Let me begin by explaining, I am not a relationship expert, I am not a counselor, social worker, nor a psychologist. I am simply a man who has been through every too much in a short life, made too many mistakes to count, and in turn have learned from these mistakes to create the best version of myself, hopefully some of what I write is read and understood in a way that helps at least one reader.
What are the ingredients to the best relationships? According to the most revered scholars, through research conducted, the best relationships have; Mutual respect, Trust, & Honesty, with a few ancillary characteristics here and there depending on who you ask. However, today’s society glorifies and empowers those seeking divorce even offers legal, and financial incentives for it but does not do so for reconciling and fixing a marriage. In short, it has become too easily accessible and humans choose the easy button option instead of enduring.
Let’s say your spouse is unfaithful at one or multiple points in a marriage, maybe he or she develops a drug addiction, or maybe they repeatedly show characteristics that you didn’t see at the beginning but that do not adhere to your specific morals now. Most commonly however a marriage or long-term relationship ends due to one or both parties getting tired of the same routine day in and day out. Now, should any of these reasons warrant a divorce or breakup? If you can say “yes” to any of the following scenarios ask yourself “did I ever truly love him/her”?
A relationship is a sacred thing that is often taken for granted, the things we loved about someone become the things we hate later on. Our personalities change and alter with individual circumstances that take place, stressors from work, life, family, friends, loved ones lost, even something as simple as arguments that take place between you and your partner. People often forget that words have power, power to “empower” or power to “destroy”. In anger words are spoke to cause harm to the other, however words of affirmation uplift our partners and make them feel whole, and worthy. Relationships are too often thought of as a game where if we do not receive what we need then we withhold what our partner needs in a endless game of tug of war, but this creates further and further conflict until one finally lets go of the metaphorical rope giving up their right to exist and feel whole. Eventually the relationship ends.
Men and women are created equal. Two sides to the same coin, one balancing the other. When one is lacking the other is strong. God created us to find those who make us whole. As alike as we are we are also completely different. Our minds, thought processes, problem solving skills, empathy, love, emotional development etc. Although I have always known this simple fact it never really stood out until about 2 years ago while I was seeking counseling to become a better husband. I had been attending a “Divorce support group” as I wasn’t going through a divorce but I knew it was inevitable if we didn’t get help. I decided that I was the problem and I would do the Godly thing and change who I am so I could lead my wife and family. The support group leader explained to me this simple fact. Men NEED respect, Women NEED love, Neither can live in a relationship without it.
Here is where the tug of war game comes in. When we become stagnant in a relationship. Neither one is growing, or worse yet neither is growing in the same direction as their spouse. We justify withholding what the other needs in hopes that they will change. Men begin to stop showing love and affection, the roses stop coming, the simple forehead kisses cease, we stop telling her goodnight or making her feel she is on our mind. Then our wives stop respecting us, they stop making us food, maybe she stops folding your laundry, maybe she nags you more and more progressively about smaller and smaller things. This game will continue until one or both give up but generally ends with harsh words being spoke from one or both parties.
All of this is avoidable. Know the signs, when you feel less loved, or less respected give each other the mutual respect of space and allow the time to create a cooling sensation over the issue. Then come together and express what the underlying issue is. Talk about your feelings in a way the other can understand. Sometimes just venting and actively listening is the best therapy but you have to be open to hearing and open to that communication.
When trust is broken it is one of the hardest things to get over and get through however it too is repairable. Back to the cheating spouse, cheating is an evil and cruel act but if you love him/her truly unconditionally love them it too is possible to forgive and begin anew.
Look at the circumstances. Do not be swayed but kind words, do not be manipulated but instead do your own investigation. Look at the circumstances of his/her life when the event took place. Were they more stressed, was the relationship between you broken, were they feeling loved, were they depressed from other circumstances, maybe the loss of a loved one. Most importantly how has this changed them and are they willing to do whatever it takes to never allow it happen again? No excuse is sufficient, understand that, but when negative things happen in life there is almost always a precursor as to why. Trust can always be built new with the proper ingredients most important of which being time.
Without a doubt being lied to is incredibly harmful to bounce back from. It harms the self esteem and causes countless questions in someones mind. Were they lying about other things? How far does this really go? How do I trust anything they have said? Just some of the questions that we are asking as a result of being lied to.
How do we bounce back and regain trust in our partner being truthful? Time, and faith. It isn’t easy to give anyone the benefit of the doubt least of all when we are harmed by that person. However, unconditional love dictates that we give our partner time to prove their trust worthiness again.
Relationships are built on Love. It is unfortunate that as the years have gone on we have become lazy with this understanding and we now think love is a feeling and not what it truly is, a “Choice”. We choose to give our heart to one person, choose to be faithful and monogamous, we choose to give that person a home, a family, a life to share together. One person not complete without the other, not because one needs another to become two, but because you without your partner are not complete. Love is unconditional. It does not matter what has happened in a relationship it should never justify leaving someone who you unconditionally love. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule but I would argue that in those extremes that there was not unconditional love and simply confusion or lust.
Love is patient, love is kind, love is unconditional, true love will endure!