By Edeline Anne Goh
For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.
There’s a popular saying about relationships that goes something like this: when you’re in a committed relationship you either get to be right or you get to be happy.
The truth is, the secret to maintaining a happy and healthy relationship is all about finding common ground. Shared values and beliefs, mutual respect and honesty will strengthen that bond you have with your loved one. Here are the 7 commandments that will help you work your way to a happy and healthy relationship as you walk through life with your spouse or partner.
I. LOVE THY PARTNER
When in a relationship, It is not about having a perfect 36-24-36 silhouette or looking like George Clooney. While love at first sight happens for many couples, the physical features of your partner will change as the years go by. If you learn to love your partner for his or her wonderful qualities and character traits, you will find it easy to stay in love even after 20, 30, 40 years or more.
II. RESPECT THY PARTNER
Mutual respect in a relationship is essential and you should always respect your partner’s space and personal boundaries. Of course, transparency in a relationship is vital, but it is important not to step over the line. Also, make the effort to respect your partner’s decisions by supporting him or her through life’s twists and turns. Appreciate your partner’s individuality and do not expect your partner to react the same way you would when you face a career or life decision
III. THOU MUST COMPROMISE
A wise man once said that the secret to a healthy relationship is compromise. Set aside your ego and stop being calculative. A relationship is not a competition but a journey. Take turns to take care of the kids if your spouse has plans. Be willing to do household chores, like washing the dishes together. Most importantly, help each other out when in need. A relationship is about give and take — not about winning and losing.
IV. THOU SHALL HAVE A DATE NIGHT
Having children limits your time alone with each other. Without a doubt, spending precious time with your kids is essential. However, creating a date night with your partner at least once a week, helps to maintain a happy and healthy relationship. Make full use of the time by talking about your hopes and dreams or sharing your worries and challenges. This will bring you closer together.
V. THOU SHALL ARGUE AND NOT FIGHT
You might sigh with relief when you hear this – experts say, a healthy relationship consists of arguments! It is okay to have different points of view but do not let it become a full on fight, that includes calling each other names or throwing things at one another. Instead, keep things calm and productive by talking through an argument and making sure you listen to each other’s opinions.
VI. THOU MUST BE CONSCIOUS WITH WORDS
When we are overwhelmed with emotions, we tend to get carried away with the words that we use and we often end up regretting what we said in the heat of the moment. Before you throw out spiteful words in a rage, take a deep breath and think about what you’re going to say. Your choice of words reflects the level of respect you have for your partner. You can have far more success choosing the right words if you take the time to calm yourself before approaching your partner. Taking a short walk or listening to soothing music for a few minutes are both good ways to do this. Aside from your words, you should also watch your tone. A good rule of thumb? Speak to your partner in the way that you would like him or her to speak to you.
VII. THOU MUST NOT GO TO BED WITHOUT RESOLVING AN ARGUMENT
Older couples often give this advice to newlyweds: never go to bed until you have resolved an argument. The true meaning behind this advice is that you should talk through the disagreement and solve it before turning off the lights. Going to bed with unsolved relationship issues not only affects the quality of your sleep but leads to grudges and repressed emotions, which will negatively affect your relationship.