T Nation

making it work

In acknowledgement of some current posts by Lee and The Fragile, and some responses to those posts I started to ask myself what does it take to make a relationship work. Trust is most likely one of the most important aspects, but there has to be a point in time when trust needs to questioned, for instance when your spouse or significant other is spending a lot of time with a member with the opposite sex.

I have been with my husband for almost 2 years and we have been married for almost a year now. Relationships take time and effort made from both parties. I am very lucky to have found my husband and best friend very early on (I’m 22 and he’s 21). We developed a strong bond of trust early on, being we both believe cheating is the worst thing you can do in a relationship. Another important area of our relationship is communication. The more talk openly about anything and every thing, the stronger our relationship is and the times when we argue is a sure sign we need to start communicating more.

Now, I have many guy buds and my husband is aware of this, but I really don’t spend much time with any of them and I really don’t think it would be appropriate for me to do so being I am married. I always make sure my husband is aware of who my guy friends are and how I know them. I would never feel comfortable hanging around any of my guy buds when my husband is not present.

I believe if you truly love and care for your significant other, their needs should always be put at the top of the list and consider how your actions may affect them.

Are you asking what it takes to make it work on the whole, or are you looking for more detailed strategies for working on particular problems?

Really, all it takes is a decision and follow-through. Here’s a question – three frogs are on a log, and one decides to jump off. How many are still on the log?

THREE! The one only DECIDED to jump off. It takes follow-through.

So first it takes a decision to make things work no matter what happens. And it needs to be a decision from both sides. No pre-nuptual agreements. No thoughts of divorce “if it doesn’t work out.” These things tend to become self-fulfilling prophesies.

And remember love is not an emotion, it’s an action. Not the physical “love-making,” though that can be part of it. What got you together in the first place? Keep dating. Don’t stop doing the things that you did while dating. Don’t settle into the “old married couple” thing. Hope that helps some. I’ve got a lot more, and some good reading resources.

Couple of tips to make it work that I’ve learned … but I’m still very new at this.(only married for 3 years - together for almost 7).

Don’t fight to win. You may win the argument at hand but in the greater scheme of things, you lose by building resentment in your partner.

Marriage IS NOT 50-50. It’s more like 80-20, with BOTH parties thinking that they’re giving 80 and getting only 20. Get over it.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! About everything and often. Especially your finances.

Try not to lose the romance.

So far this is what I’ve learned. We should all post back here in 50 years or so to compare notes.

No, a marriage isn’t 50-50, and it’s not even 80-20. It’s 100-100. As in BOTH giving 100%.

dynosaur - great thread idea. I think that it depends on the circumstances. Trust is very important. From a lot of past experiences, I’ve lost a TON of my ability to trust people - especially girlfriends. Now I’m in a relationship I know I would like to see work out in the long run, but I still have difficulties trusting the girl despite the fact that I believe and want to trust her. Its like a defense mechanism at this point… Not sure what to do about that still, but hopefully I’ll get over whatever hangups I have sooner than later.

Communication, though, seems to be consistently important.

As you can see from all these current posts re: crappy relationships, etc. It is far from easy - especially when you get past the whole chemically induced “puppy love thing”. It takes a heck of a lot of communication, trust, and selflessness. In other words, a lot of hard ass work, since most of those things do not come naturally to anyone. Only when you get past the whole infatuation stage do you realize how much hard work it takes.

It takes trust and work and communication and work and trust and honesty and work and more communication and more honesty and more trust and more work…

Once the 'honeymoon' phase is over the real work arrives. It's looking past the towels on the floor, the dishes on the table, stealing the covers at night. It's ignoring the irritating habits that seemed so cute at the beginning. It's looking past the in-laws, past the pets, past the material things. You have to weigh the value of that person in your life and all the thing that drive you nuts... and remember all the time that you love that person.

An easy relationship is one in a million, if even that frequent. They take hard work and understanding.

Turst should never have to be questioned, every. The minute you question trust just end things, you're on the way out anyway.

I find it amazing how possessive people here are! (This is not specifically directed at Teela, I have seen MANY posts about not letting a partner be around members of the opposite sex without being supervised.) I'd lose my shit if Demo questioned the fact that I have male friends that I spend time with. Much like I would never dream of questioning him about women that he spends time with. Why? Because we trust each other. The minute I didn't feel I could trust him, he'd be gone... and I know he feels the same way.

This is a actually something I wrote for a public speaking class last spring, the topic was ethics in some aspects of our lives. I hope the html works out:

Ethics in the dating world is probably the hardest to define. Most of us practice that clich? “all’s fair in love and war.” Men and women put great effort into creating an illusion, the perfect illusion, to snare that special someone, for a long-term relationship or maybe a quickie in the backseat of a car. A quick search of the internet yields advice for men that includes “How to get away with white lies” and “What not to tell your girl,” while women have “The Rules: make up an excuse to end a phone call, don’t ever call him.” Men and women seem to agree that relationships are not about fairness, but getting what you want, be it sex, money, or companionship. As a friend of mine told me, “The only rules are: figure out what you want, get it however you can, keep it as long as you can, then find it somewhere else when she catches on.”

