As a relatively newly inducted kid into the divorced parent club, I learned what not to do in a relationship, but more importantly, I realized what was lacking. With that said, when most people hear the word intention, they usually think of the beginning of a relationship. Setting up the foundation of what that relationship will be. “I intend on dating you because I see a possible future with you.” But being intentional doesn’t end there. It continues throughout your whole relationship. But what does it mean to be intentional, and how do you go about it?
Steps to Being Intentional in Your Relationship
The Small Moments and Love Languages
What I mean is the small everyday things that let your partner know you care. It leans into the different types of love languages and learning your partner’s preferred language. Of course, the obvious things include a card on your anniversary or flowers for valentine’s day. But I’m talking about the everyday things, making them coffee every morning because they need it to wake up or buying their favorite candy bar every once in a while because you saw it and thought of them. As a relationship progresses, the easiest thing to do is to take your partner for granted, forgetting to enjoy the small moments with them. However cheesy it may sound, it is always nice to know how loved and appreciated you are.
Be intentional about your relationship and not passive. Make sure to have fun together. Do relationships take work? Absolutely, but they can also be enjoyable. But to do this, you need to leave energy for your partner. It’s so easy to come home from work drained from the on-goings of work and life, but you need to make sure that you leave some time and energy to have fun. On top of having fun, another big thing to keep in mind is responsible for your happiness. Your significant other should not be the only source of your joy. Simply put, being intentional in your relationship is making your partner a priority.
Make Your Partner a Priority
If you don’t get into the habit of prioritizing your partner, what do you think will happen after you have kids? What happens when you have never made sure to be supportive? If you never took the time to talk about your day with them or vice versa, then all will happen is that other distractions and obstacles will get in the way of one-on-one time with your significant other. And soon, your partner is no longer a partner, but more of someone on the sidelines that is just there taking up space. Now, this doesn’t mean going to the other extreme and only spending time with your partner. As my tia would say, “Everything in moderation.” You are an individual in a relationship, so don’t forget who you are to make your partner happy. If you aren’t happy by yourself, how can you expect to be happy with someone else?
One of the most natural things to do is to fall into a lazy routine. I was talking to a coworker who said that she just wanted to stay inside her house and watch some tv, but that her husband said no and dragged her out to dinner. It’s so easy to want to stay inside and do nothing that we forget to go out on dates and have fun with our significant other. Trust me, if I don’t have to leave my house, then I won’t, but making time for the small intimate moments will go a long way in the health and happiness of your relationship. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to spend time with your partner? Did you choose to be with them, right?
In the End
My biggest fear is to end up in a loveless relationship. I watched it with my parents. Between my mom working, us kids, and my dad’s unwillingness to engage, they just drifted apart. (It was a little more than that, but let me not completely air out my parent’s dirty laundry.) But that’s what I grew up watching, two people who were married for 27 years but never really spent any time together alone. Towards the end, it felt more like a business arrangement than a marriage, and in a way, it skewed my view of love and marriage. I learned what not to do and yet still had my perspective skewed. How’s that for a contradiction? I guess having knowledge and practicing it are two different things. So make sure to put in the extra effort and be intentional with your partner. Love is more than a feeling, so it’s not always easy; then again, nothing in life worth having is easy.