ThoughtsOnLove: The rules of engagement

By Collins Eboru  


“No man is an island”. No one was created to be alone or to survive alone. We may occasionally act independently but we’ll always feel the need for human interaction. Not just an acquaintance to interact or to communicate with but for something closer and with an intense affection.

Everyone needs a companion. There is a need to find someone whom we can trust and spend time with and talk to and confide in and relax with and share those things that are on our hearts. We need someone to really care and be concerned about how we feel. We need that feeling that says “you are always there for me no matter what”. Simply put, we all need relationships.

Relationships come in different dimensions, with different rules of engagement and even with different partakers. Some important pillars of relationship include:

“Playing the game of love is not for the faint hearted neither is it for the tough and terrible.”

1. Be realistic: We can’t always have the David Beckhams’, Brad Pitts’ or Angelina Jolies’. If you think your partner will be any of these people, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES!! We are all unique in our own way so we should always keep your expectations practical. No one is everything we want them to be neither are we the perfect ten for them. Being realistic involves accepting people for who they really are and not trying to change them. This will help prepare you for whatever lies ahead.

2. Trust and honesty:  Trust is essential in all loving relationships. Without it one person becomes suspicious, anxious and fearful and the other person feels trapped and emotionally suffocated. You cannot have a fulfilled relationship unless you trust them completely. One of the ways you can tell if a person is right for you is to ask yourself if you trust them completely and unreservedly.

Honesty on the other hand involves telling the truth even if your partner’s feelings may be hurt. When you lie, you do not express who you really are to your partner, rather you give a false impression. A healthy relationship needs to be free from those little white lies- you have to make sure you think properly before you speak also especially when being honest so you don’t come out as mean. Relationships can deteriorate if there’s no trust and honesty.

3. Communication: This is a vital part of any basic relationship. Take your time to be there for your partner when they have some issues bothering them, don’t just sit there like an oaf and stare blankly. Genuinely listen to your partner and don’t plan what to say next while trying to listen. Listen with your ears and your heart because as emotional beings we always have messages to pass and share through the tone of voice, eye and body movement. If you feel you have missed something, ask appropriate questions (it shows that you have been listening). Phone calls, text messages, emails and BlackBerry messages, all fall under communication so be generous with sharing information but don’t push it over board by overwhelming your partner with too much information too soon.

4. Fighting fair: As my late grandmother always told my parents whenever they had a big fight: “all relationships have their turbulent times”. This only buttresses the fact that we are humans and we will not always agree on certain things.

When you have issues in your relationship, talk about it. Make sure you negotiate a time to talk thoroughly about what happened. It’s difficult trying to talk when you are angry, tired or frustrated so you should always try to ask: “when is a good time to talk about something that’s bothering me?” Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect.

And when you do talk, do not go all out to criticize your partner. Attack the problem, not the other person.  Recognise your partner’s right to speak and explain themselves because very often we feel we know so much about how people feel and think, simply because we are close to them.

Always stay within the topic when arguing. Do not use a current concern as a reason to jump into everything that bothers you neither should you use stuff from the past that your partner had been honest about to get back at them. Saying “I am sorry” when you are wrong and meaning it doesn’t make you a smaller person in the relationship. It goes to show that you have learnt from your mistakes and you value what you and your partner share.

There may not be a resolving ending at that juncture but be prepared to compromise about some things so that your relationship may grow.  After all is said and done, do not keep grudges. They just drain your energy if you still hold onto your past hurts and misunderstanding. This gradually kills any relationship.

Playing the game of love is not for the faint hearted neither is it for the tough and terrible. There is always a mix and blend of different flavours and spices that life throws into our paths when we open up our hearts to love. There are many rules of engagement is relationships but this few will guide you. Everyone is a winner if we really give love a chance.           

Yours truly,

 Your Couch Doctor.



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