That is how many of us approach relationships. And most of us in this room have “friends” with stories of unbelievably bad breakups. We obviously don’t approach relationships in the right way. Ideally, relationships would include mutual honesty and trust. These are probably the most important elements in any type of relationship; a lack of these has been the cause of many breakups that I have observed, or participated in.

A lack of honesty on either side leads to mistrust, resentment, and a lack of communication. No relationship will survive for long under these conditions. A lack of trust may be well deserved, due to transgressions within a past or present relationship. No matter how subtle this mistrust may be, it will eventually manifest, through constant nagging, or an uncomfortable silence. Again, this relationship will fizzle and die.

In other environments, ethical behavior is much more clearly defined. In the business world, certain practices deemed “unethical,” such as insider trading, are also illegal; here there is an enforceable penalty for unethical behavior. But in our personal lives no one can enforce ethical behavior; there is no jail sentence for a broken heart. Ethics is the responsibility of the individual. Acting ethically will not guarantee similar treatment in return. Acting ethically is not acting out of self-interest, which makes it very difficult in a relationship, when there is always a strong element of self-interest. We can’t forget that our “significant others” are supposed to be on par with us, and our deception and manipulation will hurt someone who we supposedly value as an equal. Simply put, acting ethically in a relationship means acting toward the good of both people equally, not putting one’s own desires ahead of those of his or her partner. It’s the Golden Rule; treat others as you want to be treated.

Relationships begin in any number of ways; making them last is much more difficult. Honesty and trust allow a relationship to grow stronger. With these qualities, a couple can resolve their problems; without these qualities, innocuous disagreements can fester like a sore, infecting the relationship until it is no more. For an “ethical” relationship, honesty and trust must be present in both parties; without them, we cannot find the “it” which each one of us seeks.

Brider you are SO right about 100%/100%
I have been married for 18 years. The best times of our marriage is when we are completely focused on each others wants and needs. Conversly, the worst times are when we get selfish and focus on our OWN wants and needs.

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that either myself or my husband is possessive. There are times when I have gone out with friends with out my husband and he has done the same. We both trust each other completely, but I don’t go out of my way to spend a lot of time with guy buds with out my husband being around. At first though my husband was on the possessive side,I think he was more worried about other guys talking to me, but communication has cleared this up and he has learned to forget what other women have done in the past and realize he can trust me and I know I can trust him. I agree. if you have any doubt of trust, there is a problem which needs to be fixed or the relationship will not survive.

One thing that hasn’t really been stressed here is that trust is a matter of will. You decide that you’re going to trust someone, and then you do just that.

There will always, over the course of any long-term relationship, come a time when something seems a little (or maybe a lot) suspicious. This is not a maybe or a perhaps, it is your unavoidable destiny. The thing that matters is how you react to it. Do you say to yourself, “Okay, this seems a little weird, but I trust my partner… and that’s it”? Or do you let it get to you? If it’s the latter, then you’re gonna have problems.

And the same thing in reverse: there will be some situation where you haven’t done anything wrong, but it maybe looks like you have. Sure is nice to have a partner who takes the attitude of “Yeah, it looks a little strange, but I know my guy and he’d never cheat on me, so I’m not worried about it”.

NEVER EVER go to bed angry.

One thing that is characteristic of me while I am in a relationship is I put up 100% effort and unfortunately the past two girls that I have been with didn’t even put up 50% effort. For some dumbass reason, however, I stayed in the relationship, because I enjoyed the feeling of having someone there even though they really weren’t. My logic told me to get out, but my emotions told me to stay. Finally I am trusting my logic more and more.

Communicate!Communicate!Communicate! Schedule Date Nights. Planned(esp. if you have kids) AND spontaneous sex. Not trying to change your S.O. Trust initially is important, after a while it’s like breathing, you know when it was broken, figure out why and be strong enough to say sorry. Don’t ever leave the words unsaid or infered. Don’t yell, hit, kick, slash, hack, slap, poke or bite. Silence can have meaning and put a timeframe to your “cooling off” period.

Here are a few of my thoughts, friendship, my wife is unquestionably my best friend (married nearly 15 yrs), freedom, although we enjoy doing things together or with our children we also realise that we want to do things alone as well. Communication, we talk about all sorts of things, sometimes nothing important, other times the problems of the world. Realise that you are different, politically I am as far right as my wife is as far left, we will never agree on certain issues such as the death penalty (I’m anti she’s pro) but over time we have realised there is no point going there as we will never change. Commitment, we are both commited to our relationship and are aware of temptations, our answer is to not place yourself in a tempting situation.

It takes love and commitment, honesty, communication…Nah, it takes drugs and alchohol. If you stay blinded out of your mind, chances are you can put up with thier shit.

I agree with Hyphnz.