Let’s admit it: we’ve all fantasized about that one spontaneous moment. Even those of us who are most averse to surprises and change have wondered, at least once, what it could be like if someone showed up right out of nowhere and took us on the most amazing, adventurous night of our life. Think about it: The rush of excitement of going into unexplored territory, of meeting new people and trying new things, of experiencing an aspect of life that you’ve never seen before. It all sounds perfect; it all sounds exhilarating.
At the same time, we think of consistency in relationships like we think of routine in our daily lives. It’s boring, it’s repetitive, it’s draining.. You get the idea. Being called predictable is considered an insult, so instead, we put a lot of pressure on trying to plan the perfect surprise. We spend hours and hours worrying about how to do something ‘out of the box’ and how to ‘switch things up.’ Our search for the ultimate adventure prevents us from seeing that the parameters for happiness in a relationship are rooted not in our ability to be spontaneous and creative, but rather in our ability to be consistent.
‘It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.’ – Anthony Robbins, author and life coach.
So how can you maintain consistency?
People change, it’s inevitable, it’s necessary. That being said, it is important to hold on to your honesty as you’re changing. If you feel a change coming on in your life, or if you desire one, you need to make it a habit to discuss this openly with your partner. Establishing a policy of transparent and open communication will help you navigate all types of sticky situations that could arise in your lives, which is what makes the next point so important.
There are thousands of articles and studies out there on the importance of communication in a relationship. They all come down to two things: just talk about it and do it in person. You might feel that the problem is quite obvious, but your partner is a different person – no matter how alike you are – and might not feel the same way. Speak your mind and do it in person, because texting and phone calls have a way of taking our words out of context and creating misunderstanding. A video call can be an acceptable substitute if a face-to-face conversation is absolutely impossible, but it is always best to try to meet up and talk it out.
- Quality time
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of consistent quality time. Given the fast-paced lifestyle of our time and the never-ending responsibilities of adulthood, it’s not always easy to spend time with those we care about most. Nonetheless, we need to make the time, even if it means putting in that little extra effort to work around schedules and coordinate mutual free time. Your quality time should not be considered luxury or leisure, instead, it should be a high priority item on your to-do list. It doesn’t need to be frequent, but it needs to be consistent. So, set aside one day every week or a weekend every month for quality time with your partner.
- Be there
Just be there. It’s as simple as that. Send that good morning text. Check in on them on your lunch break. Ask how their day went. Ask them if they’re okay. Talk to them about your day. Vent to them. Listen to them when they vent. There’s no greater feeling in a relationship than knowing you can count on your partner, and that your partner can count on you. That type of consistency builds a strong foundation of trust that breeds comfort and loyalty and alleviates stress and uncertainty.
Healthy love isn’t a feeling that can come and go whenever it pleases, healthy love is a choice; one that is made deliberately and consistently.
Your relationship needs the comfort of knowing that you can rely on each other’s presence. It needs the comfort of knowing that there won’t be sudden, overnight changes with no explanations. It needs the comfort of the familiar, the predictable, and, well, the boring. This is what will make it thrive. Once that’s established, you can add on all the spice and excitement you need. What matters is that at the end of the day, when all the adventuring is done, there is a base to return to and build upon.
While it’s natural to crave a break from the expected every once in a while, we need it to be able to grow anything of real value. Regardless of the nature of the relationship, whether it is with your significant other, your best friend, your family, or even with your job, your hobby, your sport or your education: Consistency is the key to achieving your goals.