Hiiiiii and welcome back to SmalleeWrites!
I’ve failed at relationships (of all kinds) before, and I want to believe that’s helped me become better at them. I’ve learned what to do differently but just as important as what one should do is what we shouldn’t do. So let’s talk about the deadly sins of relationships, how to recognize and avoid them.
The Seven Deadly Sins
It’s easy to think, “So what’s wrong with lust?” After all, it is all around us, in songs, movies, advertisements, etc. Lust sells because it appeals to the dark side of us that only wants to get the subject of our desires. But a relationship built on lust will crumble because it is selfish, fickle, and unsustainable and will die in an instant if anything changes. In fact, lust can turn to uncontrollable anger when it is rejected.
Similarly, lust may cause you to be unfaithful to your partner if you’re in a committed relationship.
Lust attacks both genders so always keep your eyes open for it so you can do all you can to protect yourself from the destructive monster. Remember, lust destroys, but love brings life.
According to Imam Al-Ghazali, “The one whose concern is with that which enters the belly will discover that his value is found in that which goes out of it”
This means it can be easy to focus on the benefits one gets from a relationship without caring about whether or not we’re adding value to the other party’s life.
Don’t fall down this slippery slope.
A Yoruba adage says, “Owo ma tan, eyan lo ma ku” which means “Money/material possessions might get exhausted but there will always be people.” Greed causes you to risk everything for the sake of acquisition and this acquisitiveness can destroy your relationships if it’s not tamed.
Be careful. You need contentment and gratitude to keep ambition from morphing into greed.
The word “sloth” is a translation of the Latin term acedia which means “without care”. One certain thing that can cause a healthy relationship to turn into an unhealthy one is when one or both partners appear to be nonchalant about making the relationship work and prosper as time goes on.
Most things in life that are positive need to be worked on, to be maintained. If someone regularly went to the gym for a year they would get toned up and healthy. But if they stop going, especially if combined with lazy habits regarding what they eat, they will lose what they’ve gained.
It’s exactly the same with our relationships. Relationships start and grow because we put effort into them. But as soon as sloth towards a relationship creeps in, that relationship will start to suffer. So you need to make quality time to be together and being kind to each other.
Don’t get lazy about being intimate – and don’t be slothful about showing love for the other person in all ways too.
Resentment is a slow poison. It can start with something as small as your partner forgetting to buy bread on their way back from work even though you called to remind them or them always keeping you waiting on date nights, and build up into something much bigger which soon feels like it’s too heavy to hold any longer.
Wrath/Resentment is dangerous because it often flies under our radar, so that we don’t even notice it’s growing, and our partner doesn’t realize that there’s anything wrong.
One sure way to avoid resentment is to always speak up about how things affect us immediately we’re rubbed the wrong way, but that’s not going to always be the case so don’t despair if you feel such anger towards your partner.
If you ever notice yourself feeling resentment, you need to address it before it gets even worse. Cut it off while it’s small. There are two good ways to deal with resentment:
1) Breathe, and just let it go — accept your partner for who she/he is, faults and all; none of us is perfect; or
2) Talk to your partner about it if you cannot accept it, and try to come up with a solution that works for both of you (not just for you); try to talk to them in a non-confrontational way, but in a way that expresses how you feel without being accusatory.
A certain amount of jealousy is inherent in all of us as a character trait that helps us survive, and protect our relationships. But excessive jealousy is never healthy and it is toxic to a relationship.
It’s hard to control jealousy if you feel it, I know. It seems to happen by itself, out of our control, unbidden and unwanted. However, jealousy, like resentment, is a relationship poison. A little jealousy is fine, but when it gets to a certain level that it turns into a need to control your partner, and turns into unnecessary fights, and makes both parties unhappy, then it’s a problem.
If you have problems with jealousy, it’s important that you examine and deal with the root issue, which is usually insecurity. That insecurity might be tied to your childhood (abandonment by a parent, for example) or incidents in past (or your current relationship)
Of course, a partner in a romantic relationship can play their part in this – if, for example, you go out for an evening and they are openly flirting all evening with another person or others in general. But it’s also useful to know that jealousy increases when someone has low self-esteem. In fact, jealousy and self-esteem can be seen to be on scales, so that when one is up it means the other is low and vice versa.
Tame your jealousy. Healthy relationships are always built on trust.
When you accomplish something hard-fought, it’s natural to feel pleased, proud and perhaps boastful about the outcome but as a personality trait, pride can take on a different meaning.
When it comes to your relationships, excessive pride might be present if your sense of self-satisfaction is accompanied by persistent disagreeableness, a tendency to respond to stress with negative emotions such as anger, irritability, or contempt, carelessness toward your commitment or responsibility to the other person and other toxic behaviors, whether or not you’re aware of them.
These tendencies may come out in various behaviors, like:
· refusing or finding it hard to compromise
· feeling constantly offended by the other person’s opinions,
· constantly finding fault in others when you compare them to yourself,
· dismissing some things your partner cares about as being beneath you and refusing to complete them,
· refusing to apologize even when you might realize it can solve the conflict,
· feeling as if you always know what’s best or that the other person’s wrong.
By being accountable, seeing criticism as a way to improve, reminding yourself what the other person means to you, reflecting on your values and finding ways to express yourself clearly, respectfully and timely, you can prevent pride from destroying your bond with your partner.
The knowledge of the seven deadly relationship sins ought to make us constantly question our behavior and do our best to avoid them and I hope this will bring you a step closer to that happy fulfilling relationship you dream about.
Till next time, I wish you all the best.
Smallee of SmalleeWrites
Which of the sins have affected any of your relationships? How did you handle it?
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