5 relationship lessons you can learn from your parents
This New Year, if you resolve to better your own relationship take some time to reflect on the way your parents interacted and decode how it might affect your own views of love.
Here are 5 key lessons that you can learn from the relationship of your parents:
1. How you fight is important. Every relationship will hit roadblocks and challenges, and at times you’ll get on each other’s nerves. It’s how you handle those times that matter. Were your parents’ arguments unnecessarily fiery and explosive? Did they sweep things under the rug and never show signs of conflict? Did they calmly express their feelings and try to reach a compromise? As children, we often receive a front row seat to our parents’ arguments, and whether or not we think their arguing style is healthy or harmful, we can learn a lot from them. Even if the only thing you learnt from your parents’ arguing style is “Don’t do what they did”, that’s still an important lesson.
2. Relationships take hard work. Did your parents work to keep their relationship fun and interesting and reap the rewards, or were they completely apathetic about how they spent their time together? Taking time to reflect on the work that your parents put in can help you to realise the impact that effort (or lack thereof) has on a relationship.
3. Communication is key. Were both of your parents totally in sync with their communication styles? Did one person never feel like they were heard? Did one parent always shut down completely at the first sign of conflict? A happy relationship requires great communication skills – this means that both parties need to be actively listening to each other as well as communicating their own feelings in a constructive and helpful way. If you remember one (or both) of your parents being consistently frustrated at not being heard, reflect on how this impacted their relationship as a whole and ask yourself – are you repeating any of their actions?
4. You’ve got to be 100% in it. Perhaps you saw both of your parents pouring their hearts and souls into making their marriage awesome. Conversely, perhaps you saw one parent really trying and the other falling far behind – or maybe you saw both of your parents flat out giving up on each other and improving their marriage. Whichever slice of the dedication pie you saw your parents exhibiting, you’ll have seen that a relationship is often significantly strained when you can clearly tell that one person isn’t giving it their all. If one person is always working harder than the other person to keep the relationship functioning and thriving, resentment will soon breed. Don’t let resentment have a place in your own relationship.
5. A “normal” relationship doesn’t exist. What’s standard for one couple might be completely opposite to the way another couple interacts – and neither one of those couples are right or wrong. Whilst it’s helpful to reflect on your parents’ relationship, try and avoid comparing it to your own endeavours in terms of which relationship is better or worse. No two relationships are exactly alike, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Whether you agree or disagree with the way your parents handled their relationship, there are some big lessons to be learned. Don’t take these lessons for granted – put them into practice and apply them to your relationships every day.
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