My husband and I have been together for more than 25 years and many people often ask me what our secret to still being together and happy is. Those who know us also know that we haven’t had it easy, with quite a few heavy hurdles on the way. But here we are, still together and yes, happy. That’s why I decided to share some of the things that work for us with you. I hope they can help you be together and happy, too.
The most important basic element in our couple is that we CHOSE to share our lives and grow together. We both DECIDED to walk TOGETHER in this life. That means that we both support one another and share goals and dreams. Neither of us walks and the other one follows. No, we WALK TOGETHER. Every time there’s something new in our lives, be it something in his or in mine, we sit together and discuss it. We then decide what to do. Once again, together.
This all means that our paths are constantly aligned. We make the effort and take the time to make sure that we’re both on the same page. My husband obviously has his goals and dreams. I have my own, too. But what we do is, we make sure that his reaching his and my reaching mine somehow helps us both or at least doesn’t impact the other one negatively. For example, we both work. We try to organize our trips abroad in such a way that one of us is at home, keeping things running. When I go, he stays and takes over. When he goes, I stay and take over. He understands that my professional fulfilment and development is as important to me as his is to him.
My husband often says that a relationship would be very unrewarding if the other person didn’t feel fulfilled and had nothing to share with his/her partner. That doesn’t mean that we should all work outside of home or pursue professional goals. No. What we mean by that is that both partners in a relationship should be able to feel fulfilled in all important aspects of their lives. If a person feels happy staying at home and the couple can live like that, by all means, go for it! If both need to work outside because professional development is an important aspect for both, try and find a way to make it happen. Healthy, solid couples are based on healthy, solid human beings and, to be so, each member of a couple needs to feel like they’re living a rewarding life. If one of the partners feels dissatisfied, unchallenged, bored, hopeless, the couple will surely suffer and probably fail.
Do you know what your other significant other wants in life? Are you sure he/she is getting it or at least pursuing it? And you, do you feel fulfilled, rewarded, satisfied? Are you doing what you want?
There will be times in which one member of the couple might have to do things just to help the other partner reach his/her goals. That’s ok as long as it’s a joint decision and one which doesn’t perpetuate any disadvantages or unhappiness for either partner. Sit together. Speak about your dreams. Listen to one another! Try to find some common ground and common goals and dreams. Then, make a plan. Yes, take some paper and a pen and write down a plan to help both fulfil your dreams together or your individual dreams in conjunction and mutual support, without either suffering. Look for synergies that might push both of you forward. If only one of you is moving forward and reaching goals, the plan will end up failing sooner or later.
Any couple wanting share a life should be a team of two. Later, maybe, a team of more. But as a team, all decisions should be taken together, bearing the wellbeing of both, the team and its members, in mind. If only one of the members of the team is happy, the team will end up breaking up. As simple as that.
Some people tell me, ‘I love to sacrifice myself for my partner and make sure he/she reaches goals. That makes me happy.’ Does it, truly? I respond. If helping your partner reach goals makes you happy and fulfilled because you have no goals of your own, there’s something missing. What do YOU want? If helping your partner reach goals makes you happy and fulfilled because your partner then makes you feel appreciated and loved and that’s what you TRULY want, great, go for it! But because YOU want it.
My first tip for a healthy, long-lasting relationship is then, to make sure that both partners lead what they consider fulfilling, rewarding lives. If one of you is not, sit down together and figure out what is preventing that.
Come back for more ideas on long-lasting relationships. I will be publishing some more articles these coming weeks. Feel free to share them as well, if you think they could help somebody you know.
Remember, enjoy life… ALL of it,