Keep Your Relationship Healthy

November 15, 2020
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Some saying says for two people really to know each other, a hundred years they should spend together sleeping on the same pillow.

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Getting Started

We all know that fuzzy feeling of falling in love with someone. The very first date is full of expectations. Will your date like you or not? Holding hands, whispering in the ear, long talks, and long walks. And when you have several dates together behind you, the real stuff begins. Now you have passed that ideal phase when everything is sweet and exciting. The chemistry that pulled the two of you together is still there, but you need something more to keep it spinning.

That something more is a mutual interest, trust, confidentiality, confidence in yourself and in your partner, freedom, respect, and all the other challenging concepts that define healthy relationships between two individuals.

When I seriously fell in love for the first time, it was romantic as always when I was involved. 🙂 It happened on a small island with few people on it, but with a million stars in the dark sky above us. I’ve spent a few ideal days there together with my sympathy. Then I was leaving the island with my cousin to extend our adventure on the Adriatic coastline.

She was having some doubts about ending up in a relationship with me. You see, I really liked her, and I wanted her, but I knew this is the moment when I have to give her freedom. I didn’t want to be too pushy, explaining how good I am for her and what she will miss. Doing so, I would most probably lose her in the very beginning.

Instead, when moving ahead from that island, I told her to call me when she is back home, and decide to continue with me. I knew she will call me later and that we will be together. I exercised confidence in giving her freedom in that situation, and it did work out. She called me, and we were together for eight years.

Persistence

When I first met my wife, it was one of those fateful romantic meetings from the movies. I was on a business trip to St. Petersburg for a couple of days. She was there visiting her friends. On the day we’ve met, both of us were doing some sightseeing. We saw each other in the fortress where St. Petersburg was founded. I noticed her alone there and decided to approach her and ask if she’s interested in some company.

We were seeing each other for two days in St. Petersburg and went back home. After two months of distance contacts, I flew to visit her in her hometown in Russia. We stayed there for a week and came together to Croatia, where we’ve spent additional two weeks. Two months after her visit, she returned to Croatia, and we were married a month after that. Now we are together for ten plus years, and we have two children. I know we will live happily ever after. 🙂

It was not as easy as it seems, though. When I wanted to check-in for my flight to meet her in Russia, I realized my ticket is expired. It was a mistake with the booking agency, and I had to buy a new ticket right at the airport, an hour and a half before the takeoff. Some would say it was a “sign” to give up, but I was persistent in listening to my intuition.

We were married without knowing she will have to get Croatian citizenship before working in Croatia's field of expertise. Other complications arose after she finally did got citizenship. In total, it took her more than eight years to finally get the license to work as a dentist in Croatia. Not to mention emotional difficulties for her caused by moving away from her homeland, parents, relatives, and friends.

We didn’t care much for all these obstacles, though, when we decided to get married. And we didn’t have to. We knew we love each other, and it was enough.

The message? When you know it is a real thing, go for it. Listen to your intuition and don’t think and explore the possible obstacles. It will take some time for barriers to be erased, but act with your heart in those moments. It will be rewarded, but you have to be patient and persistent despite difficulties.

Bonding

How to be connected to someone, but not attached to her. This is the question that has bothered me through all my relationships. Only now, when I’m married, I can tell I handle this aspect well.

When you really like someone, and you are in a constant temptation to do something about your relationship, there is a good chance that you are annoying your partner. It is OK to be in love, but calling a dozen times a day, sending numerous text messages, or sending flowers each day can be sweet and charming for her in the beginning but tiresome after a while.

Instead of making a move and then immediately coming up with the next one, let your partner respond. If she didn’t respond in a time you would consider as enough measured according to your standards, just give her more time. If she is interested in you as much as you are, she will respond. If she won’t, don’t waste your time. Recognize indifference from the other side and walk away. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that this person doesn’t return the passion to you because she doesn’t know how to express herself. Or if you think she is shy, or whatever reason you might think of as a justification.

The right way to test both - your patience and your partner’s interest is two-way communication in writing.

Before we were married, my wife and I have lived approximately three thousand kilometers away from each other. We didn’t see each other for months.

In between, we used to fill in our devotion to each other in long phone call conversations and letters. We didn’t announce our letters to each other. When we felt like it, she or I would just send it. It would be real love letters, passionate, and innocent at the same time. When I would send it to her, I didn’t send a bunch of it immediately after. I’ve waited for the answer, and the beauty of it was the anticipation of wording from my partner.

And why writing? In writing, you can express what you often can not in person. For different reasons. Like being too shy, or not finding the right words, or being afraid of how she will get it.

Try to amaze your loved one with writing, and you’ll be surprised with what you will get back.

Old fashion letters are just the best. And it’s romantic to do it in your own handwriting, to put effort into it, to get it delivered, and to wait for the response in your mailbox.

