Have you ever enrolled in a course that you thought you would do very well and graduate with flying colours, just to flank the first series of exams? It must have driven you nuts, to say the least. You probably didn’t follow the wise advice of those close to you to gather all the facts first and examine your motives. You were not curious enough.

Now imagine getting in a relationship with the attitude of the “know-it-all”. We only realise when tested that we know very little about our loved one. Many times we think we know our mate and care not to learn even in conflict. When we find ourselves labelling our other half and sticking them into the square of “you always” and “you never,” we miss vital observations because we are no longer learning. Our defences have been raised and our “relational IQ” turned off.

So how do you know when your pursuit of love in your relationship is floundering?

Ask yourself, “Am I a curious student?”

The key to knowing your lover and enriching your relationship is curiosity and understanding. When you are genuinely curious, you’ll ask clarifying questions. You’ll seek to understand the person rather than judge their behaviour. You won’t be passive-aggressive but will seek to resolve differences in order to restore your relationship. You stride closer instead of stepping away.

The next time you find yourself shutting down a relationship without hearing the person out, step back and allow yourself to better understand them rather than their behaviour. You may not be able to change them, but you’ll create a climate for honest and honouring conversations that lead to a fulfilled relationship. You will thus be on your way to obtaining a PhD in your relationship.

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