It's OK If Your Relationship Isn't Always A Bed Of Roses'


Pixabay (CC0 Licence)

Of all the many things that the world of fiction has taught us - and there is an endless list of things that movies and TV routinely get wrong - perhaps one of the most pernicious is that real love is all hearts and butterflies. There are generally two settings for couples in drama - “blissfully happy”, and “having screaming rows every day”. This can create unrealistic expectations with regard to what love is really like. You may end up feeling that, if you’re not gazing into one another’s eyes for most of the day, then your relationship is falling short.

In truth, most relationships are neither one thing nor the other, and two people can love each other very much without spontaneously breaking into song about it. It’s hard to accurately portray what real love is like and also make it entertaining, but you should rest assured that even if you don’t have a special song that defines you as a couple, it’s not a problem. If you’re worried that your partnership isn’t meeting the standards that it’s meant to, then maybe the standards are the problem. If you’re meeting the standards below, you’re good.

Do you prioritize each other’s happiness?

Both parts of a couple should be able to say that their significant other’s happiness means the world to them. Sometimes on TV, this is portrayed as one part of that couple being so invested that they’ll exact vengeance on anyone who gets in the way of that happiness. But white knights on a steed only exist in period drama. Prioritizing your true love’s happiness is about compromise, sacrifice and communication. If you’d delay your own priorities to see that theirs are met, then you get what love is.

Do you know what to do after an argument?

Real couples disagree sometimes, and even argue about things. When you spend a lot of time with someone, it’s inevitable that there are going to be moments when things get heated. Two people with their own personalities, views and needs are never going to be 100% on the same page. Occasional arguments are not a sign you need to call in divorce solicitors. What is important is that afterwards, you can sit down and talk honestly without recrimination and resolve the issue that led to the argument. It’s actually more worrying if you never exchange tough words - because clearing the air after ten years can be more explosive than doing it after ten weeks.

Are you pulling in the same direction?

Most importantly of all in a relationship, two people have to feel like they have the same general destination in mind. You may well disagree on how to get there, but you’ve got the rest of your lives to deal with those questions. However, if one partner really wants kids and the other doesn’t, you can’t both have what you want. If one of you wants to save for a house, or the kids’ college fund, and the other keeps borrowing from a joint account because they haven’t budgeted, then you’re pulling apart. If, however, you both put your back into reaching the same goals, disagreement over the small print is resolvable.

You don’t need to worry if your relationship isn’t all fireworks and love hearts. There is much more to being a happy couple than the poetry of life, and if you agree on the important stuff then you’ve got something to work with.

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