It’s not a question of if you will have relationship obstacles or walls but when and how many. There are no perfect people and thus no problem free relationships. The good news is that obstacles can be moved or overcome.
No relationship escapes unscathed from struggles. Cemented into the DNA of people, relationships and most complex mechanical systems – consider a delicate household appliance like a refrigerator – is the potential for entropy. This makes maintaining a relationship infinitely more troublesome. Those involved must look ahead to stressful events, communication and behaviors in order to prevent being enmeshed in a state of decay. Awareness alone will not prevent these events. They do offer an initial path for couples to tread.
Any number of milestones or interactions for a couple can be stressful bringing about arguments, hurt feelings and miscommunication. Individuals carry their own insecurities into these areas. Sometimes the fears become supercharged in the environment.
Starting Out: After the hurdle of securing or agreeing to a first date, people find themselves stressing about the things they need to do in order to present the best side of themselves. They may suppress aspects of their personality. Someone might also, in a bout of nervousness, come across as more passionate about a minor issue projecting an overly passionate part of who they are.
Solution: Take the pressure off and strive to get to know each other. It is also wise to put aside excessive analysis in the early stages.
As a Unit: Once established, a couple, longing to present a united front, may come off as overbearing. Friends are an excellent gauge as to how suitable another person seems. Defending the relationship, especially early on, is natural. It should never take the tone of repellent.
Solution: Consider the opinions of friends and the other person. Friends might have insight while wanting to keep things as they are. A new partner may be hurt by emotional static and lash out to defend themselves.
The Parents: No couple relishes the prospect to taking the a new partner to meet their parents. Emotionally, it can feel like the friends introduction dialed up to 11 because the partner is on extremely unfamiliar turf. Combine their uneasiness with the presenter’s own feeling and the wheels can wobble or fall off before the relationship is out of the garage.
Solution: Wait until things are stable in the relationship. This is not a week one or two action. Also, prepare both sides by encouraging them both to be open to one another.
Several couples struggle with communication, especially early on, as they are trying to be heard. It is important to remember this and a few simple ideas.
- Less talking, more listening: Take the time to hear and understand the other person before reacting.
- Say what you mean: Expressing oneself in a careful, clear manner can be difficult, but saves feelings and time.
- Watch for problem issues: Assess issues while avoiding the spiral of convincing the other. That way lies madness.
- See their side: Everyone tends to assume they have the clearest insight. Second looks are good. As are thirds and fourths.
- Take a minute: If things get heated, step away and cool down because these words cause the most damage.
People present themselves most often as infallible or smooth or without blemish. Each person in relationships seeks to do this even after they have been with one another for long periods of time. In light of this, it is important to recall everyone has bad days, feels insecure, possesses embarrassing bodily functions and a myriad of other difficulties. Just as no one should be elevated to the pinnacle of personhood on their very best of days, neither should they be cast to the pit when accidentally breaking wind at a dinner party. Remembering to extend sufficient grace makes the other person feel safe and loved.
Hurdles happen in relationships. No couple will bypass them all. For this reason, everyone needs and should extend gentleness, kindness and love to each other in equal measure to what they need. And then a little extra because everyone needs more than they realize.
It’s very clear that relationship obstacles are present in every close relationship. If you aren’t facing obstacles then you probably aren’t really close and intimate. If you follow some of the advice noted above I’m sure your relationship will improve.