More EFFORT, Less EFF-it.

by Chanell Classen

This is not a PG-13-rated post. Don’t worry…

What is the secret to long, lasting, loving relationships??

One night, I was in bed and these words came to me: More EFFORT and less Eff-it. Like my sister, I love puns and this was one of those “Ahaa!” moments. I was so proud of myself and thought I had to share it with you all!

Our outlook on romance is probably very much determined by our parents; and our past successes or failures. Personally, having divorced parents obviously influenced my ideas on love and marriage.

Bye Felicia

In the 21st century, perseverance and “vas-byt” have become something of the past. This used to be a norm for our grandparents who married their childhood sweetheart and pushed through all of the struggles life threw at them. But today, we have been accustomed to fast-living, WiFi, Smartphones, blue-ticks, voice notes, fast food, online shopping, even online dating.. all which make our lives so convenient and then when the WiFi is slow or anything frustrates us, we say, “eff it” or “damn it” or “I’m done!” or “Bye Felicia”…. and we walk away.

According to Stats SA, divorce rates in South Africa have increased by 5% in 2015. Is this because we are saying “eff-it” too easily? We need to go back to that “deur dik en dun” mentality – regarding our relationships especially.

Today, I can write about this because in my relationship with Chad (The boyfriend), we’ve tried the “more effort” route and even the “eff-it” route. We would therefore like to share our thoughts on what we’ve learned over the past 5 years (with some broken service in between lol). We are definitely not love experts but by trial-and-error, we have learned these few things during our journey.

To make this a bit interesting, I asked Chad to write down only 6 things that he has learned about relationships. He wrote them in my journal and I promised him that I won’t look until I have written down mine. (Ask my sister, when “I promise”, I really mean promise, so I didn’t look until now). I wanted to see how many we have in common.

Chad:

  1. Be content with being alone.
  2. Keep open communication. Problem? Solve it. Question? Ask it. Thought? Share it. Observation? Note it.
  3. Accept differences. Know that every day is a new challenge.
  4. Realise that you are working toward marriage. I.e. Set up things that will forward your marriage.
  5. God at the center – individually. Talk about God. Pray for each other. Die to yourself.
  6. Spend Quality Time. Not sex. Speak.

Chanell:

  1. God first.
  2. Love yourself and embrace everything about yourself. This will help you accept yourself and your partner will fall in love with who YOU are and not who you’re trying to be.
  3. Don’t give up on love. Love always wins.
  4. Respect yourself, your partner and your relationship. Only the two of you know what really happens in the relationship.
  5. Be willing to compromise but never lower your standards! I think of relationships as a relay-shin-ship. A Relay race involves a team of athletes passing a baton and winning the race!
  6. Be teachable. If your partner loves you, they will want the best for you so be open to their guidance, as long as they do it in love and not to break you down.
  7. Because I am posting this, I get to add another one 😛 … Respond. Don’t react. Listen and think about your response – this way you’ll deal with issues more constructively. I had a hard time with this one and I am proud to say that it is getting better. 🙂

As you can see, some of them overlap… which is good! We’re on the same page. But don’t be fooled! It hasn’t always been like this though. Four years ago, we both had different ideas of relationships.

Take home message:

  • No recipe for love. Love like Jesus would. That love will always win and will conquer all!
  • Don’t compare your relationship to others’. Do you, boo!
  • We all have flaws. Accept your partner’s. Embrace your own. And live happily ever after 🙂

 

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