What makes a perfect relationship? Whatever the two people in it decide. There is no perfect formula for a relationship in my view.
So what is your perfect relationship? Have you discussed it? Have you agreed?
By the way, having one person dictate and the other silently concede is not an agreement and will not create a perfect relationship.
In my experience, the person who concedes sometimes gets retribution later on in life.
Maybe we should sign a relationship contract that we renegotiate every few years: I promise not to fart; burp; eat with my mouth open; tell you stories about what happened at work in minute detail then yell at you when you tell me what to do about it; walk dirt into the house; forget to replace the toilet paper; play Candy Crush in bed.
I promise to: be nice at least 80 per cent of the time; make love to you on an agreed basis; brush my teeth; keep my nails pretty; not develop a beer gut; and only watch sport 30 per cent of the time I am home.
There’s a great saying I heard a long time ago. A man marries a woman hoping that she will never change and a woman marries a man believing that he will change.
Both are disappointed. I am sure it translates to the LGBTIQ community equally as well.
People often have an idealised view of how their relationships will progress, regardless of all the evidence to the contrary.
We are omnipotent when we are in love, a bit like P-platers who have no idea how dangerous driving actually is.
We enter into the relationship thinking our love will continue to blind us to the other person’s revoltingness.
When the cracks start to develop, we think how annoying it is that the other person is the way they are. In fact, the very things we loved about them when we met them are incredibly annoying now.
We don’t consider that maybe we need to change.
How do we learn to negotiate and communicate, listen with empathy instead of firing off at the first word the other person utters that we don’t like?
How do we listen to understand, instead of being adamant about how right we are? What if we perceived our partners as being well-intentioned? What if we were forgiving?
What if we communicated graciously? ‘Hey, you probably don’t realise this, but when you walk inside with muddy boots; drop your towel on the floor; leave your nail clippings; hair or makeup all over the place, I want to stab you with a sharp implement.’
Oops, that wasn’t what I meant to write.
‘Hey, you probably don’t realise this, but when I tell you about my day and you tell me what I should have done differently, I feel hurt and frustrated instead of relieved and at peace because I believe I have been heard and understood.’
Whoa. Imagine sounding like that. You’ll be off to sort out conflicts between countries next.
Why don’t you give it a try?