We are in the season of love. Valentine’s Day is approaching. The Church is celebrating National Marriage Week, which Archbishop Chaput points out is not just for married couples. He says, This week long celebrations “provide an opportunity to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.”
It seems when talking about relationships, the most asked questions is, “How can you possibly make it last?”
Relationships can be hard. It can no longer be just about “me.” It by its very definition must be about “we.” Sometimes each of your hopes and dreams and abilities work together. However, sometimes (and maybe a lot of times), they don’t. The U.S. Bishops have dedicated a lot of time and resources to this subject. The even have a great web resource titled foryourmarriage.org One of the areas this website looks at is difficulties that might be faces in a relationship.
The website list such things as: addictions, career & employment issues, conflict, disillusionment, finances, household duties, illness,infertility, infidelity, in-laws.. to name a few. How will you handle these things? Will you be able to step outside of yourself and find an approach that encompasses and embraces the thought, feelings, and capabilities of both of you?
In the “we” of a relationship, the reality is we may not both be strong at the same time. We both may not be rational at the same time. We both may not be fully committed at the same time. This is where the concept of realistic expectations is key.
A lot of couples think they know each other well. My guess (and experience) is that there is a lot that isn’t known. If you did not live in the same house as your partner, if you didn’t attend the same school(s), don’t work in the same location, or be with them 24/7 since they were born – there is a lot you don’t know. You don’t know all the experiences which have shaped who they are and how they think. This is a fact, and part of realistic expectations. This is where the “we” is key. There has to be communication about how things are done. You might think you know how they are going to react because that is how they “always” react, but there may be something new in their lives, or a trigger that causes an old behavior to appear.
As I bring this article to a close, I encourage you to visit an article on the foryourmarriage website. The article is title Perseverance:Love never ends They list 3 characteristics of lasting couples:
- The ability to hope
- The ability of both spouses to sacrifice for a better future
- Faith—in themselves, in one another and in God
iv. Realistic Expectations Where are you at in developing & maintaining a strong, lasting relationship?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not… 1Cor13