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How many Valentine’s make a successful relationship? This hardly qualifies as one of mathematics’ unsolved problems of the century, but nevertheless remains one that is as thorny. A successful relationship is certainly one that lasts “till death do us part”. Gia Phua cooks up a practical recipe for successful relationships that not only work, but also last.
In an era where divorces are prevalent, the possibility of seeing life through with a single someone becomes a little too idealistic. Throw in the fact that your partner is a distinct self with his or her own unique needs and personality – I have to applaud the elderly couples who still walk down alleys hand in hand, living out their commitments. Ultimately, it comes down to the effort we choose to put into a relationship every single day. These are some recommendations for all couples to play their part in making their relationship a beautiful and long lasting one.
1) Support each other’s personal growth.
Strengthening a romantic relationship is not just about the initial bonding – it’s about encouraging and supporting each other’s growth over the course of your lives. Help your partner achieve his or her potential by constantly building him or her up through affirmation and speaking the truth in love. The theory of self-expansion in personal growth is at its optimal when one party feels valued and receives support from the other half.
2) Always be open and honest about yourself.
Share your expectations andvision you have in mind for the relationship through honest conversation. Keeping mum about your goals, aspirations, mistakes and secrets can get tiring for your partner who has to second guess your intentions. Be sure to share more with your partner than you do with anyone else. While there is a need for personal space even in the closest relationship, give as much of yourself as you can to your partner.
3) Do a self-review from time to time.
Even if you see their flaws and can’t wait to get rid of them, take time to reflect on yourself first. Often, couples don’t realize they mirror each other in blaming the other party during a fight. Could it be that both parties share or learn the same bad habits from each other? If that is true, take the opportunity to embark on a journey of mutual correction and pruning.
4) Strive for equality.
Be sure to apply the Golden Rule in your romantic relationship: do unto your partner only what you want unto you. Strive for a fair division of duties and other tasks, and don’t expect or demand special considerations you’d be unwilling to offer in return. For meals, go dutch or open a bank account to appropriate a couple’s fund monthly to cover any expenses spent together. Take turns to plan activities. Taking a backseat in the relationship will wear the active party out eventually, no matter how active your other half is.
5) Communicate in your partner’s love language
What if you could say or do the right thing to make that special someone feel loved? In Dr. Gary Chapman’s New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, he reveals the secret lies in learning the right love language to communicate with your partner. The love language through which you’d like to communicate in may not be the same as your partner’s. For example, I prefer receiving love through quality time and tend to love others through words of affirmation. However, my partner might not receive love through words but rather gifts. In order for partners to communicate in appropriate love languages to make each other feel most loved, identifying his or her love language and stepping out of one’s comfort zone to engage them as such is important.
|Words of Affirmation||If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” and hearing the reasons behind that love puts you on cloud nine. Insults can leave indelible scars on you.|
|Quality Time||If this is your love language, being present with you is critical. You feel special when someone puts aside their schedule just to spend personal time spent with you. Distractions, broken agreements or a failure to listen can be especially disappointing for you.|
|Acts of Service||Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them sends the hurting message that they don’t matter.|
|Physical Touch||This language is not all about the bedroom. Little acts of physical intimacy – his hand on your back as he lets you pass through, his arm around your shoulder on the sofa, his hand on your thigh when seated side-by-side, holding hands while walking down the street – can all be his ways of conveying excitement and love. The smallest touch can be even more important than the longest night of sexual intimacy. Physical presence and accessibility matter to him or her, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable.|
|Gifts||Don’t mistake this love language for materialism. The receiver of gifts thrives on the thoughtfulness behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are cared for, and you are worth whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous.|
So here’re 5 tried and tested techniques you can consider picking up. If you know you desperately need to improve in this area, it’s time you begin with this recipe and get a bit of practice!