LOVE SERIES: Relationships

The excitement that came with writing this piece is beyond explanation. In addition to this, I’ll be taking you on this journey with a special friend, Ekwugha Clinton Chisomaga, popularly known as CREATEEN. Sit back and enjoy this beautiful piece.

CREATEEN: Hi, if you don’t mind, I’d love it if we took a stroll through the words that make up a relationship. Relation: how two or more people or things are connected. Ship: a large boat for transporting people or goods by sea. Putting them together, we can say that relationship is the journey of two or more connected people. According to other definitions, the relationship is the state of being connected, either by blood, marriage, adoption, etc.

PRAIZEY: Now that we’ve been able to effectively define a relationship, I’d love to explain the types of relationships there are.

  • Family relationships; every individual belongs to a family. The family includes siblings and parents, and other relatives (which are usually distant). This kind of relationship exists with people you are connected to by blood, adoption, and Marriage.
  • Friends; people who you are not related to but choose to interact with based on trust, respect, care, and confidence are your friends. This kind of relationship is reciprocal; both people must see each other as a friend. Sometimes, you get extremely comfortable with people based on the closeness built over time, these friends are sometimes referred to as “best friends”.
  • Acquaintances; they are people around you; your neighbors, your colleagues, college mate, etc. Those you say “hello” to when you see them. The closeness in this type of relationship is usually minimal; there is unlikely any physical contact just smiling and exchanging pleasantries.
  • Romantic Relationships; This is the closest form of relationship and the two individuals involved will often describe themselves as being attracted to each other and “in love”. This is usually because of a feeling of strong connection and bond to each other that they do not feel with anyone else. The connection is monogamous.

Building A Healthy Relationship

CREATEEN: The type of relationship individuals focus on is the romantic relationship which is characterized by deep intimacy either between the opposite-sex or same-sex. But how is this relationship built? Based on vibes or feelings? The present generation wants what they can’t give. I’ve asked a couple of people what their yardstick for love is, and most of them say only obvious visible things like looks, money, and vibes. No one looks at character and attitude; and amazingly, they never look for these attributes in themselves. Remember, you can’t give what you don’t have. Relationships have lost their value because people indulge in it for sex and reasons that don’t promote the real essence of emotions. But what made it like that? I can’t answer that but I do assure you that you’ll find the answers as Praizey carefully explains how to effectively build a relationship in the subsequent paragraphs.

PRAIZEY: I’ll be explaining just 5 points and I trust that they’ll help greatly.

1. KNOW YOURSELF; Oftentimes, people get into a relationship before taking out time to figure out who they are and what they need. This first step is about self-discovery. Ask yourself “why do I want to be in a relationship? Am I running away from something or myself? Am I running towards my desire to have someone to share a life with; to start a family and grow old reminiscing over our lives together?” Once you’ve discovered your reasons for being in a relationship, explore your goals, and make sure your partner has a similar vision. Your values, expectations, and beliefs about relationships matter too, you cannot expect your partner to be what you are not.

2. IDENTIFY A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP; The clue is this; a healthy relationship is considered interdependent, while an unhealthy relationship is considered codependent. An interdependent relationship consists of two whole and complete individuals; people with a developed independent lifestyle. Now, they will come together and are ready to share their lives. Interdependency means each individual maintains their identity while at the same time creating a shared life together. A codependent relationship on the other hand involves individuals who depend on each other for their identity and the fulfillment of their emotional needs. The boundaries in this relationship become blurred and their identities become lost. It is sometimes characterized by substance abuse and domestic violence.

3. UNDERSTANDING GENDER DIFFERENCE; It is important to understand the inherent gender differences even after finding a healthy partner. I’ll briefly cover three major differences which include physiological, verbal, and social, all of which can have an impact on the communication system.

  • Physiological: when women are stressed, they tend to become more protective and nurturing as they derive their self-worth from the adequacy of relationships. Men, on the other hand, tend to experience the “fight or flight” response when stressed as their self-worth is built around the adequacy of performance. This means that when a woman, in her best intention questions a man’s decision or action, he might yell or withdraw. Now, yelling triggers continuous action of offense(by the woman), which reinforces a man’s feeling of incompetence, which eventually leads to conflicts. Mutual understanding prevents conflict.
  • Verbal: When communicating, men tend to focus on the main points while women focus on the details. Also during communication, men are action-oriented and focus on solutions while women are discussion-oriented and focus on verbal processing. To overcome this difference, it is helpful for the man to be a good listener before moving to problem-solving. Amazingly, she might just want to talk about it.
  • Social: Childhood has a huge role to play in this. Boys play in groups or teams while girls typically play dyads. Therefore, if conflict ensues and a boy leaves the group there are others to play with. However, if a girl leaves the group the other girl may become lonely. This behavior over time indicates a tendency for men to feel more comfortable in parallel play while women are more comfortable with interactive play (communication). This means that when the opposite sex is seeing a movie, the male may feel more connected based on just the presence of the female. However, the female may feel ignored because she needs interaction to feel connected.

4. LEARN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS; Communication is one of the ingredients for building a strong foundation in any kind of relationship. Truth is that the weakest skill in communication is listening, especially when the other party isn’t ready to have that conversation. It is important to ensure your partner’s undivided attention by asking. When you finally have attention, it is your responsibility to communicate your feelings using I-messages which are blameless when you own the problem. Following the I-message, your partner needs to clarify your statement to ensure you are both on the same page. It is extremely important to remember that communication is a skill, so be patient with your partner while you both learn effective communication.

5. BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH CONFLICT; Conflict is a disagreement in perspectives, beliefs, values, and ideas that generally occurs when one needs are being infringed upon or not met. Many couples/partners struggle with conflict due to their misunderstanding of it; they either fear it or avoid it. Now, the beauty of conflict is that it helps one party see the blind spot of the other. In simple terms, when there’s a misunderstanding, a partner is seeing what the other isn’t. To solve this, effective communication is a tool.

CREATEEN; I’d conclude with this. Love is encompassed in; mutual respect, trust, honesty, compromise, individuality, effective communication, understanding, fighting fair, anger control, self-confidence, interdependency, being a role-model, and so many others. Instead of looking towards sex, look forward to love and light, hangouts and dates, and most importantly SACRIFICE.

I’m Ekwugha Clinton Chisomaga, CREATEEN!

Let us know your thoughts on this piece, gracias!

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