“Where do your priorities lie in this relationship?” You’ve probably heard this in one of those romcoms that seem to be filled with miscommunication between the partners. One thing they do get right, however, is the importance of priorities in a relationship. You don’t want to jump into a relationship only to realize that your partner’s sports team’s match is more important than you are.
To make sure you don’t keep hearing how your priorities aren’t in order in every fight, sit down with your partner and have a conversation about them. Tell each other what you expect and how important the relationship is to you. You don’t want your partner solely devoting themselves to your relationship to a creepy extent. But you’d also obviously like them to care. Let’s discuss what should your priorities be in a relationship and how to set them.
And to help us understand better, consultant psychologist Jaseena Backer (MS Psychology), who is a gender and relationship management expert, is going to give us a lowdown on what some relationship priorities should look like.
How Do You Set Priorities In A Relationship?
We can tell you of all sorts of priorities in a relationship but the list would be useless if you fail to act upon them. Some priorities in a relationship like loyalty and respect can be easily set without having to do a lot of prep work. Once you two start dating, a conversation about exclusiveness will demand loyalty and respect in the relationship.
For the others, however, you may need to have an engaging conversation with your partner. Setting priorities in your relationship is largely about how well you can communicate in your relationship.
Jaseena suggests, “The most important thing in a relationship is making your partner a priority. One should communicate how to incorporate each other into the individual lifestyles. Both the partners need to bring it out in the open instead of making assumptions. This understanding is essential by having healthy discussions around it.”
Setting priorities might fix a broken relationship as well, depending on how well you follow them. Prioritizing each other’s happiness will prompt you to be selfless where you otherwise wouldn’t. And no, giving up the last slice of pizza doesn’t count. Figure out what matters most to you in your relationship, and have a conversation about priorities in a healthy relationship with your partner. To help you get started, let’s take a look at what the biggest relationship priorities are.
What Are The Biggest Priorities In A Relationship?
So now we’ve seen why priorities are important and how you could go about setting them in your relationship. But make sure you don’t end up prioritizing your personal time more than your relationship so much that you barely ever see each other. What should your priorities be in a relationship, the degree to which they’re healthy and how many you should consider are all listed out for you below:
1. The relationship itself
The biggest priority you should have in your relationship may well be the relationship itself. No guesswork there. When life gets in the way, a lot of time may pass before you two really pay attention to each other. You’ll notice it’s visibly not as strong as it used to be, but sometimes people brush it under the rug, hoping the problems will disappear.
If you don’t fix your relationship when you see problematic signs, it will most definitely get worse. Couples tend to take each other for granted and the relationship as well once they’ve reached a certain level of comfort and trust. The only way out of this is to check in with your partner, work on the issues you see rather than avoid them. Don’t wait for the elephant in the room to ruin your relationship, get rid of it the minute you see it.
2. Happiness is among the priorities in love
Some priorities in a relationship may seem like common sense, but once you’re in the midst of a toxic/karmic relationship, you often forget the things you should be aiming for. The rollercoaster of emotions keeps you engrossed in the constant ups and downs, keeping happiness at bay. You know it’s probably bad for you but you stay in the relationship, like pressing down on a bruise.
Jaseena tells us, “Happiness does not mean a simple feeling of joy throughout the day. One should prioritize making the other person happy – that is what is more essential on a relationship priority list. Think about what makes them happy, create it for them and try to even be part of that happiness.”
When you make happiness a priority in your relationship, you’ll be able to ask each other tough questions like, “Are you happy with me?” Figure out what makes them happy and what doesn’t, or why they’re unhappy. The relationship has an expiration date unless happiness is achieved.
Related Reading: Fixing a Toxic Relationship – 21 Ways To Heal TOGETHER
A lack of respect is not necessarily shown through physical or verbal abuse, it can be as subtle as cutting you off every time you try to put your point across. Having your opinion deemed useless before you’ve even completed your sentence would discourage anyone. A lack of mutual respect in a relationship basically means the relationship will never take off.
Out of the list of priorities in a relationship, this one is a necessity. Respect cannot be bargained on, it has to exist. A submissive relationship that constantly features a power struggle isn’t really a loving relationship, it feels more like a political debate.
4. Honesty – one of the priorities in a healthy relationship
In fear that the relationship might end if the truth about a few things comes out, you lie. But through honesty and the fights it may bring, your relationship will ultimately grow stronger, provided you two can work through the opposing views/problems. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Lying in your relationship to avoid a tough conversation, or just withholding information will just lead to uglier fights down the road. Even if it’s something as small as you not liking the way they chew, tell them. But do so kindly, before you know it they might exaggerate their animalistic chewing just to piss you off. Through honesty, either the relationship will end so you can move on and learn or it’ll grow stronger.