But the e-mail would be acceptable too. Give yourself time to write to your love. But really write. Leave the social networks for your friends and quick arrangements. Write real e-mail letters and be rewarded for bonding with your partner. It doesn’t matter if you live in the same street or hours of driving away. The effect is the same.

Surprises

It is not acceptable to be too pushy, but just waiting in inactivity and expecting your relationship to work is as bad as being bothersome.

Random unexpected surprise wrapped up in an original idea is most welcome to maintain sparks between you. It is equally essential in a new relationship as in a marriage lasting for decades.

It doesn’t require the expensive stuff like perfumes or pearl necklace; far more critical is intention and amazement. Do it when least expected, not just for birthdays or anniversaries.

As you should keenly work on your surprises for her, you should be glad in the same way to receive it. Don’t just phlegmatically accept it like it is not a big deal. Even if it is a present, you don’t like that much. Give your partner credit for the effort and excitement she invested in making you happy. See it in her eyes and show it back to her.

Some of the best shots I can remember are:

  • Unexpectedly visiting my girlfriend in the middle of the week, even though we have scheduled rendezvous at the weekends. You have to feel the right moment for such a move, though. See what your guts tell you about this idea. Don’t come if you think it is terrible timing. If she tells you that she misses you, you are sweet and the best, it’s a definite yes. But if she is in some kind of a “keep distance - not in a mood - I want to be alone” phase, seeing you without prior notice would just make things worse. You shouldn’t be worried, though, if she is in such a mode sometimes. It’s normal, and letting her breed in these moments will earn you a credit in her eyes.
  • Sending an unexpected letter with a lovely colorful drawing.
  • Packing a gift in a totally different box will bluff her trying to guess what’s inside. Once I packed a CD in a box of some kitchen appliances. She thought something like, “oh, a mixer, how nice, but not exciting.” But when she opened it and saw a music CD she desperately wanted to have, that amazed and surprised her at the same time!
  • My wife attended a piano music school, which she hated, but she learned to play despite it. Knowing that fact gave me an idea to buy her an electric piano. It did require a tough decision, though, as she was always talking about it in a negative context. But my gut was telling me she would love to play again. And I was right. She is thrilled with this gift, and she realized that what once was a nightmare for her now is a skill she enjoys.
  • Prepare the table on the balcony in the evening with some delicious food and a bottle of sparkling wine. Then wait for her after she just lulled the children. Priceless!

Fighting

Or you can call it arguments if you prefer. We would all like to avoid it, but sometimes it is inevitable and even necessary. Necessary to deal with some issues we usually don’t tackle in an everyday conversation.

When in a fight, people usually try to prove their point, adrenalin is high, and our own interests are above all. At the end of the day, though, we would like to lie down in peace with each other. There is nothing worse to start fighting in the evening, bring it in the night with you, and wake up with that awful feeling of being guilty and sorry for your behavior.

So, how to prevent it, not the fighting, but the unnecessary duration and long pouting period?

Most important of all is talking. Fight, but talk. Don’t let it hanging between you, don’t let her go away angry at you and you at her. Stop yelling, but don’t be silent. Talk it over till the end and encourage her to do so.

Yes, it’s tough, but swallow your pride. Don’t tease her anymore and try to see the situation with her eyes. Is it really so that it’s only her fault? Maybe she is right after all, and not you? If you are deeply convinced of her mistake, let her tell it herself. It’s far better than stubbornly trying to make her confess. 

I’ve had many fights with my girlfriends and with my wife too. It was easy to start the battle, but it is tough for me to go through that silence period after it. It could have lasted for days. I’ve hated it, being depressed, sad, and feeling guilty.

It always ended up like this for us when we have stood firmly on our side, not even considering the other’s side viewpoint.

The thing is, if I don’t want it to end up in intense silence, then I have to do something about it.

First of all, I try not to yell. As my temper is impulsive, I often express my dissatisfaction by yelling at someone. And it doesn’t affect the opposite side well. It pisses her off, and then she starts to yellow too. It can rarely bring any good to us. So, when “it” starts, I’m holding it in myself, not yelling and not talking until she tells it all the way. In the meantime, I become calmer, adrenalin is lowering, and I’m able to speak normally.

If somehow we can not agree and we end up separated in different rooms, I swallow my pride and come to her, gently as I can. Even if I still think I’m not wrong. If she rejects me, I will wait for a while and try to approach it again.

Ideally, I will not let us walk into the evening, angry or indifferent. If it happens, after all, I will try to invoke the conversation in the morning. About anything, just not to let us go to work with that silence between us.

  • So how your fights with your beloved look like, and how do you end it?
  • How do you react when it starts?
  • Do you let yourself to hear the other side?
  • Do you talk to her, or do you like to play being hurt?
  • Which is a better option to choose for both of you? To end up in silence for days or talk it through during the day and lie down in bed in peace?

