We grow in relationships.
We grow, and mature, and learn new things about ourselves and our partner.
I remember getting together with my fiancé when I had just turned 23 years old. I had already gone through enough experiences to tell whether he would be a good match (let alone the fact that we became best friends before we even got together).
But even as we admitted our love for each other, we started growing in the relationship, learning more things about one another, and even changing the way we think about certain things (only because we matured, not because we forced each other to change).
I was a terribly jealous person at the beginning of the relationship. The jealousy didn’t translate into obsessive thoughts and irrational demands to isolate him from his surroundings. I kept most of it to myself, but it ate me up inside. I wasn’t afraid he’d have a wandering eye. No, it wasn’t him. It was always the girls looking at him who annoyed me.
But as we progressed and grew up, I started to feel more at ease and realized that I trusted my man with my life. What did it matter if a girl was looking at him and totally disrespecting my presence? What did it matter if he didn’t care about anyone else but me?
I learned how not to be insecure in my relationship with him. I learned how not to care about the traditional inconveniences in relationships if we are alright and on the same wavelength.
This brings me to what prompted me to write this article.
Even as I learned several things in my relationship, there already were green flags that helped me be certain he was the right partner for me before we even got together:
1. Keeping one’s word.
Making a promise and keeping it is important in the relationship, starting from the small things like talking every day and checking up on each other, to the bigger things, like being loyal.
For a partner to keep their word means they have a huge respect for us and for themselves.
2. Showing respect.
We’ve probably heard that several times before, and some might say this isn’t new information. But showing respect should be reflected in more than just not cursing us in public or abusing us.
Respect encompasses respecting our boundaries, our dreams, our plans, our beliefs, our past, our traumas, our bodies, our minds, our decisions, and so on.
3. Accepting our past.
We all have baggage, some heavy, some light, some overwhelming, and some almost nonexistent. And we all deal with our baggage differently. If our partner doesn’t accept that we have a past (that’s sometimes heavier than theirs), then they do not accept our authentic selves. They do not accept who we really are.
4. Being truthful.
Before we got together, my fiancé and I talked about our past, our hopes for the future, our families, if faith plays a role in our lives, and what we truly think a successful relationship is like. This helped me see how his mind operates and how many shared values we possess.
Being truthful about who we are is pretty damn important before getting in a relationship. And if the one we are falling for was not afraid to talk about themselves, the ugly and the beautiful, before getting anything out of us (basically, our hearts), then they wouldn’t be afraid to be truthful in the relationship.
5. Being open to compromise.
I have met many single people who got accustomed to their unhindered independence. And when it came to being in a relationship, they found it really hard, or rather stifling, to change anything in their lives or routines or decisions.
There is nothing wrong with that. Some people function way better on their own. But when we want to be in a relationship, it is nearly impossible for two people to keep acting 100 percent as if they were single. There’s bound to be a compromise somewhere, whether it’s making time during our day for our partner, choosing to live in a house that pleases both of us rather than just one of us, choosing to work somewhere close to our partner rather than endless miles away.
What’s mostly important to remember is that compromise is the right thing to do in the relationship, not begrudgingly sacrifice. Why? Because compromise is something we are happy to do rather than something we disdainfully do just to please our partner (which eventually grows into resentment).
Most importantly, love is the greatest component. It is the foundation of every relationship.
So it’s time to start looking at the green flags instead of just focusing on the red flags.