A few weeks ago I was visiting with a friend who brought up something called “relationship commandments.”
“Relationship Commandments?” I was perplexed but utterly fascinated by what came next.
My friend explained that she considers relationship commandments to be agreed-upon rules that you and your partner follow for the betterment of your quality of life together. I realized that my partner and I do have certain “rules” that we have agreed on.
Curious, I began asking some other friends what they adhered to within the confines of their relationship.
Here are the top commandments that I heard from friends that also align with the “commandments” my partner and I try to follow
#1. No work device is allowed in the bedroom
Since the pandemic started my partner and I have been working fully remotely and it is most likely going to be indefinitely based on feedback from our companies.
That being said, it is difficult at times when you wake up and have to transition to work. It feels like there is no separation between work and home because now our house serves as both.
Because of this lack of separation we have a rule that there is no work allowed in our master bedroom. No laptop is making its way into our only sanctuary and even working from the phone or checking emails is forbidden.
#2. Show interest and ask questions about your partner’s passions
Recently a close friend of mine was explaining how difficult it has been for her to feign interest in her partner’s love of cars.
There are times when he will become more and more enthused as he tells her details about what he has done that day (he builds and repairs vehicles), expecting her to match his excitement. On the other end, my friend is having to constantly remind herself to pay attention and tries to ask questions about what she doesn’t understand to show that because he cares, she cares.
It is so easy for us to expect our partners to care about our passions when we don’t give the same time of care and attention to them.
#3. You cannot assume that either person in the relationship is a mind-reader
This is the commandment that I struggle with the most. I always fall into the trap of expecting my partner to read my thoughts.
This belief has gotten me in trouble many times throughout my relationship. On a Friday night, I may assume that my partner should know whether or not I want to go out or stay in. If I’m grumpy because the dishes haven’t been done I choose to wait and hope he will notice instead of simply asking if he minds helping.
The other night my partner gently reminded me, “I can’t read your mind and you can’t just keep assuming that I know what you’re thinking… because I don’t know.”
Instead of getting frustrated… tell your partner exactly what you are thinking and take the guessing out of your communication completely.
#4. You cannot expect your partner to spend every moment with you
At the beginning of a relationship, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from your partner because things are new, exciting, and at times intoxicating.
When things settle down and you find yourself in the stage after the honeymoon period, it can be easy to fall into the habit of expecting your partner to be constantly available.
Time apart is so important and something that can actually enhance your relationship. Although it’s easy for me to just spend a ton of time with my partner, especially because we live together, I absolutely love when we are given the chance to miss each other.
#5. Remember that no relationship is going to be perfectly equal at all times
The other night I was talking to a friend who works part-time and also is taking care of her five-year-old who has been doing school at home due to the pandemic.
Although her husband is constantly trying to help, there are times when more of the responsibility falls on my friend falls when it comes to their son.
As my friend put it, “It’s not something that I bring up, because it’s simply the reality of the situation… there are times when I feel like I am doing more but that's okay. We both work hard and some mornings when I just want to sleep in a bit longer, he’ll get up early and help… I’m sure that it’s not perfectly equal but nothing is ever going to be… and that’s okay.”
Every couple is going to have various degrees of what is most important to them
Now, not all relationship commandments are going to be one size fits all. Explore what is most important to you and your partner. Perhaps in your relationship, quality time is the most important and that means spending every other weekend disconnected from technology. Perhaps you need to make communication a priority, and ensure that you and your partner both feel heard.
The point of this story is that every couple is different, but one thing remains the same. Relationships take time, energy, and effort from both people involved, and ensuring that you have some agreed-upon “commandments” will only enhance your time together.