Romance is easy, relationships are hard

Carl Robinette

Thu February 6, 2014 12:36pm

s if it was not already hard enough to maintain a healthy, loving relationship, the stress and pressure of the most romantic month of the year might be more than some already shaky relationships can survive. 
Many attorney’s will likely see an increase in business in February if they happen to be divorce lawyers, as divorce filings typically increase as much as 18 percent compared to the average month, according to attourneyfee.com.
Much of that Valentine’s stress and pressure comes from unrealistic or unvoiced expectations, said Kara Dumlao, a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Grow Through Life Counseling in East Lake.
“Women often carry expectations into Valentine’s Day that they never communicate,” Dumlao said.  “Then these silent expectations don’t get met when the partner doesn’t get the roses and the jewelry and the night out.”
It seems to get harder and harder to keep relationships strong as the pace of life increases around us with smart phones, the constant media overload and a higher and higher cost of living.  So to help you and your partner maintain the love and romance, here are Dumlao’s five all-important tips to keep a relationship healthy.
Communication: That means speaking up when something is bothering you by using a tactful approach.  Communicate your feelings rather than criticizing the actions of your partner.  Dumlao says writing letters can be a great way to say the things that are hard to voice.
Mutual Respect: You have to value your partner’s wishes and ideas.  Mutual respect is about always keeping their wishes and ideas in mind even when you don’t necessarily agree with them.
Compromise: This is a big one.  The ability to resolve conflict in a way that both people walk away feeling good, or at least ok, is critical.  If you are both power-tripping going into a conversation, then you both lose before you ever get started. 
Privacy: Just because two people are together romantically or live together doesn’t mean they have to do everything together.  A healthy relationship requires space from one another. 
Romance: A combination of all of the above will go a long way toward keeping a solid foundation on which to build romance.  “Romance has a lot to do with staying in tune with your partner, and supporting them even if it’s something you might not want to do,” Dumlao said.  “If support can be maintained over time, even as each partner changes, that’s very important.  It’s sort of about putting your feelings aside to support your partner.”