I was trying to think of the 'perfect' relationship the other night and I just couldn't think of one. It's true, everyone seems to be fighting their own battles. But as much as we struggle to float and find a state of contentment, we forget one very simple thing.
Social psychology has a concept which is so simple that it roughly translates into an English phrase. We mirror our expectations. Unknowingly, we behave with people like we wish them to behave with us. If we want someone to go out of their way and plan surprises for us, we plan surprises for them. If we like to be cuddled, we cuddle. If we like our space, we give space.
And herein lies the fundamental problem of human relationships. We need to do to a person what that person likes instead of what we like. And in return, communicate clearly what we want them to do for us. Subtle suggestions through behavior don't work often. If you like to be told that you are loved often, merely saying I love you to the person won't help. Instead, just communicate that you would like to hear it once in a while. Likewise, if you think a candlelight dinner is romantic, do not plan that for their birthday or your anniversary. Think of what they like, whether it is clubbing or being with a larger group of family or friends, and plan something around that.
Relationships would be much simpler if we asked simply and gave selflessly. This only works in rational relationships where the partners care about each other and are compassionate. But if achieved, it can save many a hearts from ache.