|"Adrift" by Sally Banfill / Pinterest|
I think the reason why a lot of relationships fail, especially in my generation, is simply because humans are selfish by nature. In a relationship, you have to give what you expect to get. To build trust, you need to be trustworthy. If you value honesty, tell the truth. If loyalty is important to you, don't walk away the first time things get hard. Be willing to try to work it out.
Most importantly: C O M M U N I C A T E
If you want your partner to listen to you, you have to be willing to talk AND listen. Don't expect your significant other to be able to read your mind. If something's bothering you, say so. Before you jump into marriage with someone, you should make sure your fundamental values match up. Similar value systems = a solid foundation...but before you build that foundation with someone else, make sure yours is solid first. Poor foundation will crumble. A house divided cannot stand.
I like to think of relationships like boats sailing on the sea. I've never been in a relationship or on a boat, but I have seen Titanic. After watching a few relationships sink, I was inspired to write a poem called "10 Ways To Avoid a Shipwreck."
10 Ways To Avoid a Shipwreck
1. Trade in two small boats for one big one. Allow room to grow and space to breathe.
2. There should be three people in the boat at all times: you, your partner, and God. No parents or friends allowed. Your business should stay between the two of you, especially if there are sharks nearby.
3. There will always be sharks nearby who either want the person in your boat or just don't want to see you happy. Hands and feet should remain in the boat at all times. Settle all conflicts inside the boat. Passengers may experience a whirlpool of emotions if bitten by a loveshark--which could ultimately sink the ship.
4. Ladies, as hard as this may be, let him steer. Be prepared to co-captain, and/or take over if he gets weak and weary. When the world tries to tear him down, build him up. Don't judge him when and if he cries. Vulnerability manifests itself differently in men. Communication is key. Remember that just like the sea, there is salt in his tears.
5. Men, let Him steer. You are the captain of your ship, but God controls the wind. It is okay not to have all the answers. Lean on God and lean on your woman. She is called a help meet for a reason. Talk to her. Tell her if you need her to help you steer. Communication is key. Remember that just like the sea, there is salt in her tears. When the world tries to tear her down, build her up. Be her shoulder to cry on.
6. When the waters get rocky, and they will, pray--together and separately. The boat may rock, but your faith cannot waver.
7. Keep a bible on board. Read it together. Every ship needs an anchor. Without the anchor, the ship can capsize, and one or both passengers will drown.
8. If you see a hole in the boat, don't ignore it. Ignoring it will only let more water in. Don't let your problems overtake you. Denial can sink a ship.
9. Perhaps the most important rule: Do not bring small passengers onto a ship with holes in it. If the ship sinks, they will drown. They cannot swim on their own. Be their anchors.
10. In any relationship, partnerSHIP, friendSHIP, etc. know when to abandon ship. If the ship has too many holes, if you feel like you're drowning, if it's not moving forward, there's no use staying on board. Find a life boat nearby, even if you have to steer it on your own. Be strong enough to do so if need be.
If you're not in a relationship right now, there are still plenty of fish in the sea. Follow the charted course, listen to the wind, and keep hope alive. She floats.