There are a number of things to consider before entering into a relationship. The first and most important thing to get right is to know ourself.
Not everyone fits into your life plan, and every relationship you walk into will have implications according to the kind of person you walk into a relationship with. So you must know yourself so you can figure out who your life can accommodate and who can accommodate you.
• You must never see being single as a disadvantage.: You must appreciate and enjoy being alone. A lot of people do not appreciate being alone and so do not enjoy it.
You must value being single because it is at this point that you value yourself as a person, and learn to negotiate your worth in every conversation and negotiation.
When you appreciate and enjoy being single, you don’t make decisions hastily, you make sure you walk into properly defined relationships.
• Responsibilities that come with being in a relationship: You must be prepared for what you are walking into and you must anticipate certain challenges out of your understanding of the kind of relationship you are in.
You must be ready for the responsibilities that come with being in a relationship.
Thus you must be prepared for this reality. You must count the cost and know that your life is no longer your own and that the choices you make affect other people.
• You must be prepared to find a common ground through differences: Most times in relationships, we look for common grounds: Areas where we think alike, things we enjoy together. Similar lifestyles, same football team, same church, same ethnic group, same city, same profession, et al.
But for me, what makes us stronger in relationships is our differences. The fact that we are able to build a common ground through respect for our differences, by empathising with and supporting each other, and being part of each other’s lives in spite of differences is one of the secrets of all thriving relationships.
There will be times of clashes, rhythm off beats and other issues that look like offences or crisis – but the fact that you are able to make adjustments and see the relationship as the focus and not just the need will keep you going.
This is not to say that it’s not important to count the cost of being in a particular relationship before deciding to go into it. We must all work hard to understand the implications of being in a relationship with a particular person, then consider whether or not the sacrifice we need to make in order to sustain it is worth it.
• Loving yourself: Finally, you must learn to, and actually, love yourself. You cannot love another if you do not love yourself. You cannot say you love yourself and not be interested in taking good care of yourself, by staying healthy and living a purposeful life.
If you eat poison in the name of food, you will feed the person you claim you love poison as well. If you misplace priorities in the name of having fun, you will frustrate the person you love with issues like that, especially when you complain about being with them.