December 10, 2018

BY MATT LINSEMAN

Friendships are tough, but relationships are even tougher.

There’s so much that one must consider before getting into a relationship including knowing what it takes to make a relationship last, understanding each other, what each of you are looking for and whether or not there’s a real spark.

For some people, relationships can be difficult, so here’s some advice for those that need a little bit of guidance.

“Successful relationships tend to be ones where couples give each other attention (or communicate) in even small ways like with a nod when the other is speaking,” said Jennifer Coleman, a registered social worker (RSW) at Perspective Counselling in Kitchener. “Sharing and supporting each other’s dreams is a way to have a really great relationship, so both people feel excited about their life.”

The most successful relationships include respect, kindness and solid communication. When stressful times hit, both partners must be there for each other, rather than pull away.
Although relationships have highs, they also have lows.

“There are a number of things that could cause difficulty (including) dishonesty, infidelity, being unwilling to compromise, unwillingness to communicate, substance abuse and violence and/or threatening behaviour,” said Joy Lang, an RSW and certified therapist at Cardinal Counselling and Mediation in Kitchener.

Lang said couples should attempt to discuss problems and resolve issues to avoid getting into arguments. She also said to be reasonable and open and to spend some time trying to recall why you fell in love and have fun together.

It’s important to understand how your partner is wired and how they experience love. You should try to express your love in that way, so that they know you care. There are thousands of ways to do this, but connecting with them on their terms and not always on your own is vital because after a while they won’t know they are loved.

It’s really as simple as nurturing the relationship and spending time together focused on feeding the bond you two have with each other. It’s also really important to make time for each and have fun along the way.

“When we feel securely attached and attuned, we are stronger,” said Mary Luard, an RSW and registered psychotherapist at FreshBeginningsForCouples.net. “We can go out into the world and flourish (after that). Inter-dependency (is key) and then we can do anything.”

Giving your partner time and space on their own is good, but how much depends on the individuals in the relationship and their specific needs. Everyone works differently and communicating what you need to your partner is crucial.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. If you think everything’s perfect in yours, you may be overlooking some of the potential issues on both partners’ sides that you haven’t addressed.

We all have our own unique way of approaching life. Fitting two lives together takes patience, acceptance, understanding and effort and there will be times when things go well and other times when they do not. But, it’s the commitment and willingness to work on things during the tough times that is important.

Don’t forget to cherish the good times and have fun together. Are relationships easy? No, but they’re worth the work.

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