.
4. Getaways-These are essential so you can both escape it all. Leave the real world and have a fun time together without any worries. Again it doesn’t have to be long or expensive. It can be camping or drive for an hour away somewhere. That time together during the adventure is what will really connect you.
5. Don’t forget you’re a TEAM, and that takes two. Work together not against each other. If you are competing in your relationship it will only drag you down. There is no competition in TEAM only against the opposing team;)
Wishing a Happy Valentine's Day to all of my readers!