Either we see that singles have the keys to a successful relationship, or those that are in a relationship have no idea how to handle one. Everyone has become a relationship expert, yet relationships are failing, and more and more people find themselves still... single.
Single or not, you can always be informed. You should always have in your possession the keys to have a successful relationship. I became a certified Enlightened Relationship Workshop Facilitator to know how to coach couples, aiding in their success. I want to share with you what I know it takes to be prosperous in your union.
Obviously, all relationships start somewhere. Whether it's with a smile, a comment, a compliment, running into someone with your shopping cart, a blind date, whatever. There's a beginning. What happens next is up to both persons.
Each person must be honest and up front with what they want. It's as simple as that, but it's the first thing many people do wrong. Often someone says "let's go with the flow" as a means to not lead someone astray. If one person says they're not looking for anything, the other will say that they aren't either as a means to not lose the person. And of course the opposite happens as well. Someone might say they're looking to settle down, knowing the other person isn't up for anything casual, and it's also a means to not lose the person. Let honesty set the foundation. Don't build off a lie or you'll find yourself encountering more fabrications down the road.
Lust vs Love
Typically, there's some type of attraction involved initially. Physical and sexual attraction fuel lust. We're phasing out of the hook-up era, where people prefer sex with no strings attached. While it still exists, it's actually not as much as we still believe. Either way, lust plays a part, even when sex isn't involved. The issue with lust is that it's a lot of times confused with the other 4 letter L-word. It's not that difficult to decipher between love and lust. One is patient, kind, caring, and selfless. The other is selfish, based on superficial desires, and it doesn't always last. Lust can, however, turn into love.
The key to any successful relationship is knowing that love is action. We liken it to a warm fuzzy feeling that we get for someone. I encounter women that confuse love with longevity. They believe the longer they stay (or that the man stays) it's because of love. They examine all that they've endured and the fact that they're still together, believing it's obviously because of love. Not true. Truth is, love doesn't cause pain. Love doesn't result in abuse of any kind. Love doesn't mean stay regardless of what's taking place. All relationships will endure ups and downs and hard times, sure. Nothing is rainbows and butterflies every day all day. That's not realistic. But it's understanding that though issues arise, you must know when it's no longer a successful, enlightened relationship that's beneficial to your well-being. There should always be respect.
A person that negates your feelings, abuses you, talks down to you, doesn't take your feelings into consideration, is more concerned with themselves, cheats on/mistreats you, does NOT respect you. Know when to walk away and be done. It is impossible to be in a successful healthy relationship when there's no respect. Point, blank, period. Remove yourself from any situation, relationship, or life of a person that does not respect you. You deserve to be treated with esteem!
Seems like the aforementioned things are all obvious. Even so, many continue on in relationships hoping things will change or because they're settling, afraid to be alone and wanting to avoid having to start over. They stay put, foregoing their own peace and happiness. Any relationship that is draining you is one that needs to end, pronto.
If ever your needs are not being met or you're not feeling satisfied, be sure to communicate with your partner. Communication is KEY!
Another thing that goes hand in hand with communication would be conflict resolution skills. Issues will arise, so you must both know how to resolve them in a respectful and respectable manner. Voices may raise, and that's fine. But profanity, disrespect, and name calling throw respect out the window. I recommend a safe word in the event that things are getting heated and someone needs to take a step back. Allow a moment to pause, breathe, and return with a clear head.
Being faithful and devoted to a thing or person is loyalty. It's a deep allegiance. There's no successful relationship if there's no loyalty. You can't waiver with your dedication to your significant other and the relationship itself. Never lose yourself in a relationship. But the betterment of it should be a high priority.
I'll leave you with this. Keep Christ at the center of it all. Stand on His firm foundation. Think about Jesus when you arise and when you lie down. Think about Jesus before you think, speak, move, and/or act. Do your actions and words honor Him? Would He approve of the relationship? How does it glorify Him?