There is more to relationships than love.
When you think about a lifelong commitment, what do you think about? Is it a perfect home, perfect family or a perfect job? Maybe, it’s all three.
Or, do you think of happily waking up to the next one you love?
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while and you’re wondering “Is he the one?”, then you know this is not what a lifelong commitment is about. It’s about something deeper: True friendship.
After being in a relationship for a while, you begin to let your guard down. Maybe you don’t jump up and brush your teeth first thing in the morning. You start to put off the chores and indulge in a little more junk food.
So, what does this mean? A lifelong commitment is not perfect. If you are expecting perfection in your relationship, then you are setting it up to fail.
So, before you make that plunge and jump into marriage, here are 4 things to think about regarding how to make a relationship last:
1. Could he be my best friend?
When I think of a best friend, I think of someone that knows all of my secrets and still loves me. There is also mutual respect in the relationship. You know if you make a mistake, you will be forgiven.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to grow, it just means you don’t have to be perfect.
2. Is this a commitment I won’t ever want to escape?
This doesn’t mean you have to feel like you are in prison. This just means you are committed to a lifelong commitment. This means you will both work at understanding your differences and make the relationship work.
It is no longer one — it is two. This means, ‘we,’ make decisions together.
3. Am I ready to give as much as I will take?
It’s easy to think of how your partner completes you. You love the way he looks out for you and how he just can’t get enough of you.
But, have you thought about what you can do for your partner? Are you making your partner happy? If so, how do you know?
4. Can I imagine talking through problems — all the way through, without drama?
This is a great time to have that difficult conversation that you have been putting off. I know you really want to have it. Both of you need to decide on a topic to discuss. You each need a turn to talk about your perspective on the situation.
Maybe, it’s about planning a vacation. You can’t seem to agree on a budget. Take some time to hear each other out. Then, make a decision that works for both of you.
All relationships go through highs and lows. Even people in the best of relationships have arguments. What’s important is that you learn to repair after the argument. If you are repairing correctly, you should have a better understanding of your partner. This should help bring you closer and build a strong friendship.
If you are feeling stuck, then it’s time to talk to a professional. You can learn how to have a conflict discussion, without having the pain that goes with it. After a while, you will become more comfortable talking about things that you usually avoid.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She has helped couples build a strong friendship, which can also help with the intimacy. For more information, please visit Lessons for Love. Are you looking for help on how to build the friendship in your relationship? You’ll find more of that in Relationship Challenges.