The Truth About Relationships
Relationships are complicated. They involve two (or more) individuals coming together and sharing a bond with one another. Generally, relationships are voluntary, but this is not always the case. Relationships can be beautiful aspects of life and can be extremely fun and rewarding.
While having relationships can be great and at times feel simple, this is not a constant truth of relationships. Instead, relationships are often hard work and require effort on all parties involved in the relationship for the relationship to work, grow, and thrive.
What Goes into a Relationship?
It has already been established that relationships are hard work. But what goes into a relationship? What, exactly, is this hard work that is required to make a relationship fruitful and strong?
Here are some of the things that go into a successful relationship:
To make a relationship work, all parties involved must be willing to put time into the relationship. In many regards, time is like an investment into the relationship. Spending time, whether in the relationship itself or working on the relationship is extremely valuable to making the relationship strong.
While it is important to spend time in and on the relationship, this time can be ineffectively spent if there is no energy put into the time that is spent. For example, if two people are hanging out spending time together and one of those people is so extremely drained and tired that they cannot engage with the other, then this time may not be as valuable to the relationship as it could be. Understandably, we cannot always be full of energy; but the issue occurs when the lack of energy in the relationship becomes a pattern.
Relationships require thought and consideration. Because relationships are about more than one person (more than just yourself) they require the participants of the relationship to be unselfish in nature. Therefore, thinking of the other person in the relationship or about the relationship itself is helpful to strengthen and improve the relationship.
It may seem like having care for the relationship is an obvious requirement. However, many people end up in relationships that they no longer care about. When this happens, it is extremely difficult to put in the proper time, energy, and thought necessary to make the relationship continue and survive, much less be strong.
How to Improve Your Relationship
Now that the aspects that go into a relationship have been discussed, it is time to turn attention to how to improve relationships to make them as healthy and strong as possible.
Using the same elements that go into relationship listed above, different ideas of how to improve your relationship are provided below:
Make an effort to try taking a break from work to visit the other person. You can also work on stopping from the hustle and bustle of life to listen to what the other person is saying. Try listening to what the person says instead of just hearing them. Often times we are so busy that we hear, but we do not listen. Take a vacation to spend extended time away from the “rat race” of life with the people we care about. Lastly, spend time assessing how the relationship is doing.
Making sure that you are giving your best energy to the people you care about. It is easy to sometimes get our priorities out of whack. For example, we may get in ruts in our lives where we put our best efforts and energies into work instead of our relationships. Ensure that you are saving energy for the people in your life that matter to you to help those relationships flourish.
Exercise! Exercising gives us energy by getting our bodies moving and releasing endorphins (feel good hormones). By exercising, you are giving your body something it desperately needs, and it rewards you by helping you feel better, more alert, and more awake. Exercising also helps us destress, improves our mood, improves our cognitive functioning, and can reduce anxiety; all of which will help us be better in our relationships.
Sleep! Another very important tool our body uses to recharge and maintain physical and mental health is sleep. If we are lacking sleep, we are often lacking energy. Having a lack of sleep also often causes mood disturbances, increases stress, and increases anxiety. Get good quality sleep can improve a relationship and make it healthier.
Thinking of the other person is a great place to start. Consider what they like and what they do not like and do your best to please the other person. Try to avoid doing things that you know upset them.
Think about the relationship. Consider the past of the relationship – especially the recent past – and see if you can improve upon it. It may be a good idea to tell the other person about the thoughts you are having about the relationship and try to get on the same page as them.
It could be difficult to make yourself care about a relationship. If you do not seem to care about the relationship, consider a few things:
- What got you in the relationship in the first place?
- What do you like about this person? Dislike?
- Do you still want to be in a relationship with this person?
- What has been holding me back from leaving this relationship?
If you are having trouble caring about a relationship, it could be a good idea to discuss this with the other person. It is important to communicate with the other person that you are in relationship with and to share your thoughts and feelings, even if they are hard to discuss.
Relationships = Worthwhile Work
Relationships are extremely rewarding. As humans, we are built for socialization and building relationships. Remember that relationships are work, but if you are willing to put in the work, you can have happy, vibrant, healthy, and strong relationships that will be built to stand the test of time!