You’ll often see priorities change in a relationship or even different priorities in a relationship emerge as you evolve as a couple. But communication is one that stays or at least should stay constant. Once you start taking each other for granted, you may communicate to figure out how to go about the upcoming week but you won’t really talk to your partner.
As one of the constants in any relationship of any kind, improving communication in a relationship should never be overlooked. Unless you two honestly communicate constantly about what you’re feeling, you’ll end up making guesses about the same. You don’t want to leave a potential love of your life due to some shabby guesswork, do you?
Jaseena advises, “Communication is one of the basics of a good relationship. Even in the very beginning, it is important that you talk and communicate your likes, dislikes and boundaries to the other person. Communicate it all as much as you can. Always find the right time and moment for it because if there is a spell of silence in the relationship, that is where one person might feel compromised.”
Related Reading: Communication mistakes couples make
No matter what you or your partner have been through in the past, opening yourself up and trusting your partner completely should always be a priority. Things like being cheated on or being lied to in the past can justifiably leave you unwilling to trust again. However, if you keep doubting the intentions of your partner behind every decision they make, it’s ultimately you who’s going to have a bad time.
Building trust in a relationship is a slow process. You won’t completely trust your partner from day one. Naturally, some inhibitions will take hold. But through honesty and communication, you’ll be able to reach a much safer place in your relationship.
Jaseena advises, “Setting boundaries in a relationship is important because that is where respect stems from. It is where you draw the line of space and respect. What is accepted, what is not, what is tolerated, what is not – these are things that should be clear in a relationship. Sometimes boundaries may seem blurry but do ensure that they are made stronger at the end of the day.”
It’s very cute to initially think stuff like “I can share anything with you!” or “my money is your money”. But as time goes on and you mature, you realize there need to be boundaries in your relationship to help sustain it. Knowing where to draw the line and not overstepping your bounds are among the foremost priorities in love.
Too much of anything is bad for you. Too much of your partner is a lethal dose. Through boundaries in a relationship, you’ll be able to establish some healthy alone time and other boundaries. Discuss finances, sexual boundaries, physical boundaries and the lot. You’ll get to know your partner better and you’ll have a clear understanding of their expectations. The more you communicate about what will work and what won’t, the fewer fights you’ll have. Isn’t that the dream?
8. Anger management and fixing problems – understanding and making your partner a priority
One might have different priorities in a relationship and that’s okay. But this is one factor that has to be a common understanding between a couple. Otherwise, fights are bound to exist.
Jaseena tells us, “You may see your partner’s anger issues early on in the relationship. But understanding the triggers is essential to help the other person. One should know how to deal with it. However, don’t mistake that for allowing oneself to be constantly silenced or abused.”
Through a conversation about boundaries and constant communication, you should be able to figure out how your partner reacts in an argument. Do they like to run away from any/all problems or are they capable of being level-headed enough to sort something out?
You’ve heard the saying before, a relationship is built on compromise. You can’t keep texting your ex while turning a blind eye to how many hints she drops. You can’t set the room temperature to what feels like minus 40 for your partner. You’ve got to stop texting your ex who you claim is a “friend” and the AC temperature needs to be debated.
This should also rank very, very high in your relationship priority list. If yours is an exclusive relationship, loyalty needs to be practiced by everyone involved. Even if it’s an open relationship, there are often limits to who you can sleep with and who you can’t. Unless you promise and practice loyalty, trust will never be fully achieved.
Being cheated on is a horrible feeling that might just make it hard for you to trust any future partners. Clearly tell your partner how much you value loyalty and wish to seek it in your relationship and do make it one of the priorities in a healthy relationship.
Related Reading: 8 Top Priorities In Marriage
10. Kindness – priorities in love
Speak only if you can improve upon the silence. If you have nothing to say except hurtful words that you so conveniently hide behind a shroud of “honesty”, consider keeping quiet until you can do away with the harsh words. No matter what it is you’re communicating, always aim for kindness. If you put your point across in a condescending tone, the only thing that will be heard is the disrespectful nature of your voice.
Apart from just communicating, kindness should always be aimed for no matter what you’re doing. Not keeping score and just being kind for the sake of it will lead to a loving relationship. Little things like making a cup of tea for your partner when they could use one will make your relationship seem like the escape you need from the cruel world.
Jaseena says, “Kindness comes from love and respect for another person. It’s a basic attitude and integrity that one should have toward their partner. Unless you care about someone, kindness will not come. Kindness is also a part of your inherent character and something you might have to develop to be in a healthy relationship.”
In this list of priorities in a relationship, you must’ve noticed sex is nowhere to be found. While sex is a very important aspect, things like kindness, respect, communication and honesty are often valued more. Have a conversation about sex as well, but a relationship that solely survives through physical intimacy in the absence of the priorities we listed, possibly won’t feel as fulfilling.