Lately I have been hearing a lot about marriages falling apart. Then I remember sitting down with the couples when they first met. The twinkle in their eye, the holding of hands and the romance that enveloped them, would make anyone believe they were made for each other. Then you fast forward that relationship half a decade or a decade, and guess what? They are in two different places, they are two different people. Their priorities are different and more so than ever, they are nowhere close to being in love with each other.
I am not a relationship doctor nor an expert but certainly a curious onlooker. So I spent a long time online, Wikipedia was a start and then came several other websites. And guess what? They all said that love gets the relationship started but there are other variables that make it sustainable.
So here are a few -
- Trust - Love alone doesn’t cut it. To takes two to tango. Love and Trust are two sides of the same coin. Sooner or later trust tests the weakest link in the relationship.In order to sustain a long term relationship, trust is very important. One can say, that a long term relationship can last with a smaller serving of love than a smaller serving of trust. Love after all is a filler in the thick of a relationship.
- Understanding and Support - ‘In sickness and in health…..Until death do us apart.’ Those words were chosen to be in the vows for a reason. A relationship doesn’t remain the same forever. There are challenges, financial, health and other issues test the solidarity of a relationship. It is therefore absolutely vital that there is understanding and support between you and your spouse. This support could be moral or could be physical. Supporting a passion of your spouse or partaking in sport that the other enjoy, can mean a lot!
- Purpose - I didn’t see this one coming. Most couples during their courtship do not see this either. When dating, the lust or infatuation clouds your long-term goal. In a relationship, once you have done your ‘I-dos’, it takes a while for the coffee to kick in. When life plays out for you, you realize that the other half wants something completely different. You want a countryside living, your spouse craves for city-life. Or you want a family while your other half is still wanting to pursue his/her career. That can be a challenge.
- Family - As much as our family can hinder within a marriage, often times it is the parents of the bride and groom who can smell the smoke long before they sight the flames. Close friends and parents can help you get through rough patches during a turbulent relationship. After all there is no price for experience. They can share advice and/or help mediate any issues that can grow into larger cracks in the relationship.
- Collateral damage - My favorite. Couples often notoriously put themselves above everything else. Soon they forget that the kids are collateral damage. Without proper support, a teenage kid or younger will soon lack the father-figure or caring mom to be by their side. Gandhi once said ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child.’ That said, the loving care of a father or the mother is vital and plays an integral role in the emotional well being or emotional makeup of the impressionable child. It is no surprise that most psychologist often drill down to find flaws in your early childhood years.
- External factors - Money, Lust and Depression amongst other things are known to throw a monkey wrench in the relationship. And that is not a complete list. The challenges vary in color, size and source but more importantly, the strength of a good relationship can fend off any such outside threat.
Moral of the story – Relationships can be fickle, they can be iron-clad. One person in the relationship can be an emotional magnet while the other one can be surprisingly resilient. It is not a blame game. Both the players in the relationship have to realize that it is indeed a journey. Life is not a destination. There may be several stops along the way, but you keep moving in the right direction. The challenge to your partner at the finish line is — I will be there, will you?