What your relationship shall not thrive without

By Olive Nakiyemba.

Posted  Saturday, February 2  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

In a relationship, nothing is left to chance; you get out the exact amount you put in. Here are some areas you should be investing in.

We have all been there, or at least longed to be there… that place where you find the one person you can give your love and affection to. That enigmatic place called a relationship.

More to that, we all desire that kind of relationship that gives us a peace of mind, one that has other couples looking up to yours as solid and dependable, and, ultimately, labeling us the ideal/model couple. We want our relationships to be perfect.

Like anything solid, a relationship needs strong pillars to hold it firmly enough to stand the tests that will surely come, without which it would crumble.

Olivia Kisubika, a licensed counselor, who has been married for over 24 years, has counseled many couples, helping them through various stages of their relationships. I had the pleasure of sitting down with her for a quick chat on relationships.

Kisubika explains how vital friendship is in a relationship. Pointing out that everyone yearns to feel safe, loved and secure in a relationship. “Imagine being in a relationship with someone you can completely be free with. Someone that is supportive of you, has your back and regardless of any situation, cares about you. That is the kind of relationship that survives the test of time.”

A true friend will provide you with security knowing that they are giving up a part of themselves for you and are moving out of their comfort zone for your benefit. Knowing someone as a friend first and foremost allows you to understand them and accept them into your small world, with their strengths, flaws, warts and all.

James, a special car hire driver, says he did not know he was in love with his wife until someone pointed it out to him. He laughed and said, “We were very good friends in high school. We understood each other and would always talk and share our dreams, fears and beliefs with each other. And then one day, I realized I couldn’t live my life without her. Next thing I knew, we were married.”

Kisubika says, “Trust is faith in someone for an outcome. When it comes to a healthy strong relationship, trust is a must and it is earned over time.” Some people trust easily and others take their time, wanting to make sure that their trust will not be abused or trampled upon .

Peter, a clothes vendor at Mutaasa Kafeero, says he lost all trust in women when his ex-girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend after a supposedly steady three-year relationship. With a bitter expression he says, “I trusted that woman with my heart, and I trusted my best friend even more, to the extent that I refused to believe the people who were telling me about their affair until I caught them red-handed.”

Such scenarios are, of course, justifiably unredeemable, but trust should be handled with care because once something happens to violate it, the person who has broken it is responsible for rebuilding it and this usually requires a lot of work and takes a long time.

Honour and respect for your significant other is one of the strongest pillars in a relationship.

Kisubika says it is important to genuinely respect them and not just to make a show of it in front of them. Respect each other’s needs, wants, weaknesses, strengths, dreams and goals. Respect,like trust, is earned, and not demanded.

Agnes, a hair stylist, says there is mutual respect with her husband, even though she earns slightly more than he does. This respect, she says, has carried forward into the way their children act and behave around their peers and teachers.

“A strong relationship thrives on meaningful communication,” Kisibuka advises.

Great communication exists when words, thoughts and ideas of both parties are respectfully received and understood. Discussing things likes preferences and dislikes, ambitions, successes and failures helps us understand the other person from many perspectives and serves to further cement and build the relationship.

She added, “Don’t do the silent treatment thing. Learn to communicate well. Resolving complex issues become easier as you can literally talk about anything.”

Being able to rely on someone to be there for you through thick and thin is a vital element in an intimate relationship. Having someone put in their best effort in a relationship, keeping you near or at the top of their priority list can help make a relationship strong and healthy.

We all know relationships are not rosy. They have their ups and downs, and when one commits completely, it helps the relationship to become resilient during the times when there are more thorns than roses.

Kisibuka concludes, “Everything in a relationship works both ways. There has to be mutual respect, mutual trust, commitment to each other and mutual understanding brought about by great communication. Both parties have to endeavour to make the relationship work or it’ll all be in vain.”

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