According to a new study by a team led by Prof. Kristian Tambs from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, couples who are contented with their relationships are less prone to stress. The results show that a good relationship is a protective factor against some significant stress factors such as first time parenthood in both men and women, and against unemployment and low family income in men.
The study found that a happy relationship guarantees a partner the security he or she need in times of crisis. One partner is always confident that the other will always be there for them.
Moseh Kirioba, a lecturer in Sociology at Kenyatta University in Nairobi said: “Satisfaction in a relationship reduces stress in many ways. Man is a social animal that relies on healthy social relationships and networks to survive”. (‘Happy couples less prone to stress’ – The East African, April 30-May 6, 2012)
A blissful relationship is not normally determined by the duration a couple has been together, neither by their age nor their income bracket, but lies solely in the choices that the couple makes.
According to Saleeh Mimi, a psychology practitioner at the United States International University, “a relationship is like a baby, if you don’t handle it with care, nurture it and feed it with all the nutrients it needs in order for it to grow, it will eventually get malnourished and might eventually die. “
Share the same convictions……emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually.
So what does it take to be in a satisfactory relationship in a world where 40 percent of marriages end in divorce?
- Focus on compatibility. This should occur at the onset of any relationship. The saying that ‘opposites attract’ in a relationship is just a myth. In order to be in a fulfilling relationship you need to share the same convictions in the at least five aspects that matter in your life, i.e., emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually and sexually.
- Communication. Just like a business enterprise, a relationship will never grow if there is no communication between the two partners. Relationships guru and author of Designer Love and Pillow Talk, Francis Akuka, recommends that couples should be ‘love buddies’. This creates room for every party to express their feelings, be listened to and understood without being judged.
- Spend time apart. “Absence”, they say, “makes the heart grow fonder”. Pursuing friendships and interests outside your relationship can make you more fulfilled. You also get to appreciate your partner even more. This does not mean however, that you should spend less time together. Spending time together and sharing interests that you both enjoy will strengthen the bond you share as well.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect it to be happy all the time. You ought to realize that you are too different people who have been brought up differently and share different ideas. You will not always agree on everything, but the most vital thing is to understand each other. Don’t sweat the small things and speak up when it really is important to you. Again keep realistic standards for each other.
- Do away with Criticism, Defensiveness and Contempt. When faced with criticism, it’s only natural to play defensive and this is normally the source of the many small fights that could otherwise be avoided in a healthy relationship.
As Francis Akuka puts it in his book Designer Love, “… all lovers who wish to experience bliss in their love life must understand that this won’t happen naturally.”
In short, you need to sow in order to reap.