Foundation: “An underlying basis or principle for something”. As many of us know, the foundation for any relationship is essential to its success. When you are experiencing difficulties maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends or significant others, the first question to ask yourself should be…
“What is the foundation?”
Although this message can be applied to any relationship you may have, we are here to shed light on the romantic side of things. With that said, it is vital to establish a healthy foundation with your partner from the very beginning. What this will provide is an underlying basis or principle (like what we did there) for the relationship moving forward. In efforts to building a solid foundation in your relationship, here are 5 tangible steps (no specific order) to use as a guideline!
1. Be yourself, never losing that sight of that person.
Sounds cliché, right? It is, yet one of the most important aspects to building a strong, lasting foundation. It is imperative to always be yourself, and never lose sight of your core. Often, we start dating a person and we are so eager to impress them, that we never truly show them who we are. We never express our goals and aspirations. We leave out what pisses us off and what we will not tolerate. We forget to discuss our pet-peeves. In addition, sometimes we are so committed to this person, that we tend to neglect our own passions. We let our hobbies and interests fall to the wayside without even noticing. When building your foundation of love, it’s crucial to never lose sight of who you are. Your partner will appreciate your self-commitment in the long run, and so will you.
2. Don’t forget “me time”
“Me time” is one of the most important pieces in building a successful foundation. What is “me time”? We like to refer to it as a “mental health day”. It’s the time that you are unbothered & uninterrupted. A mental and physical space where you can enjoy your own company, without care or concern for the rest of the world. An opportunity to turn your iPhone on “Do Not Disturb” and miss every notification for the entire day. When building an effective foundation, you should always carve out “me time” throughout the process. For ladies, this could mean a spa day or finding a coffee shop to finish that book you started. For the men, this could be that garage project you’ve neglected for 8 months or putting that gym membership to use. Whatever it is, it is paramount to spend the day alone. If you read our first blog post, we lightly touched on the insane amount of time we spent together at the beginning of our relationship. It took some soul-searching from both of us to realize we needed to get some alone time away from each other. We know, it’s difficult. You want to give every ounce of free time to this person, We get it. Just remember that space makes the heart grow fonder; and creating a healthy source of “me time” will only help your significant other appreciate the time you do share together.
3. Friends First
If you don’t take anything away from this article, please remember this one! Easily the most important piece to creating a lasting foundation with your soulmate. Always, I repeat, ALWAYS put your friendship first. Establishing a profound friendship will always give you two a comfort zone to resort to. Remember our six-month FriendZone story? Although it felt unnecessary in the beginning, that timeframe was actually the engine to our success. We had picnics in our living room. We went midnight bowling. Every new movie that hit the theaters, we were each other’s dates. We actually Netflixed & Chilled! And I mean… literally chilled watching every episode of “The First 48”. We did any and everything you can imagine two bestfriends doing, before we even started dating. Now, in the decisions that we make, good news we receive or the hardships that face; we know we will always have a friendship to fall back on. Ultimately, this is the phase to develop that unbreakable bond the world talks about. The time to laugh and share secrets. The phase to tell embarrassing stories that only a few people know. Appreciate this chapter, as it will forever be embedded into your lasting foundation.
4. Keep your relationship private, but not a secret
This can be extremely difficult and many people think private and secret have the same meaning… they don’t. In the early stages of building a foundation with someone, the absolute LAST thing you need is for outside opinions to influence your judgement. Hold back on the Snapchat filters and the “that’s bae” Instagram boomerang videos, at least for a while. Opening the door to the public too soon can easily diminish the value of your early relationship. In addition to nonstop questions, you’re going to get those who have negative opinions or take this opportunity to tell you a random “watch out for them” story about your significant other from something that happened 5 years ago. It’s not worth the headache. Also, what happens if you expose this new, growing relationship to the public and it doesn’t work out as planned? Now you’re stuck answering personal questions from people who just want gossip information. Play it safe and keep a low profile until you know where the relationship is headed. Now, that’s how you keep this connection private, but the last thing you want is for this person to feel as if they are a huge secret. How do you balance the two? Easily. You will always want the opinion of your close friends or even some family members; you know, those few people you can trust to keep this under wraps while you figure it out. The key is to introduce your partner to these people, slowly. Invite your friends to lunch to meet this person or attend a small gathering together. Host a dinner party with other couples you are close with and seek feedback afterwards. As time goes forward, you will steadily find a way to announce your relationship at a pace that works for you. Be sure to run your own race, and don’t reveal anything you aren’t comfortable with early on.
5. Communicate your expectations
There is nothing more frustrating than wasted time! The last thing you need is to get close to someone, open up to this person and they have no intentions of taking the relationship to the next level. Communicating your expectations can save this frustration. Inform this person of the pace you want to move, your end goal for the relationship and what you evision the partnership will be. Being upfront will eliminate any confusion or gray area’s in the future. You know, the “I thought we were just having fun” speeches. Also, establishing healthy communication early on will only provide communicational stability moving forward. You’ll start to develop patterns for your significant other regarding how they communicate. Would they prefer to talk in person vs. via phone or text message, can they articulate their issues, or do they need some time to cool down before they discuss a disagreement. All things that are valuable to a healthy relationship and ultimately a successful marriage.
All in all, the foundation to your “happily ever after” story is the most important piece to the puzzle. Additionally, always remember that these 5 touchpoints need to be revisited over time. Just like all cars or real estate property, the foundation to your relationship requires maintenance. As you grow together and life changes, it is essential to frequently service your foundation and adjust based on your needs.