It is a choice to see the good in our partner every day, rather than focusing on the negative things that bother us. We have to accept them and love them as they are. If we go into a relationship thinking we can change someone, we are setting our relationship and ourselves up to fail. We all have flaws and quirks and are weird in some ways. Accepting those differences is part of love.
We can choose to ignore the petty, irritating small things our partner may do. If our partner forgets to take out the garbage, or leaves the cap off the toothpaste, we can talk about it with them, but we also can accept that this just might be forgetful, and choose to move on. Trying to change our partner into us is one of the biggest relationship mistakes we can make.
When we are unhappy with how things are in our relationship, it is easy to overfocus on what we are not getting from the relationship. Instead, a healthier response is to see what we could be doing for our partner, rather than focusing on what they are not doing for us. We should always try to be supportive of our partner, because we cannot expect anything from our partner that we are not willing to give ourselves.
Another important choice we can make is to choose to remember the reasons why we committed to this person. Our relationship will not always be pleasant and there will be times for serious discussions and disagreement. There will be trying times and even bad times that we will need to work through together. The key to surviving these times is to remember to be respectful, acknowledge our commitment, and work through whatever is at hand together. During these times it really helps to remind ourselves of why we chose to love them in the first place.
Love is all about choices. We choose to see the good, ignore the petty, look for what we could do for our partner, and remember why we love our partner. Choosing to put in the effort to do these things is what love looks like, and with that work comes the wonderful reward of staying in love.
1. Love is a verb:
Realizing from the outset that relationships require work, hard work, is the basic starting point. It’s not a fairytale, but it’s your story - your love story. And that’s what makes it magical. Approaching love as a verb, put in the effort and don’t be surprised when it’s not all smooth sailing. Do the work and reap the reward; back your love with your choices and do the deeds that need doing. Action really does speak louder than words.
2. In a fight, there are no winners:
There are two vital things to know about fighting in relationships. Firstly, it is normal to fight and fight you will. Secondly, when you fight in a relationship, you both lose. Let go of winning, of being right, of proving a point, and choose rather to focus on really understanding and listening. Keeping your connection is more valuable for your well-being than trying to inflate your ego by outsmarting your partner. Understanding each other’s experience is more important than who is right or wrong. Try using ‘I’ messages, instead of ‘you’, to lower the levels of confrontation.
3. Give a little respect... and a little appreciation
In a long-term relationship, an easy trap to fall into is to take your partner for granted. Remind yourself what you admire about them. Don’t push their boundaries; understand that they are an entirely separate and different individual to yourself. Give your partner the space and appreciation for what they bring to your life, and show respect by taking their wishes, values and ideas into consideration. A little respect and appreciation will go a long way.
4. Two halves don’t make a whole
In romantic rhetoric, there is this idea of finding your missing half in a partner. However, an honest piece of love advice is that the best way to create a healthy relationship is to create a healthy relationship with yourself. Your partner can’t complete the missing parts of your own insecurity. Only you can fill that space, and relying on another person to make you feel complete can lead to a co-dependent relationship, creates too much expectation and is a heavy burden for a relationship to carry.
5. It really is the little things
A lasting relationship is made up of a million little moments. Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can attest to the fact that the real bricks and mortar of living with someone and loving someone is actually about taking the rubbish out, making dinner, putting on a load of washing, a quick kiss in between dropping the kids off. Real romance doesn’t only reside in grand gestures, but rather in loving in the mundane and the minutia. So pick your towel off the floor, remember to buy milk on the way home (and sometimes throw in a bunch of flowers), and make the effort. It will make your partner feel loved on an authentic and meaningful level.
Love advice that remains timeless
Sometimes it’s a grandparent or a best friend that shares a word of advice about relationships which really sticks. Sometimes you discover by doing, or not doing, something in your relationship. Wherever it originates, the most important pieces of love advice are the nuggets of wisdom which have a discernible impact on the every day in your relationship.