Copyright 2006 Brenda Shoshanna
Most of us have many dreams about what relationships will be like or should be like. Weve lived with these dreams forever, so when the real thing happens, and we find ourselves in a relationship reality can be quite a shock. Some people feel tricked, trapped or like failures. Others do everything under the sun to change their partner, change themselves, or figure out why their marriage is different from the way they thought it would be.
The first step in truly understanding relationships, however, is to realize that what we dream about or imagine, is not necessarily what is going to happen to us. And that doesnt mean there is something wrong with ourselves or our relationship. It just means that we didnt know what to truly expect.
Here are six facts that no one ever told you about relationships that is important for you to understand. When you do, youll find that many of the tangles loosen and as you relax your relationship can grow naturally.
Number 1) Relationships are not static.
They can, will and must change. No two people stay the same during the course of a life time. Their needs, wishes, and interests vary. It is unreasonable to expect that relationship partners will always grow and change in the same ways, at the same time. This has to be accepted and included in the relationship. It is not necessary for the two of you to always think the same way, like the same things, or be in the same place at the same time. Just because you may have different tastes or interests doesnt mean that the two of you arent in love. For relationships to remain vital and healthy it is necessary to have a core of mutual interests, activities and desires, but, it is also crucial to make room for differences between you. This doesnt necessarily mean you are growing apart. It may just mean that you are growing, and will have even more love and understanding to bring to your partner in the long run.
Number 2) Romantic feelings of excitement, intoxication and infatuation necessarily wax and wane.
Many people expect to feel in love with their partner on a daily basis. By this they mean having romantic feelings of excitement and infatuation, feeling as though they cant wait to see the person, and miss them if theyre gone. These individuals must learn the crucial difference between loving a partner and being in love. Romantic feelings of excitement, intoxication and infatuation necessarily wax and wane. There are times they appear and are very enjoyable -other times they fade into the background. This does not mean something is wrong or that you do not love each other. Love is not based upon fluctuating feelings, but upon a solid foundation of mutual respect, consideration and communication. Although it is wonderful and important to set aside time for romantic time together, the daily on-goingness of life requires a much deeper understanding of what it means to truly love. Love is often tested in the fire, and frequently sacrifice is needed. In order to truly love, one must grow as a person, and that is what relationships are for to help us grow in our ability to discover what love really is..
Number 3) Love is not dependency.
Its all right to be who you are, be different from him, have friends and activities of your own. Its also all right, to give him time with his friends and private space. Love always includes trust of the other, and the knowledge that the more your partner is able to enjoy others, the more he will be able to enjoy being with you. The less you suffocate and possess him, the more he will want to be with you. The less you let him suffocate you, the more you will love him and the more he will respect you. Its fine to be two, separate, whole people. From that basis, a lot of love can grow.
Number 4) Being angry doesnt mean you do not love each other.
Some feel that as soon as they are angry with their partner or their partner is angry with them the love has gone out the window. Of course, if anger goes on for too long, or is not dealt with properly, it certainly can erode the quality of a relationship. But being angry is not a sign that he doesnt love you, or you him. It is simply a sign that it is time for good, open, honest, careful communication to take place. On-going communication is the heart and soul of every good relationship.
When we bottle up our needs and feelings and pretend to be who we are not, then all that has been hidden will explode through anger. But, when we recognize anger, irritation or resentment as it arises, and freely discuss our needs or responses with our partner, not only does the anger diminish, but our relationship grows closer. Take anger as a sign that you are being an opportunity to communicate more and know each other better. Let it make you closer, not further apart.
Number 5) Even though youre together all the time, you still must make time for one another.
Actually, you must actually carve out more time for each other when you live together. Living together its easy to take one anothers presence for granted. But just because the person is there physically, does not necessarily mean youre sharing quality time. Children, errands, pressures at work and social obligations can create a whir of activity, but not intimate time between the two of you. Carve out intimate time when the two of you are alone. Go some place special. Make time to talk and hug. Make time to have fun alone. This is a wonderful refresher to every marriage and should be done at least weekly.
Number 6) Being together for a long time doesnt have to take the magic away.
Its wonderful to have someone at your side, who you share experiences with year after year. There is no way to replace a person who youve gone through many years with, sharing common experiences and memories. The sense of continuity and trust that can develop between you is a jewel. It is wonderful to wake up each morning, knowing this person is at your side. As the years pass you know each other better and better, whatever happens you both know there is someone there for you, who understands what you are going through. As our ability to share grows, the burdens of life diminish greatly, and the joys intensify as well.