Relationships are easy enough to start, but they take a lot of work to maintain. The reality (and the beauty) of a relationship boils down to the struggles and weaknesses of two people combined; the longer two people stay together, the more their true colors shine through. While this sounds like a negative, it’s actually not: there’s something incredibly uniting and intimate about sharing vulnerabilities with your partner, and recognizing them in an effort to make the relationship last.
Do note that this constant refining and work should always be a two-sided effort! For those who do recognize their own imperfections and want to strive with their partner to make a relationship last, it’ll likely take some meeting in the middle in the following areas that are widely-known relationship issues.
You work hard for your money, right? Maybe that’s why financial disagreements can be so intense! You want to spend it on a Mediterranean cruise, and he wants to save it to watch his bank account and financial security grow. This is not at all uncommon, but it is the demise of many relationships that don’t confront this issue head on. Keeping finances separate, for many, is the answer to this conundrum; but many people still have a hard time accepting the actions of the person they’re committed to, whether it’s their money or not.
Having an honest talk about priorities and goals is a great start in learning to work through financial disagreements for those with linked bank accounts. Recognizing and admitting your own need to grow is also vitally important, along with setting guidelines, budgets and boundaries in an effort to grow. Uniting your financial efforts in an agreed upon way will ultimately draw you closer to your partner.
Trust and Boundaries
Every couple has to talk, at some point, about what’s okay and what’s not OK in terms of boundaries… some people wait too long to have that conversation (think: after a rowdy night out), and it winds up being a foul one. Confront this issue head on, if you can. Every person, every couple is different, so try not to compare and contrast with your friends or make assumptions. Rather, sit down and discuss how you’d like to be treated, what respect means to you, and where your boundaries are. There is always, always a line – don’t wait until you’ve crossed it to have that talk.
Communication can be a huge relationship issue simply because everyone communicates in their own ways, and oftentimes one person’s way doesn’t naturally suffice for the other person. The classic problem usually reveals itself in the form of one person over-communicating, and one person who, by nature, under-communicates, whether it be about issues, plans, goals, dreams, whatever. Communication isn’t necessarily an issue that can be solved, because people are the way they are with the tendencies they have, and they shouldn’t necessarily change to accommodate someone else.
Rather, communication is a constant work in progress. The “issue” dissolves into an ongoing solution when both people recognize their tendencies and acknowledge where they can improve for the sake of the relationship. A key in this process is understanding that there’s usually not one “right” or one “wrong” person, just two people with differences who need to work to be on the same page.
The Fire Dies Down
The beginning of a relationship is filled with fiery passion that seems to have a flame that will burn eternal. But, as they say, the “honeymoon phase” will end, and that effortless passion will die down. This becomes an issue for couples who are constantly seeking that effortless passion that exists purely on the surface, simply because it usually means they begin looking elsewhere (outside of the relationship) to find it. Buck that trend by recognizing that real intimacy occurs when you break down barriers, become vulnerable with one person, and push through different parts of life together. Realize that it takes intentional effort to feel sexy, to present yourself confidently, and to remain committed to passion in the long run, and enjoy the adventure of it all… after all, it’s an adventure that you get to share with one person, and ultimately you both are in charge of creating it. You can keep any fire going strong by tending to it, but fires will inevitably die if left unattended.
Clashing Plans and Priorities
All of these relationship issues are manageable, but plans and priorities tend to be justifiably non-negotiable. Ideally, you will have an idea of your hopes, dreams, and aspirations before entering into a committed relationship, but sometimes that’s not the case. The best case scenario is to openly discuss what you aspire to from the very beginning, maintaining honesty as your relationship grows. Don’t freak out over minor things if everything else is right – those things can be worked through with honest communication and mutual sacrifice for the greater good of the relationship. Rather, focus your efforts on the “deal breakers” and recognize when something isn’t meant to be. Deal breakers might be: kids or no kids? Is religion an active part of your life? When you’re 40, 60, 80… what do you want your life to look like? Little sacrifices will always (and should always) be made in committed relationships, but you’ll find that if you’re not on the same page with bigger things, it might be time to part ways.
If you find yourself in a committed relationship with that one person you treasure more than any one else in the world, be prepared to tackle these issues head on so they don’t tackle your relationship.