Relationship And Parents

When in a relationship with someone, you should be devoted to her. No matter how strong your connections to your mom or your dad, your sister, or your brother are. Now you’re bonded with the love of your life, and she is your first one, your last one, your everything.

Even if there are only the two of you in a relationship, i.e., you don’t have any children, you are family now.

Clear boundaries between who was your family before you’ve started the relationship and between your today's family are the necessity. It doesn’t mean you will stop meeting your parents and brothers and sisters, but you should let all of them know who’s in charge of your life now beside you. And it’s not them anymore.

Vice versa is valid, too; you can not be responsible for the lives of your elders or your siblings any more either. Yes, sure, you will help them when needed, but you have your own life to live now, not theirs.

That is why your most healthier decision, when you will flow into a relationship, is to move away from your parents if you haven’t already done so.

Living under the same roof with your or her parents can be OK while you still have no funds to buy, rent, or build your own place to live. But in the long run, you should definitely consider the separation. Of course, to a place close enough for grandpas and grandmas to come to look after your children occasionally. 🙂

When my wife and I were married, we first lived in my family house with my mom and sister. We have had a separate flat inside the house, but we were seeing each other every day. And our daily activities were interconnected sometimes. I was not one of those who are strong enough to keep my mom and sister at a safe distance from my marriage. At least I wasn’t at that time, freshly married and living with my mom and sister for thirty-five years before that. Nor my mom and sister are the persons who are discerning enough to keep away when needed.

So after two years, my wife and I moved away into our own apartment, with no hard feelings for anyone. And it was the right decision in the long run. We breed freely without anyone patronizing above us, and we are raising our children on our own terms and conditions.

  • Are you strong enough to keep a healthy distance between your marriage and your/her’s parents to live under the same roof?
  • Are you prepared for constant balancing between being a good soon accepting the advice of your parents and be a husband to your wife at the same time?
  • You will be rewarded with invaluable help with your household and your children if you do so.
  • Or you prefer to settle on your own with your partner alone? And organize your life according to your rules.
  • Are you one of those who likes and needs to have everything under control (in a positive way)?
  • Not willing to listen and take everyday interference on how you should suppose to live?

Respect

People strive to live fulfilled lives, at least conscious people do. Living consciously and fulfilled requires us to invest in ourselves. Relationships, to some extent, can be an obstacle to this intention. More than anything else, we need time as a crucial investment. And time is often a scarce resource in a relationship, especially in the one with children around.

We have to subordinate our own interests to the mutual interests of our relationship. It is not easy at all, especially if your fulfilling life doesn’t match with the areas of fulfilling your partner's life. It doesn’t mean that one of you is living a fulfilled life and the other one is not. It just means that you and your partner are different in some aspects. And there is nothing wrong with that. Opposite polarities are attracted to each other. Probably that is the reason why the two of you are together. You complement each other.

Sometimes, you just have to be on your own way and devote the time to your big plans. No matter if your partner/wife, your children, friends, job, anything. And there’s nothing wrong about that either.

However, whatever you do or intend to do, whatever you dream of - share it with your partner. Sharing your thoughts, intentions, plans, in other words - involving your partner in your life, are all the actions of respectful behavior.

On the contrary, living introvertly despite physically present in your partner’s life will be considered disrespectful.

Maybe the idea of sharing your dreams, even with your partner, seems like a betrayal of yourself to you. Like, if you talk about it to someone else, it will not happen because talking about it will sound like it already happened. And if it already happened, you will not put any effort into it anymore.

But if you let go of such fears and eventually share your big vision with your partner, you will actually feel relief. A relief that will finally put you in the stage of creation. You will no longer feel like you’re hiding something. 

It may be that it will raise some resistance and doubtfulness in your partner at the beginning. And that’s perfectly alright, the two of you are different, remember?

But in the long run, you will get support from her. Maybe she will even join you on your journey. At least she will not stop you from going there. Because you respect her. You told her all about it.

My path of conscious growth began with the reading of personal development materials. I was first reading it without saying anything to my wife. I was just reading and taking notes, dreaming of taking action inspired by what I’ve learned. But I procrastinated until the moment when I started to talk about it to my wife. She was surprised and kind of reserved initially, but despite that, I was finally ready to begin with real action.

Sharing it with her and showing her respect this way, I am at peace both with her and me. I began to write, and I’m not stopping since then. The fact of letting her know about my vision keeps me going on. Besides the promise to myself, it is a promise to her now also. And I’m persistently on my way to keep my promise.

When To End Up

Being aware of when to break the relationship is equally important to know when to start one.

For each one of us, the reason for breaking up can be different. It is not essential what the reason is. Important is to feel that this particular reason is really the point which you can not handle.

