All those who are into gardening as a hobby, definitely understand the importance of regular weeding in the garden. The secret of a healthy and happy long-term relationship is that it requires constant pruning, from time to time. Besides, a lot of patience is required from both partners, to bear the fruits of a happy relationship.
In any relationship, over a period of time, even the most committed couples face challenges that threaten to shake the foundation of the relationship and tear it apart.
One of the most significant threats to any relationship in the long term is automatic destructive behaviour, which can tear apart all the trust, respect, and intimacy that the partners have built over a long period of time.
Here are some of the most common and devastating behaviours that couples engage in, whether knowingly or unknowingly, that can destroy relationships over time.
Lack of Communication:
Life has become so fast that most couples have forgotten the golden rule for managing the relationship. Effective communication is essential for bonding in any relationship and is a necessary ingredient for the relationship to thrive over a period of time.
Unfortunately, most modern couples struggle with effective communication, starting with the cold shoulder treatment for the small stuff and ultimately leading to misunderstandings, resentment, jealousy and other negative emotions that ultimately break down the relationship completely.
Any lack of communication between two partners, for whatever reason, whether it is the fear of discussing elusive or difficult topics like money matters, ineffective listening, or using or using abusive language, the absence of right communication can create a rift between the partners that can be difficult to mend over the long term.
In order to avoid this sort of destructive behaviour, making a conscious attempt to communicate openly and honestly with your partner is critical for the long-term survival of the relationship.
This includes being honest about discussing difficult topics, actively listening to your partner's point of view, and expressing your emotions and feelings using "I" statements rather than blaming or accusing your partner.
In order to keep the lines of communication open and to strengthen your relationship, it is also important to set aside quality time to talk, whether it is at the dinner table, over a daily romantic after-dinner walk, or on a weekly date night.
Infidelity arises from feelings of jealousy and ego clashes between the partners. Studies show that one partner cheating on the other is one of the most common causes of separation even after years of being married and staying together.
Infidelity is one of the most devastating behaviours that can destroy a relationship, as it undermines the trust and intimacy levels that are essential to any partnership.
Whether it is a one-night stand, an emotional affair, or a long-term extra-marital relationship in spite of being married, infidelity can cause intense feelings of betrayal, hurt, and anger between both partners.
To avoid infidelity issues in marriage, it is essential, to be honest and transparent with your partner about your feelings, needs, and desires, whether it is about your attraction to the opposite sex, or financial issues.
This means discussing your personal boundaries and setting clear expectations for the level of intimacy and commitment you expect from your relationship. Therefore communication skills play a very important role in the management of a long-term marriage.
Additionally, it is crucial to maintain a strong emotional connection with your partner, through regular date nights, quality time together, and open and honest communication.
Healthy sex is also considered an expression of emotions and those couples with strong emotional connections obviously enjoy a higher level of sexual satisfaction that leads to healthier lives not only physically but also improves mental health levels.
Why Relationships Matter & What You Can Do About It.
Lack of Empathy
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, particularly your partner and it is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship over a long period of time.
However, many couples struggle with empathizing with their partners, which can possibly lead to feelings of isolation, resentment, and disconnection. In certain extreme cases, if neglected over a period of time, it can lead to severe cases of alcoholism and even extra-marital affairs.
Lack of empathy gives rise to the feeling that your partner does not care for you and that you are not wanted in his/her life. This could be due to certain fears related to your personality in the past. Therefore it is important to seek professional help wherever required.
To avoid this destructive behaviour, it is important to make a conscious effort to understand your partner's perspective and feelings. This includes practising active listening, asking questions to clarify their perspective, and being willing to validate their feelings, even if you don't agree with them.
Additionally, it is important to practice active listening, which means paying attention to your partner, making eye contact, and responding appropriately to what they are saying.
Lack of Trust
Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship, and without it, a relationship cannot survive in the long run. However, many couples struggle with trust-related issues, including building strong trust levels and maintaining them.
These trust issues, if neglected over a period of time lead to feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and resentment. These feelings in turn give rise to extra-marital affairs and instances of cheating between the partners.
To avoid this type of destructive behaviour, it is important to be open and honest with your partner. This means being transparent about your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and not keeping secrets from your partner, including financial secrets and your past.
Everyone has a past and keeping the past hidden from your partner can be very dangerous as it impacts the trust levels immensely. High levels of trust and integrity are important aspects of any human relationship, particularly a marriage, where both partners have taken the vow to spend their lives together in good and bad.
Additionally, it is essential to be accountable for your behaviour, and to take responsibility for your mistakes, rather than blaming your partner. Blaming your partner and engaging in self-destructive behaviours to satisfy your ego only leads to further erosion of trust. Once trust is broken, it takes a long time to build up a relationship again.
Lack of Respect
A marriage is a bond between two people, who are committed to spending the rest of their lives together and weathering the storms of life. It is not a financial partnership where one partner has a higher share in the business than the other.
Both partners are considered equal, though both of them are not perfect and have their share of strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, maintaining a level of respect is essential for any relationship to thrive, whether it is between a husband and wife or between individuals.
Humility and respect are the two foundations of any relationship without which a relationship cannot survive, particularly a long-term relationship marriage.
However, most couples struggle with showing respect to each other, for a variety of reasons including their personal egos, which ultimately foster feelings of devaluation, disrespect and ultimately, the breakdown of the relationship.
The golden rule is applicable to any relationship, particularly marriage. "Do unto others, as others would do unto you". If you want your share of the respect, it becomes a duty to treat others with respect and dignity.
It is important to treat your partner with the same level of respect that you would like to receive. This means being considerate of your partner's feelings, opinions, and boundaries, and not belittling or demeaning them in any way.
Additionally, it is important to show gratitude and appreciation to your partner for their contribution to the relationship and to actively work to build and maintain mutual respect.
A relationship may be easy to get into but managing the expectations of your partner is the hard part. It takes a lot of effort, time, and commitment from both partners for maintaining a healthy and loving relationship that is sustainable over a long time.
It requires patience and understanding from both partners and there is no place for the ego in a healthy relationship. It is always about the "We" rather than the "I".
However, even the most loving and committed couples can face challenges that threaten to tear their relationship apart, no matter how long they have been together.
By being aware of the common and devastating behaviours that can destroy your relationship and taking steps to avoid them, you can strengthen your bond and build a lasting and fulfilling partnership.