Have you ever been in a relationship that has failed? I’m sure most of us have at some point. Whether it be a relationship with a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, husband, or wife, unfortunately, we have all either experienced them failing personally or witnessed it in the lives of the ones we love. So how can we avoid that? I’ll get to that in just a moment.
As some of you may or may not know, I was engaged last year. That relationship didn’t last and I believe I know the reasons why. It was a very difficult time in my life, but I want to share my experiences so that others don’t have to learn the hard way. Here are three lessons I learned from being in a failed engagement.
1. Love Is A Verb
“Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.” – Stephen R. Covey
Often times we associate the word love with just a simple feeling. Love exists as so much more than that. Love requires action…daily action – on both sides. Both people in the relationship must work daily to affirm each other, appreciate each other, sacrifice for each other, empathize with each other, and most importantly – respect each other.
2. Passive-Aggressiveness Never Wins
I’m hurt, so I’m not going to talk to you. I’m upset, so I won’t show you my love. I’m angry, so I’m going to shut you out. These behaviors and ways of thinking will most assuredly destroy a relationship.
“Kindergarten and preschool teachers often tell students who are struggling with self-control: “Use your words.” The first reaction of a child is to lash out and hit or to withdraw from the source of pain or hurt. As an adult, or maturing person, we have been given the gift of words, the gift of adult communication.” – Dale Partridge
For any relationship to remain healthy, both parties must actively partake in healthy communication. If you are upset, angry, hurt, or frustrated, you must communicate those feelings with your significant other. Men can’t read minds… or let’s be honest, can hardly even take hints. Women can’t read minds either.
So what does this mean? It means share your feelings, use your words, and face the inevitable.
3. Take Your Time
My dad once told me, “Son, you should spend at least four seasons with someone before you make a commitment for life.” Boy, was he right. Am I allowed to admit that – that my parents were right about something? No. Just kidding, I can. He was. I was wrong.
I think the biggest mistake I made, personally, was rushing into the engagement. We had only been dating 3 months before I popped the question.
“Love is patient…”
There are some couples that get engaged quickly, get married, and have a fulfilling life. But for the most part, I would urge you to take your time. Get to know each other very well – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and decide from there if you can live with those things for the rest of your life.
Attend premarital counseling classes. Seek counsel from a married couple who have spent many years together. Investing in your relationship before marriage and actually taking the time to do that will be the greatest thing you can do for your future marriage.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
What are some lessons you’ve learned from being in a relationship that didn’t last? Tell me about them in the comments below.