How to recognize this breaking point? Couples most often have a tendency to make things right after some damaging occasion or a period of a lousy relationship. However, if it won’t go any better, you will know it's time to move on. Don’t delude yourself that it will eventually be as before if you try hard enough. If it was the showstopper for you the first time, it would be any other time. It will just bring back the same bitterness.

When you finally break up, don’t come back into that same relationship once you’ve decided to end it. However, maybe you do surrender after all and start the relationship again with the same person. It will be sweet for you from the beginning, almost like starting a new relationship. But soon, you will begin to be aware of that same reason for which you’ve decided to break up the first time. And you will break up again. So all you did was wasting another couple of months, or even worse, years.

With Children Around

If you have children, you know how hard it is to keep a relationship with someone. Not marriage, but the connection between the two of you. When all of you finally gather at home, and you think - now we will have a lovely quiet evening, it turns into a non-stop service for the children. “I want this, I want that, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty…” Then, among all the other things that have to be done, you catch an hour or two for a play or a walk with them, and it is already time for a bed. Now you should finally devote some time to your partner. But you are so exhausted that you just want to lie down in bed and sleep.

The next morning you wake up and realize you are in a marriage with someone, but you don’t really relate to her.

It was much easier when we had only one kid. For the past seven years, we handle two. One saying says, “one kid - as no kid, two kids - as hundred of them.” And it really is true. I really don't have a clue how people handle three, four, or even more children. Some say the more kids you have, the easier it gets as older ones take care of younger ones. Is it really so?

We often fall asleep together with the children, but we simply don’t allow it to happen on some days of a week.

We stay up together but not watching TV. We are quietly sitting at the table with lowlights, eating, and drinking something nice and talking. No matter what the conversation is going on, as long there are only two of us.

Or we lie down in the bed and talk while we hug each other. We learned how important it is to steal those precious moments for us. Without it, we become separated, no matter how close the distance is between us in metrics.

When one of us has some kind of conflict with our kid, the other must stay out of it. I was often jumping into the conflict between my wife and our son, which brought no good to anyone. If I had involved myself in it, I had to take one side, and then the other was dissatisfied. If I was defending our son, it ended up in a conflict between my wife and me. She felt I am demolishing her authority before children. It is far better if I stay out of it and let them deal with it by themselves. If I believe that she was wrong, I better tell it to her later, when we are alone. Then we are at peace; she is not angry with me if I tell her so privately.

Household Chores

Yes, it is boring, tedious work, but someone has to do it. Much of it can be done by the help that can be hired. Yet, there are small everyday tasks left to do.

Some people have strictly divided their duties to men and women related. E.g., the man is supposed to do tasks around the house and car, while the woman is doing everything inside the house.

Other couples make a list of housework and share their responsibility, regardless of "men" and "women" tasks.

There are cons in each of those two approaches, though. When strictly divided into man and women tasks, women would often reprimand her man to not help her in the house and with the children.

If a man would have its list of housework to do, he would often be dissatisfied with this role and complaining about it. If not directly to his partner, then to his friends.

The approach I have found to work the best for my wife and me is our free will. We didn’t agree to divide our tasks into men and women related. We didn’t make a list of housework either. We didn’t even talk about it.

We have naturally chosen tasks by ourselves that fit us the best. E.g., I’m the only one driving, so, naturally, I take care of car maintenance and its annual registration. My wife likes clothing, so she takes care of washing and organizing clothes for all four of us. I want to spend my time outside, so I walk to the store and get groceries and take kids out on the playgrounds. She is quick in preparing the food, so she is cooking. I don’t like the mess she lives behind her when she cooks :), so I care about cleaning and organizing the dishes.

The point is if you see it needs to be done, and you’re good at it, take the responsibility and simply do it.

 A Grain of Salt at The End

So what does it actually mean to relate to someone? Ask your subconsciousness and see what it tells you back. See if your current relationship fits the answers you are receiving. Can you improve it? Sure, you can. Is it worth trying? Yes, it is, unless you experience that breaking point which you can not handle.

But otherwise, what you have to work on are some small refinements or gestures to take care of. But this little thing can contribute a lot to that niiiice eeeeasy feeling of living with someone. Like you know each other for a hundred years.

Yes, it’s true, the time factor plays a vital role in relationships. It takes time to get used to someone and tune your habits to her’s. But again, independently of the time factor, not all of it will fit perfectly in its place without you spending some effort on it.

That’s the beauty of “relating” to someone - making adjustments. And yes, it takes the two of you to make it work.

About kristijan galekovic

I'm the founder of ClickIntoLife, a father, a husband, and a nature lover. I'm keen to share my experience and knowledge. Besides working, I like to read and hike where I may take a bunch of kids with me. With ClickIntoLife, I want to help you fit better into life and feel comfortable in your skin. Read more about me here.


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