When you first fall in love with someone, it’s probably not based on any practical reasons. It’s a pure and unconditional feeling that makes your life beautiful and ecstatic. But true love isn’t just a feeling. Feelings are short-lived, and change from moment to moment. True love means making the choice to care for your partner, regardless of the intensity of your feelings. True love means committing and investing in the well-being of your partner and your relationship as a whole.
While practicality doesn’t seem romantic, being practical is the key to success in relationships. You and your partner will both change with time and circumstances. Practicality is what you choose to do in response to these changes. You move forward together by being practical. In every situation, you always have a choice.
So, how do you make practical choices that will keep your love going strong? In this article, you’ll find 12 ways to be practical in a relationship.
1. Understand your partner and yourself.
Practicality means focusing on what is achievable. To make practical plans, you need to understand the reality of your strengths and shortcomings, as well as those of your partner. In the early stages of your relationship, it’s understandable to have an idealized view of your partner. You may also be reluctant to acknowledge your own flaws. But the willingness to face reality is necessary to be practical in a relationship.
2. Set aside time to connect with your partner regularly.
Love is always about the feeling of connection with another person. It’s important to nurture this connection by having deep and meaningful conversations with your partner, especially when things get busy. Even when time has gone by and you’ve developed a constant routine in your relationship, you can always show the tenderness you feel. Little things like affectionate touches and sweet words let your partner know that the love is still there.
3. Know your partner’s love languages.
On that note, it’s important to know how your partner shows their love for you. Everyone expresses love in different ways. Love languages are the different ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Knowing these will let you know where to direct your energy to make your partner feel loved and valued.
4. Set goals together.
Envisioning the future is a powerful motivator. Important decisions are easier to make when you can be certain of the choices that align with your long-term goals. Everyone’s relationship goals are different; there is no one “right” way to live your life together as a couple. For example, you might choose to prioritize career success or a simple but fulfilling life. You may or may not choose to have children. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to discuss them carefully with your partner, and make sure that your practical decisions serve to bring you closer to your goals.
5. Maintain personal space.
The bond of true love is created by two people who are intact and secure within themselves. Your connection with your uniqueness and inner strength is what makes you capable of being reliable for your partner. Set aside time for yourself to recharge and reflect on your daily actions and plans for your relationship.
6. Discuss finances with your partner.
This is one of the hardest issues for couples to talk about. Sadly, it’s also one of the main reasons that relationships end. The reality of being in a relationship with someone is sharing your finances with them, for better or for worse. Don’t fall into the trap of avoiding the discussion until it’s too late.
Again, setting long-term goals will help you in this area. If you and your partner have agreed on an overall financial goal, the smaller decisions are easier to navigate together.
7. Negotiate a budget with your partner.
Constructing a budget together is the most practical short-term aspect of sharing your finances. It’s okay and normal not to agree on everything. Be prepared to give good reasons for the expenses that you think are necessary, and be prepared to listen to your partner’s reasons as well.
8. Gather your resources.
Once you’ve set your financial goals and agreed on a budget, you can turn your attention to the ways in which you can fulfill these goals. You and your partner can divide responsibilities and combine your resources, so that you can make more progress together than you could have done separately. Being in a relationship often gives people a feeling of complacency. It’s good to enjoy the contentment of finally being with the one you love, but it’s also important to remember that you should inspire each other to thrive and prosper.
9. Prioritize the welfare of your relationship above your own self-interest.
This doesn’t mean that you should neglect your own well-being for your relationship. It means that when you make decisions, you need to take the well-being of your relationship into account, as well as your own.
For example, if you were offered a promotion for a position that would have you working long hours at the office, you would ask yourself: how will this affect my relationship? For some people, the additional income would ease their financial burden and improve their relationships. For others, having less time for their partner would make their relationship suffer. Everyone’s situation is different. A practical decision is one where both of you are satisfied, and both of you benefit in the long run.
10. Balance your roles.
Most couples will naturally fall into certain roles within a relationship. When it comes to getting tasks done or making certain decisions, one of you may instinctively take over. However, if your physical or emotional labor is out of balance, one of you has to compensate for the other. Balancing your roles means giving as much as you take, and taking as much as you give. It means asking for help when you need it, and not being afraid to tell your partner the truth when they’re not holding up their end of the relationship. Being able to do everything for your partner can feel great at first, but a balanced relationship is more practical and sustainable.
11. Follow a disciplined routine together.
Practical decisions are the result of balanced rationality and emotions. The extent of the influence of our physical health on our emotional health is not always emphasized enough. Having well-regulated emotions depends on your diet, exercise, and sleep quality. While it’s tempting to stay up all night sharing heartfelt talks with your partner, or treat each other to comfort food every day, it won’t be good for your relationship in the long run. True love wants you to be happy and comfortable for the rest of your life, not just today. Ensuring each other’s health is the most practical way to care for each other.
12. Make practical use of your emotions.
Although your emotions should not drive your decisions, you should never neglect them. Not everything can be stated in logical terms. Sometimes you might feel that a certain decision is the right thing to do, even without enough evidence.
How do you know when your “gut feel” is correct? This usually comes with time and experience. Whenever you make decisions, observe the impact that your emotions had on your decision, and what the outcome was. Emotions make us human. Allowing yourself to feel the whole spectrum of joy, sorrow, and everything in between will deepen the love in your relationship. When your emotions guide you to follow your happiness, you’ll know that your “gut feel” is right; if not, you will have the experience to learn from, and make a better decision next time.
True love is practical.
We hope this guide has helped you understand how you can grow your relationship in a practical way. Beyond the butterflies and fairy-tale magic of early romance lies the still, deep waters of dedication and mature, practical love – the kind of love that lasts.
Also read: 15 Signs of True Love in a Relationship