In my experience as a relationship therapist, I have come across some repetitive behavioural patterns that lead to distress in relationships, particularly marriages. A quick look at them would help my readers to be vigilant about not repeating these in their relationships.
I will start with the ‘partner first’ approach. Many times, unknowingly, you may not take your partner for granted but give him/her the 2nd, 3rd or 4th place instead of the much deserved 1st. This can become a problem. You may be giving priority to anybody/thing but your partner – may be to yourself, your passions or interests like a sport or hobby, extreme attachment with your parents or even friends for that matter, over your spouse. If the priorities are not right, there is no point in being in a relationship. Might as well enjoy the rest. Why get hitched?
Secondly, don’t wait to repair your relationship. A stitch in time saves nine. Conflicts are inevitable. The mistake most couples make it to adopt either a very aggressive or passive approach when it comes to resolving conflicts. This would not only breed resentment and contempt but increase the distance between a couple. Conflict should be dealt in a way which increases the closeness. How can one increase the closeness especially after a conflict? Surprisingly, this would be the easiest way to grow close to your partner. Dealing with a conflict with maturity and moderation by being mindful of the situation is the key here. Instead of approaching it with extremes, discussing the differences calmly yet openly can always help.
It is very important to know who you are. Most couples in relationships have forgotten themselves by either becoming what their partner wants them to become or losing their individuality by continuously pleasing the partner. By not being yourself or by not being true to yourself, you are not being true to your relationship. When you start being yourself, you shed that extra weight of being someone else. See your relationship bloom when you fill it with your own of essence of who you really are.
Understanding your roles as a couple also helps a great deal. Most couples struggle to figure this. Men and women are wired differently. So their roles would also differ. For example women are designed to be more emotional in terms of expressing their needs. If men don’t realize that, there would be a disconnect. Similarly, men are designed to deal with their issues differently. Women need to learn how to communicate at such times. Seeing husbands withdraw get wives’ minds running wild. Onset of a transactional relationship – “if he/she did or not did this, I will/won’t either.” So, if one knows the differences in the way men and women operate, the roles can be defined better and lead to a wonderful relationship.
Like all individuals, all couples are unique. They are driven very differently and function as per their own value system and childhood experiences. Hence becomes imperative to factor in these factors. Never underestimate its importance – whether in math or marriage.