Relationships — whether romantic, platonic or familial — make up a major part of our social support network. They can be fulfilling and exciting, or challenging and stressful. Regardless of their nature, relationships can provide us with insight into our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as serve as a mirror for self-reflection.
Ultimately, a good relationship should be about equality and respect. It’s not about getting your way all the time; it’s about meeting each other halfway. For example, if your partner wants to take a nap or have some ice cream, it’s not unreasonable for them to do so. The key is to communicate this desire to your partner in a respectful and mature way.
Respecting each other means respecting their unique interests, hobbies and opinions as well. For example, if your partner has a secret passion or hobby that makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Similarly, don’t be jealous when they spend time with their friends or family. Rather, encourage them to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Keeping a relationship healthy requires a lot of work. Especially during the first few years, maintaining consistency is crucial. Eventually, your kids will grow up, your obnoxious brother-in-law will join a monastery and your parents will die. At that point, it will be too late to work out the kinks in your relationship. It is therefore important to keep up with your daily routine, even when life gets busy, and to plan frequent activities for you and your partner, like a romantic dinner or movie night.