One Year Later
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One Year Later

Lessons from a year of trial and error in a long-term relationship

One Year Later
Five Stone Church

As much as I need a routine to function properly, I'd be much happier if that weren't the case. I like to change the pattern of my schedule from time to time so I won't get bored with it, and I enjoy taking long and unexpected detours that lead me down exciting paths I either never knew existed or simply forgot about. As things stand, I'm not very good at staying in one place or making long-term commitments.

It's a good thing that people change, right?

The past year has been an extended sequence of educational moments and opportunities to grow into a better person, and most of those have come from a specific set of trials and errors commonly known as a "committed relationship." Some of the core lessons I've taken away from this year are fairly simple, but I believe they add up to make a very important whole.

1. It's about being the right person.

While a significant part of any relationship is to look for someone who complements your strengths and shores up your weaknesses, I would argue that it is more important to make sure that you're being your best self. You need to be genuine, or else you'll attract the wrong kinds of people and potentially jeopardize your relationship before it even begins. Once you're actually in that relationship, you have to continue to better yourself and learn from your mistakes - that way, you set the example and allow your partner to show you their best self as well.

2. Your choices always matter.

Every time you get up in the morning, the simple choice of staying with your partner is neither complicated nor unimportant. You make the choice to make the coffee, get breakfast ready, wash their work clothes, and offer service rather than demands. You can choose to compromise, respect the boundaries you've set in place, and focus on the positives rather than the negatives. All of these are yours to decide, so remember to take the initiative and avoid letting your indecision paralyze you while your relationship leaves you behind.

3. Forgiveness works both ways.

In the event that you fail or make a mistake - don't worry; it'll happen at some point - don't just seek out your partner's forgiveness. As with all personal shortcomings, learn to forgive yourself for the mistake. Of course, there's a fine line between self-forgiveness and letting yourself off the hook, but holding onto mistakes is not only going to inflict more mental and emotional damage to yourself - making it a frequent practice is also a twisted form of pride that will infect your relationship for the worse. Accept responsibility for your faults, ask your partner's forgiveness, and forgive yourself so you can keep moving forward.

These basic lessons each carry a good deal of weight on their own, but when used together, they become part of an invaluable foundation for healthy relationships. Don't give up, and keep looking for ways to learn and improve for the future.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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