I have been having some small quarrels with my girlfriend and its got me thinking on some of my beliefs. Like what I think a relationship should consist of. I realize that a lot of my beliefs stem from my religious background or random advice from acquaintances. I would like to get my hands on a book, website, or just plain advice that uses a more scientific approach on what exactly love is and how to form meaningful and happy relationships.
I find religion dominates in this area since the subject seems to be more philosophical than based on hard facts. I would like something that can help me reevaluate how I work on a relationship and perhaps see things a bit differently.(because what i am doing doesn't seem to be working) Or if you don't mind give me some advice. I'm looking to open my mind a bit on this subject and hearing from you guys would be great.
Here are a few examples to show you what kind of advice I am looking for.
1) Compromise is a huge factor in sustaining a happy relationship.
2) Communication is key, holding in feelings of anger only blows things out of proportion.
3) Some romance never hurts.
4) The man is the ruler of the house and the woman should respect his authority. Just kidding :)
That is just a few examples what I want is your advice.
A lot may disagree, however I have always maintained that if you need to be referenced in what 'love' is, then you are not feeling it really. Putting it in another way, if you feel you need to work at your relationship, shouldn't you question whether or not this relationship is right for you?
If your beliefs are causing arguments, and neither of you can agree to disagree, unfortunately you have to either live with that or decide that it can't work.
I myself am going through a difficult stage in my 6 year relationship. My girlfriend hates when I post anti-religious postings on social media sites. She is atheist like myself, however she doesn't see the need in letting the world know. I, however, do see the need. I cannot convince her of this. Who knows... it might end my relationship as well. I have to take into consideration that I will always have these beliefs, so is it right to bottle them up because someone else disagrees with them? It's difficult.
Anyway, I hope I was of some help - though in a non-scientific way :)
I think 1 through 3 in your OP is spot on. A few more things I've learned over the years:
Relationships require work - it is not supposed to be easy and full of happiness at all times. That unrealistic expectation dogged me for years before I realized I had been corrupted by movies, love songs, and Hallmark. Damn you, Hallmark!
Happiness is not the baseline - people are always seeking happiness and are miserable because they can't find it and keep it. This can affect a lot more than relationships, too. Happiness is a deviation from the mean and you will always regress to that mean. If, for some reason, circumstances change where what brought you joy before has now become common, that will now become your mean and it will no longer bring you the joy it once did. This is why wealthy people can be just as miserable as the dirt poor. So, keep in mind that if you aren't happy all the time in your relationship, that is normal. If you expected otherwise, then your expectations need revising. Riding a roller coaster once is one thing, riding on it all day long is another.
Perspective - if you can't understand why your partner can't see things from your perspective and it annoys you, then you might be the problem. You should always spend more time and effort trying to figure out your partner's perspective rather than argue your own. In many cases, understanding their side may be all that is needed to solve the issue.
Fish - there are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. Soul mates are the concept of love addled fools. I think a section of this Cracked article sums it up humorously well. See the first section (#5).
Good to see you still kicking around, Happy!