I was raised in a home where my parents got up in the morning together and ate breakfast together. They talked frequently during the day and then came back home and had dinner together again. They weren't really a touchy-feely couple, but I knew they loved each other just the same.
Before I was in a relationship, I thought I knew what was important. You should spend time together and talk frequently, but I never even thought about physical touch. It wasn't until I really liked a boy and gave him the most uncomfortable hug that left us both embarrassed that I realized physical contact was very important. It sounds silly when I say it out loud, but I never realized how important touch was until I was trying to be in a relationship (not surprising I didn't end up dating that boy).
I thought my parents had the perfect marriage, and for them it was. However, for me, I needed more hugs and hand-holding to be happy in my relationships. Until that awkward hug, I never realized that relationships can look different and still have the same happy results.
There are so many different types of relationships in the world, so it's important to look at others besides what you grew up with. Many children grow up in abusive homes and think it is the only way to live in a relationship until they are with someone who treats them with respect and soft, tender love.
The truth is people need different things - what I mean is everyone needs a healthy relationship but each relationship can take many different forms.
Some people need more touch in their relationship, while some need quiet moments of simply sitting together. Some couples need lots of laughter, while others need serious conversations. At the end of the day, all relationships need work, respect and love.
How to analyze relationships
It's very important to examine other relationships and learn what types of things work and what really doesn't.
Ask yourself: Are they smiling? Do they look happy? Are they quick to anger? Do they laugh first or yell? What do they talk about? Do they hold hands publicly? Are they able to be independent in the relationship too?
If you are comfortable with it, ask the couple: How do they make decisions? How fast do they make up? Do they feel like they are living a balanced life? How often do they say 'I love you'? How do they spend couple time together?
You can ask them these questions personally or you can observe their lifestyle. See how happy they are and what they are able to accomplish on their own and together. When you see what works in a relationship and what doesn't, you will make better decisions in your own relationship.
If you like how someone is kissing whenever they see each other, try it. You may like that a couple goes out to eat every Friday night together. Try it. Or you like that they hold hands when they walk through the grocery store. Try that too.
It's never bad to experiment with your relationship. Don't be afraid to try new things and be spontaneous in your relationships. When you do it together, you will grow a deeper love for each other and your relationship will last longer.
Marriage is about trying different things together while building each other up.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.