MEN&WOMEN: Make promises that you intend to keep

Sunday December 23 2018

Constantly let your partner know how much you appreciate all the things they do for you.

Constantly let your partner know how much you appreciate all the things they do for you. ILLUSTRATION | IGAH 

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Successful relationships need so much more than love. They also need you to make good choices. Choices that are in the best interest of your relationship, rather than all about yourself. That makes such a huge difference, that it’s worth talking together about what those choices should be.

Like you should agree to accept each other unconditionally. And promise each other that you’ll let go of expectations about how a husband or wife “should” behave, and accept each other as you really are. Because unrealistic expectations lead to endless disappointment. While accepting each other’s quirks means you can work with them, rather than fighting. So stop trying to change your partner, and enjoy them just the way they are.

When your partner is finding life challenging, they need you more than ever. So promise that you’ll always be there for one another, both practically and emotionally, whenever one of you is unwell, having difficulties at work, or simply feeling down.

You need to trust each other so well that you can share everything that’s going on in your lives. But trust takes practice and is earned one step at a time. So couples often find it difficult to talk to each other about what’s bothering them. Work on sharing your thoughts — in both the good times and the bad, and promise that you’ll always be open and honest with one another. Because lies, omissions and deception, however well intentioned, undermine even the best of relationships.


You also need to learn to understand your partner’s feelings. That’s not so much about trying to fix their problems, as simply listening to them. Because not every issue needs a solution. And as you try to see things from your partner’s eyes, you’ll grow ever closer. So promise each other that you’ll always be ready to listen.

Attentively, without criticism, comparison or judgement. Avoid turning whatever your partner is saying into something about you, and instead, just listen deeply to what they’re saying, so they feel heard and accepted.

You’ll hurt and upset each other many times over. So promise each other that you’ll forgive quickly, let go of grudges, and start over every day.

Easier said than done, but even the very best relationships need a whole lot of forgiveness.

You’re both bound to have your own views, of course, but you also need to sing from the same song sheet. So promise to let go of any unbendable views of the world, and try to find common ground.

Promise to treat each other kindly, and with respect and affirmation. No lecturing, cynicism, negativity, shouting, name-calling or emotional abuse.

Promise never to take each other for granted. Or forget to show love and affection. Constantly remind yourself how lucky you are to have such a wonderful partner. And tell them how much you value their love.

Constantly let your partner know how much you appreciate all the things they do for you. And your relationship will last forever.