When a relationship reaches a certain level of security, it can be easy to get comfortable. After all, isn’t one of the points of a settled relationship comfort? While it certainly should be a feature of the relationship, that doesn’t mean that “settled” means “forever”, so it is important not to let a sense of comfort lull us into a sense of complacency. While each relationship is unique, and what each person in a relationship requires is different, there are vital components to a relationship’s function that are nearly universal. When looking at the most successful relationships — ones where both individuals are content — several of the same concepts overlap compared to others, and by quite a large gap. Looking at these commonalities, we’ve been able to come up with some of the most proven relationship tips.
This is said so often that it borders on cliche, which is why it’s being addressed first, but communication is one of the most important aspects to a relationship. Healthy couples routinely take time to check in on each other. They discuss more than just elevator conversation and home management duties. They discuss the finer points of their day, and any personal subjects that wouldn’t be discussed with just acquaintances.
Disagreements, the dread of all in a relationship, are not shied away from just because they are uncomfortable. Keeping problems, concerns or issues bottled up will not only compound the original issue, but will breed resentment, which only makes existing problems worse. Constructive relationships have developed means of addressing the items that nobody wishes to discuss, how to monitor and manage their own individual behavior during these discussions, and how to communicate their own point without distancing the other.
S*x is an important part of a relationship. In the beginning, both people are usually enjoying the freshness of the relationship and are very accommodating. But what is important to each person must be discussed. Topics like frequency can become an issue when not addressed.
In today’s relationships, s*x rules can be much more important to lay out as relationships are becoming less traditional. As more relationships are becoming “monogam-ish”, it is necessary to lay out the rules of what is acceptable, what is not, and what constitutes cheating (yes, it is possible to cheat in an open relationship).
To Parent, or Not
Kids happen. Unless involved in a same-s*x relationship, the most ardent planning for pregnancy prevention can fail. As much as two people in a relationship may have in common, children can pull out the differences in record time. Are you a lenient parent? Authoritative? What about the other person? Are either of you the bad cop? Both of you?
Not agreeing on a parenting style will cause rifts. A parent seeking to instill independence in their children will be at odds with a codependent person who is constantly coming to a child’s aid. A situation where one person is constantly forced to be the bad cop because the other parent must always be liked by the children is almost guaranteed to breed resentment.
Even just having kids can be a point of contention. Often, young individuals go into a relationship with both people saying that they don’t want kids, but one will change their mind. If you’re Team No, is that a negotiable no, or a deal breaker?
The Cost of Money
Finances are one of the top sources of stress for any couple. Is there one person in charge? Are both people equally involved? Is the leader based on who makes more? If so, what if that changes? What if the current leader is suddenly unemployed? Who pays the bills? Who handles routine expenses such as memberships and taxes?
While it is reasonable for the most responsible with money to be the one in charge of it, this is extremely subjective. Completely withholding one person from family finances, however irresponsible, will only create tension.
The Common Thread
What is the ultimate base for each of the above ideas? Communication. While it is so important that it gets its own section, every important aspect of a relationship requires communication. Be it sex, money, parenting, career plans…everything must be discussed. A partnership means that nothing you do goes without affecting another person, just as everything that person does affects you. Open discussion keeps problems from forming, and makes the ones that do sneak through much more manageable.
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