Let’s face it. We have all asked ourselves that question: “Am I being a good boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Am I being a good husband/wife”? Many relationships fail because one (or both) of the members in a relationship aren’t doing their job. Well, what exactly does “doing their job” mean?

Expectations Regarding Relationships

Relationships take work and effort on both parts. Yes, that is correct. Both partners need to be open and aware of each other’s feelings and ideas for improvement within the relationship. I just want to take this time now to clear up some false stereotypes/expectations regarding both males and females in a relationship. The following questions are True/False questions dealing with relationships. How do you answer them?

True or False?

 The male is to always make all decisions regarding money, home improvement, all activities, etc.

Answer: False! Remember what I said above? Both partners need to be open with their communication. If the male thinks he is to make all decisions he may become irritable, cranky, angry, or even withdrawn. So ladies, make sure you are being open and helping out! (Without being too bossy…)

The female is to do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Answer: False! All of this is about equal partnership, people. No one person should be doing all the work! Make a “chores chart” or a list of what needs to get done and split it up 50/50! Maybe even throw in a “rewards system” – the first person to get all his or her chores done gets a “special reward” … you pick the reward.

Valentine’s Day is the one day where males actually have to show their affection for their partners.

Answer: False! Sure, Valentine’s Day is a very nice time to show you care about someone; however, do not let that day be the only day you actually show you care about your partner! Simple tasks like cleaning up without being asked, cooking your partner’s favorite food to surprise her, ordering flowers for no reason, writing a poem for her, putting gas in her car, paying for dinner at a restaurant, picking up her favorite candy bar from the store, and more, are all examples of what you can do as a partner to ensure that your partner feels appreciated and loved.

Key Areas to Focus on in a Relationship

So how did you do? Did you answer “True” to all (or some) of those questions? Ouch. It’s okay, just listen up. Here are some key areas partners should focus on when in relationships:

  • Acceptance – Accept your partner for who he/she is. Do not try to make major changes in his/her personality. You can, however, make a few minor adjustments where necessary. For example, if Joe won’t take out the trash ever, Mary should let him know how she feels when he doesn’t help out. If Mary won’t ever keep track of how much money she spends, Joe should let her know how that makes him feel and what they can do to improve the situation.
  • Trust – Are you doing something you shouldn’t be doing? Well don’t! Being faithful to your partner is a 100% necessity. Without trust, there is no love. Therefore, without trust, your relationship is doomed.
  • Openness – As mentioned above, always be open with your partner. If something is bothering you – let him know. If you want to tell him he did something amazing – let him know. Talk, talk, talk. Do not keep secrets and do not just “assume” your partner knows what you’re thinking.
  • Listen – This may seem like a simple task; however, it is often times the most frustrating task in relationships. If Joe had a long day at work and wants to vent to Mary, Mary should look at him while he is talking, respond, and offer suggestions. Mary should not be working on the computer, reading, or talking with her mother on the cell phone. If Mary didn’t get that promotion she was hoping for, Joe should be attentive, helpful, and empathetic. Joe should not be mowing the lawn, watching TV or fixing the sink while she is talking.
  • Assertiveness – This is not to be confused with “being bossy.” When I say “assertiveness,” I mean do not allow your partner to walk all over you. It is important to take into consideration his or her feelings and desires with regard to a certain situation or idea. However, do not let your own desires, wishes, and ideas fall by the wayside. Be assertive and direct with your wishes, but do so in a way which allows for open communication and a healthy outcome. For example, if Mary is allergic to seafood but Joe automatically assumes they are going there because Mary didn’t speak up about it, Mary should not sit back and eat there just because she doesn’t want to hurt Joe’s feelings. Also, if Joe wants to go to the baseball game with his friends but Mary doesn’t want him to, Joe should speak up and let her know how he feels in a calm, collected manner. Maybe Mary didn’t want him to go because it was their anniversary. If Joe knew that he may change his mind and stay home. However, if Mary doesn’t communicate that and just shuts down, then Joe may just think Mary is being unfair.

Who doesn’t want to be good at being in a relationship? Being in love is a very rewarding and heart-warming experience. If you adhere to the guidelines and relationship advice in this article, your time together will likely be full of bliss and harmony.