‘Relationships,’ a word that some people are so thrilled to be a part of, while others are terrified at a thought that it might fail if they try. The truth is relationship can be as complicated or as simple as you make it out to be. I am definitely not removing work out of the equation for both simple and complicated relationships, but I am saying that a relationship can be so worth it if you follow certain steps to making your foundation strong!
Growing-up in a Christian home, having both parents with a relationship, not perfect but pretty a stable one, I knew that I wanted to have a good and stable relationship with my future spouse even if it means that I will have to wait longer and work on myself harder! You probably think right about now, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Suit yourself, but as far as the saying goes “things that are valuable are WORTH the wait!” It is not supposed to be an easy process because it is something that is very precious and if it were easy to get, the world would be filled with such beautiful and successful relationships, but we know that it’s not the reality.
Here are five top relationship tips that I have used, that has helped me to build a strong foundation in a healthy and a successful relationship:
1. INFORMATION IS INTIMACY: Ladies, just because he bought you dinner or ice cream or coffee, doesn’t mean that you have to spill your beans over a cup of coffee. If he asked you out for a date, and you see that he could be a potential spouse, you have to understand that just taking you out was an honor and a privilege! Now, I am not saying to take advantage of him when it comes to you being treated, but respect him and respect yourself by giving out information on the level that your relationship is progressing on. This will not only keep him on a pursuit (if he is interested to continue of course), but with that you will be respecting yourself and that person as well. Remember the more information you share, the more intimate your relationship will become! That is how we grow!
2. BE CLEAR: Nothing is worse than assumptions of what the other person meant when they said ‘that’ or ‘this.’ Women and men are created very differently when it comes to expressing their feelings and thoughts! Men are very logical and so when they speak they mean exactly that. Men are very compartmentalized and tend to be task oriented and focused on one thing at a time! Women (I don’t even know where to start) are very emotional and tend to be everywhere. As my husband says it, ‘they throw everything in the pot and stir it all together!’ Oh, but where would the world be without both of the individuals! Once I understood this concept, I have to say that I had more grace and understanding when it came to our communication and how my husband thought and just understanding his perspective! I am saying all of this to tell you that you have to be very clear on what you want and how you want the relationship to look like. Communicate this to each other! I have never met anyone that was a mind reader and was accurate 100% of the time. Don’t assume, be clear and communicate!
3. DO NOT BE PASSIVE: As the relationship progresses, it is easy to get too comfortable and too relaxed forgetting what was the standard that you had set. You will face certain challenges and at times you might have to make a decision to step away and assess the situation, of course involving the other party and maybe even confronting some things that started to get a bit too far (physically). Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Just because you guys are heading in a direction of marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to break the values and the morals that you both came with at the beginning of the relationship. My husband and I had to do that several times before we got married. There were standards that we both were not willing to forfeit but at times we both jumped on a band wagon and had to pull the reins in to makes sure that we were not jumping over important steps and sabotaging our future! I can say that at times it was very difficult not to be mushy gooshie and lovie dovie (we will leave it at that) just because I loved him so much that I wanted to show it to him with everything that I am. (Believe me it is normal.) Every healthy relationship is challenged with this, but it is up to you to overcome that challenge together. In the long run it is so worth it!
4. NO RUSH, ENJOY EACH MOMENT: We get so excited to jump from one way of life to the next, because it is the next BIG thing, but I urge you to enjoy every single day with that person. Once you get married, you are married and the young dating life is over just like that (don’t worry you will date your spouse for a lifetime) but I am referring to that innocent first sweet love. Those FIRST cute notes and love letters. Those walks in the park and endless conversations about a beautiful happy ever after! Family is such a beautiful and important asset in life and it can be a big transition as well, so make sure to allow yourself time to treasure every moment, but also that you ease into it one day and step at a time so that you do not get emotionally overwhelmed! I had moments like that during our dating period where some of the steps came easier to take then others, but I am very grateful for a very patient, loving and understanding man who helped me transition when I had overwhelming moments! There is nothing better than to love and be loved.
5. ABOVE ALL ELSE LOVE: This is one of the most important aspects of a relationship, regardless if you will continue to be in that relationship with that person or not, always love! Let me break down 4 different types of love: Agape-unconditional love, even when you don’t particular like them, Phileo- friendship love/committed or chosen love, Storge- a family and friendship kind of love, and Eros-is a passionate love that arouses romantic feelings (if you want to read more into detail of what each type of love means and get a better understanding you can go to typesoflove.org) Understanding and creating certain boundaries using these types of love will help you stay true to yourself, honor yourself and respect that other person regardless if you will continue to cultivate that relationship or not.
In Ecclesiastes 1:3 it says 'there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens.' I know that courting may not be a part of your season right now, but I can tell you that God says in (NIV) Jeremiah 29:11 ' For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' You have a bright future regardless if you are single or not. Besides, relationship is something that you deal with every day! (brothers, sisters, parents, teachers, employers, co-worker and etc.) It is up to you to create the boundaries that you need for any and every relationship that you have so that you can have healthy and thriving relationships! I don’t know where would I be without my faith in God, who gives me wisdom in all of my relationships so that I can thrive and step into everything that he has for me to accomplish in my lifetime!
My prayer goes out to you as you continue to climb higher, to be a better you. I pray that above all else you seek wisdom for your everyday relationship and encounters that you have with all people! Above all else be genuine, be you! As I always say, there is nobody better at being you than you, so go out, ‘Create Coleture, Be you!’