Hina met Ahmed at their cousin’s wedding ceremony. Ahmed saw Hina first when she was busy giggling and laughing innocently with her friends at the corner of the banquet hall. Ahmed was love-struck by her dazzling eyes since his eyes met Hina’s. He tried approaching her, but she ignored him initially. After lots of effort and research, he managed to find out her phone number. From there on, their journey of friendship began, and soon they were head over heels in love with each other. Their friends used to envy the chemistry between them. After a year of their friendship, they got married.
A couple of years later, conflicts began to arise in their marriage. They started fighting on petty issues. They began to see all the errors in each other that they had overlooked during the earlier part of their romantic relationship. These obstacles are not limited to Hina and Ahmed only. In fact, this is the story of most married couples. The reasons for such unhappiness among couples are manifold. Let’s have a look at some of them:
Chemical Changes in the Brain Create a High
During the initial stage of love, the brain releases chemicals known as dopamine, adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which creates a high, intense experience of being in love. However, the brain cannot afford to remain in such a state for a long time. So, it begins to calm down. As soon as the effects of these chemicals taper off, the effect of being crazy changes into laziness in love. At this point, many couples deeply get disappointed when their romance fades out. They start missing the spark in their relationship. They begin complaining about their spouse changing. The most common complaint is that they are not as loving or romantic as they used to be earlier.
Media is the Culprit
The media has been manipulating the emotion – called Love, to sell their products and to achieve high ratings for their program viewership. It is negatively affecting people’s minds. All these romantic movies show a handsome guy chasing a beautiful girl. They glamorize the thrill to chase the loved one but hardly show what happens after they get each other. So, usually, people enjoy the initial thrill, but as soon as the thrill of the first phase is over, the love begins to fade away, and they find it difficult to maintain their relationship. Many couples end up getting divorced or separated.
So, how do we tackle these problems?
Tips to Maintain a Long–Term Healthy Relationship
Here are a few ways to manage a long-term loving relationship:
Accept the Flaws of Your Partner
One of the key ingredients in maintaining a long-lasting relationship is to accept your loved ones as they are. Generally, when the state of ‘being high’ caused by the chemicals in the brain settles down within 1 to 3 years, then we start to see all the flaws. At this time, a lot of patience is required. We tend to get upset easily when we don’t like something our partner does, but staying calm in the face of stress is vital if you want to be a good lover. You also need to take responsibility for your own reaction rather than blaming your partner. As the wise Roman philosopher, Seneca said long ago,
“Most powerful is the person who has himself in his own power.”
Learn to Enjoy the Mundane Life
Actual day-to-day work such as doing groceries, picking up and dropping kids at school, cleaning the house, doing dishes, etc., are part of daily life. These chores are very exciting. A healthy, sustainable relationship would never make a good reality TV show. You need to understand that reality is way different from all those glamorous TV shows. We should learn to live a routine life happily. Life is not always exciting. Getting bored together or enjoying mundane chores together is the art of leading a happy life.
Lower Expectations and Increase Communication
Lowering the expectations from the spouse is one of the main reasons for a happy relationship. It does not mean that you kill all your desires. It simply means to be realistic about your desires and expectations. One of the major mistakes that couples make is that they never communicate about what they expect from their spouse. It’s a general belief that the loved one always knows what you need and when the spouse falls short of their expectation, disappointment sets in. So, to be happy in love is to communicate what you expect from your loved one.
According to the famous book “Men Are From Mars And Women Are From Venus,” men will give and give until they think everything is ok and their spouse is pleased with what they have done. This can be with emotions, money, effort, work, or physical objects. On the other hand, women will typically give them a chance with the hope that the man will return the gesture.
I would like to quote an example from the book “Men Are From Mars, And Women Are From Venus that can make it easy to understand.
An old story about men and women communicating perfectly depicts how this lack of directness can cause misunderstandings.
A man and a woman are driving down the street. The woman points at the ice cream store and says, “Look! The ice cream store is open.” The man says, “Yes, it is,” and keeps driving. Later that evening, the woman is upset and asks, “why didn’t you stop for ice cream when I asked?” The man is confused and says, “I never heard you ask to stop for ice cream.”
It is a relatively small and rather inconsequential example, but it is one that many people in male/female relationships can relate to. Hence, to have a smooth relationship, the woman has to be clear and should point out what makes her unhappy, rather than giving him a chance to improve on his own. On the other hand, a man has to be more sensitive to a woman’s cues to understand what is going on in her mind.
So, the key to a successful long-term relationship is – patience, acceptance, and clear communication. Of course, it does not come easy. It requires continuous efforts. Happy couples gladly put in efforts to maintain their love and reap the benefits of a happy and healthy soul.