The Best Investment You Will Ever Make…
When it comes down to it, a successful relationship is built by two individuals with the commitment to make something good even better.
The first ignition of a spark between two people is like finding a nugget of gold. It is not just what we have found that excites us, but the promise of what it will mean to us. A gold nugget could lead to a lump-sum of money that could set you up for years, while a beautiful relationship promises you years of happiness, security and companionship.
But what does reality tell us? Statistics have shown that in Europe in 2015, 43% of marriages ended in divorce. While not all relationships equate to marriage, if one considers marriage as an indication of a public proclamation of a life-time commitment, then it is likely that other relationships have a higher failure-rate.
Now please understand, this is not a statistic mentioned to talk about how relationships are doomed to fail 50% of the time… On the contrary, this article is to discuss some aspects of a relationship which easily get neglected, and which (when actively worked on) can be the difference between a dying love and a thriving love!
So where does it all go wrong?
“He’ll never understand me.”
“She must think I lie around all day at work!”
“Doesn’t he trust me enough to tell me about his feelings?”
“I always have to fight to be heard.”
We can keep listing these thoughts about relationships. On and on the list will go so long as we ask people what their struggles in their relationships are. Stand in a shopping mall, close your eyes, turn in a circle and stick out your arm. Grab the first person you touch and ask them if they can relate to any of the above sentiments. Chances are they will have thought one or more of them at some time in their relationship.
Does this mean that the relationship is doomed to fail? NO WAYS! We do not throw away our car just because we need to change the tyres…We get them fixed and enjoy the security of knowing that we can drive safely for the next year or so.
Why then would we see our relationships otherwise?
We may think that having found something which tarnishes our perfect perception of our undying love means it was never as good as we thought… Or is it perhaps that we were looking at relationships the way we watch the modern rom-coms?
It is funny how most love stories end after the couple has gone through a struggle, find their happiness, and get married… And then?
Do we assume that their overcoming this one obstacle means we can breathe a sigh of relief on their behalf in knowing we never have to worry about this couple’s relationship ever coming apart at the seams again? Do we inwardly smile at this image of “Happily ever after” and dream of the day when our relationship will have that same pinnacle moment, leaving no struggles in its wake but the bliss of riding this wave to happiness and beyond?
It would be a tragedy if we thought this, because the chances are that the relationship will eventually be dripping with false expectations.
Little by little they will drown what we once thought was fulfilling and beautiful, now overwhelmed in melancholy or resentment.
A relationship is like a body that needs to be cared for with tenderness: when the body feels weak, we feed it, give it water and let it rest; it needs to be inspected when there is something amiss, perhaps requiring a visit to the doctor; it sometimes needs a little coaxing to do what we want it to do; when we have a fitness goal, we train it and make it stronger, and, very importantly, it is a valuable asset that needs to be protected from harm! But, especially in our youth, we take our bodies for granted not realising that age will wear it down. It is sad how many people enter into relationships not knowing, let alone accepting, that they will one day be tested against life’s challenges.
And what will be of the utmost importance in these trying times?
Like most wars fought, relationship issues usually stem from misunderstandings and bad communication. Each sentiment mentioned earlier, like “He’ll never understand me!”, has its roots in feelings of not being understood. Are we honest enough with ourselves to admit we may not be doing enough to understand our partner?
How we think has an impact on absolutely everything we do, apart from the subconscious breathing and heart-beating happening every day. Becoming acquainted with your own unique thinking style and that of your partner lies at the core of finding solutions for your relationship difficulties. Every couple must wrestle with this at some point in time.
A disparity in thinking preferences can become apparent after twenty years, or it can happen after three, but either way, maturity in relationships comes in fostering a healthy acceptance of the thinking preferences of your partner, and vice versa.
A closer analysis of how we think
Because relationships form such an important element of our lives, and based on the assumption that we want them to be lasting and fulfilling, a closer analysis of how we think is a must. Look at the following descriptions of the 8 dimensions of the brain (according to the NBI®). Consider how they apply to you and your partner, and see if you can relate to any of these modes of thinking:
L1 – REALIST
- You have a clear-headed approach to relationships
- No falling head over heels in love for you
- You are clear on what you think is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in a relationship
- A need to know exactly where the relationship is heading
- Prove your love in concrete ways
L1 – ANALYST
- Prefer logic over sentiment
- You analyse problems instead of reacting in emotional ways
- Dig deeper into problems (and may be seen as cold and distant)
- Financial security comes before romantic gifts
- You can be critical of your partner’s behaviour
L2 – STALWART AND PRESERVER
- You will consider the advantages and disadvantages of a new relationship
- Prefer stable, long-lasting relationships
- Treasure loyalty in your partner
- Traditions regarding relationships are important
- You would not be likely to ‘break the rules’
L2 – ORGANIZER
- You like to organize the outings, etc., in your relationship
- You are the ‘long suffering’ partner who perseveres through the tough times
- Show your love in very practical ways
- Like to do things for your partner
- You don’t like surprises (particularly the unwanted ones)
R2 – SOCIALIZER
- You are affectionate and don’t hide your emotions
- Can be a passionate and enthusiastic lover
- Socialising with friends is an important part of your relationship
- Share your feelings and ideas openly
- You wear your heart on your sleeve!
R2 – EMPATHIZER
- You’re sensitive to your partner’s needs and moods
- You like to ‘look after’ your loved one
- Sensitive and easily hurt by your partner’s behaviour
- You are sensitive to atmosphere and affected by it
- Like quiet and intimate moments with your partner
R1 – STRATEGIST
- You’re full of surprises and like to be surprised in return
- You may seem to neglect your relationship at times because you are busy with many different projects
- Like to experiment in your relationship
- The future of your relationship is very important
- May sometimes sail close to the wind and find excitement in being daring
R1 – IMAGINEER
- You spice up your love life through fantasy
- May get into trouble forgetting important details
- You often plan outings on the spur of the moment
- You show your affection spontaneously
- Daydream about your relationship and about love in general
Recognise yourself anywhere?
We all have within us each of these, but just to different degrees. Some people are more affectionate than others, but not everyone wants to be affectionate! It is a wonderful thought to think that there is somebody for everybody under the sun!
The whole point of this discussion is this: investing time and effort into your relationship is the best investment you will ever make. Your partner is a diverse being who was most likely alive for a good 20 years before you met them, and so there are a very many things going on inside of them which were there way before you came along. And it is likely for things new to you to come into the light in your partner even after years of being married.
Endeavour to find out what their intricacies are, and, more importantly, how to embrace them with open arms (however that looks for you).
One of the ways you can do this is for you and your partner to do the NBI® Adult which tests your thinking preferences. With this information, you two can make leaps and bounds in bridging any divide there may be between you two by pin-pointing what your most preferred ways of thinking are. None of the thinking preferences are any better or worse than another: there are a million colours under the sun, and they complement each other in a myriad of ways! The goal will be for you to appreciate what your partner has to offer the relationship, and for you to put your best foot forward. So doing you can have a successful relationship!
REMEMBER: You and your partner may have different thinking preferences – the challenge is to be tolerant and to find ways to accommodate your loved one.
Curious about what your brain profiles may be? You will find our NBI® Adult and NBI® Relationship Style the insight you are looking for to inject your relationship with newfound insight and renewed excitement.