The word “maintain” sometimes gets a bad rap. At times, it seems to suggest just getting by. But in fact, it means to “upkeep”. It means to “take care of”. No successful relationship remains successful on autopilot. Every now and then, there needs to be a routine check up to make sure that there’s no trouble brewing in paradise. Complacency will kill those with the best intentions of staying together.
Here are 5 tools (or reminders) that can be used to solidify even the best relationships:
Remember to pray – This is most important in the relationships of people that are spiritual. If God is the head of your life, then He surely should be the head of any relationships that you’re involved in. It’s often stated that the family that prays together stays together, but that prayer life has to start within the relationship. Acknowledging that it is God that controls it all helps to keep things in perspective and reminds couples of where they need to turn when the problem becomes bigger than the relationship.
Love without limits – There’s often talk of unconditional love, but there are times when that word “unconditional” comes back to haunt. People may try and take advantage in the name of that love. For example, staying in an abusive relationship should be outside of the conditions for love, but some may suggest that if you don’t allow abuse, you don’t really have love. While we can’t always do things without conditions, we can do things without limits. Seems confusing, right? Well, here’s some clarity: The love that you give, based on the conditions that are laid out for your relationship, should be given without limits. Your relationship deserves the very best love that you have to offer. Never put a cap on how much you give, within the confines of what is outlined.
There is no “perfection” – People are often searching for “perfect” relationships, when the goal should be finding someone whose flaws you can tolerate, while they’re willing to do the same for you. Relationships aren’t about perfection, but rather learning to manage the ups and downs with love. Rollercoasters are much more fun when you’re with people that you aren’t afraid to ride with, scream with, be afraid with, and survive with. Those that are perfectly imperfect for one another often find love that’s so unique to what they need, they can’t imagine life without it.
Keep your heart open, but the doors close – The most successful relationships should be a model for others. People often base whether or not they believe in love on the relationships that they come into contact with on a regular basis. If you appear to be properly managing your relationship, people may want to mimic what you have. Be willing to share your love story, offer tips for success, but keep the doors to your inner most working closed. Remember that privacy still matters. There are still wolves in sheep’s clothing that may appear to want advice and examples, when in fact they want to know your business so they can use it against you. No one needs to know it all but the two in the relationship.
Don’t explain when an apology is necessary – Forgiveness is a most important component to relationships. Because of the many ups and downs that often come, there are bound to be arguments, and maybe even hurt feelings. While we often want to explain or justify our actions or our point of view, there are times when an apology is what’s needed and that’s all. There are times when the reason you screwed up doesn’t matter, but how quickly you wanna make it right does. There’s plenty of time for explaining, but if someone has been hurt by your actions, that situation must be remedied first. To look to serve your interest first is just selfish.
While not a complete list, these are just a few things that can help to solidify relationships and help to move them to the next level. The truth is there is no finish line to relationships. There are milestones and accomplishments, but no relationship should ever be “done”. The best of them are always under construction. Either you’re in repairs, or you’re giving things a facelift. Because anything worth having is worth working consistently for.