I love post-prompts like this one, as they make me think about my everyday actions, especially the ones that come out of habits I created overtime, and no longer think about. Let’s get right to it and I’ll say that even though some of my dos and don’ts apply to varying types of relationships, I am focusing on romantic relationships like the one I have the pleasure of having with the man who is my husband. These are only a few of my favorites:
Do Listen: Listen to what your partner is saying without your own filters applied to what you’re hearing.
Do Ask: As you’re listening, if you aren’t sure what he means, ask him.
Do Encourage: Supporting your partner and letting him know you value him, and see his active and hidden potential, is always a good thing. Encourage him in pursuing his dreams. Encourage him in whatever endeavor he may embark to provide for you, even if it isn’t through his dream yet, and work with him to stay focused on the end goal.
Do Share Your True Self: I think sometimes when we date we want to show the part of us that we think is attractive to the man we want. I hope that we eventually do show him who we totally are, before we marry (Smile). As we grow together in our relationship, I believe it’s important to keep working on our true individualism and sharing it with our partner.
Do Make Time: Life keeps on moving, doesn’t it? If it helps you both make sure you spend time together, schedule it. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss the importance of spending time with the people we love, because we figure they’ll understand. In one study, one of the things that people on their deathbeds regretted the most, is not having spent more time with loved ones. That’s very telling, I think.
Do Communicate: Be sure to talk with your partner. I think many women hint and expect the men to understand, and I think many men don’t say what they really feel sometimes, because of fear of being hurtful. At the end of the day, what that does is make a woman who is upset because she isn’t getting what she wants, and a man who, though he may not admit it, is kind of settling instead of having what he wants. Surely there are compromises in all relationships and we generally don’t get all we want, but sometimes life is simpler than we make it, and communication is a key factor in things being simple or complicated (in my experience).
Do Have Fun Together: This means something different for everyone. Be courageous enough to suggest whatever pops up in your head that you want to try. You (both) may surprise one or both of you in the things that you consider fun to do together.
Do Kiss: Take time to kiss whenever you leave each other. Don’t do it because ‘you should’, do it because you want to, just like you did when you first got in a relationship. If the relationship is one in which a kiss would be inappropriate, then do hug! A real hug, not a ‘I’m scared your scent will get stuck on me’ hug. I personally don’t tap the person’s back when I am ending the hug, as I don’t like that being done to me. (smile).
Do Have Your Partner’s Back: Be careful with correcting your partner in public. You know what instances call for a correction, and which don’t. It’s more important for you two to represent a unified unit (and feel that unity as well), than it is for you to be right or show that you know better.
Do Trust: To begin a relationship without trusting your partner, may mean you have unresolved trust issues that don’t actually have anything to do with him. It’d be unfair to doubt him because of your prior experiences. Instead of starting out with skepticism, I think I should start out with trust that I made a good decision in choosing my partner, and in that he’ll treat me right. Do your research, but once you’ve decided what to do, trust your decision and your partner.
Don’t Assume: I’ve found that assuming I know what he wants, sometimes, ends up making a given situation more complicated for us both and possibly our children.
Don’t Be Too Proud: Whenever I have been too proud to be vulnerable in my relationship, I have regretted it. A part of the reason why my husband and I are together is because I didn’t let my pride get in the way. There were times, when we were first dating, that he didn’t respond to my text messages as quickly as I wanted, or didn’t respond at all. The thing is that he probably was doing the same thing as when we were friends for the previous two years, but now I had different expectations. I addressed my expectations and my pride. What did I want? I wanted to show him that I believed we should be together. Was I going to let his slow responses stop me? Nah. It turns out he did want to have me as a life partner, but his dude-ness was messing things up a little bit (LOL).
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously: Love yourself, but laugh at yourself. We all make mistakes and do things that are quite dumb sometimes. We may dress funny or our hair isn’t as cute as we thought it was. Let your partner be free to joke with you about it without you letting your feelings be hurt. I am not promoting him being mean to you, nor you accepting mean comments. I am just saying be free enough to find the humor in every day things, including things that have to do with your person.
Don’t Air Out Your Personal Stuff in Public: First, to do this, kind of reflects badly on your own self and your ability to make good decisions, to stand up for yourself, and to allow nonsense in your life. Second, if you actually love your partner, you know that whatever you are going through is temporary and you will be okay again (typically). Letting everyone else know what he did, or what you think he did (because you probably haven’t talked to him yet) removes trust from your relationship, it makes him look ‘less than’ in others’ eyes, and it dampens your overall relationship. We may have a confidant, and I think it’s at your discretion to know how much to share. Meditation is a good way to work things out on your own before or after you speak with your partner, instead of talking about it with everyone else.
Don’t Hold a Grudge: If you are upset, work it out. If what is upsetting you isn’t related to your partner, there is a still a chance you’ll take it out on him. If you’re upset because of him, you may take it out on him or someone else. So either way, talk to him about what is upsetting you. You are together for a reason, and I would wager that you found calmness and a haven in being with him (I hope you have). Remember that and don’t hold hurt feelings inside. Often when we talk through it, we see that the solution is simple to achieve. It could take more time to find said solution, which is all the more reason for talking about it now.
Don’t Lose Your Identity: This may not be true for everyone, but I have noticed that couples that have been together for a while, have some of the same mannerisms, or say some of the same things while talking. If this happens with you and/or your partner, you aren’t alone! Still, I think it’s important to keep your self in the picture. You are an individual with a sum of experiences that make you who you are. Keep creating yourself with your partner, as well as separately from him. In the long run, I think it keeps the relationship fresh.
What are some of your relationship dos and don’ts?
Photo credits to the author.