The 3 Principles of Lasting Relationships
Are you a Relationship Challenged person?
Have you tried everything only to end up wanting to add the hashtag #FML when it comes to discussing your romantic life?
Are you in a relationship that doesn’t “light your proverbial fire"?
Is there a secret to being happy in a romantic relationship which has been withheld from you?
Do you secretly desire to find your soulmate, but feel as if you only ever find “checkmate"?
If this describes you, then please allow me to share the following secrets about how I have managed to not only stay married for nearly two decades, but how we have managed to nourish and flourish in our search for true love…
Chris Rock summed up love in a really easy to understand manner. His stand-up piece about love is not meant for you who are still in new relationships (under 2 years). Why…? Because you still have so much to learn about one another and haven’t yet begun to peel back the layers of your companion’s proverbial onion and determine if you are able to achieve “sympatico” which brings us to…
Principle 1 of Lasting Relationships
The first principle to a lasting relationship is, Have Similar Interests. Having similar interests seems easy enough, and while you may believe you have similar interests with your current partner you must KNOW you have similar interests. How do you KNOW for certain…?
- Are there MULTIPLE topics about which you both get excited discussing as individuals? This goes beyond the “I like the outdoors" question on internet dating sites into the more specific reasons about which you like the outdoors…hunters are different from PETA members but they both love the outdoors.
- Do share the same faith? This is a biggie because if you do not have the same outlook on the meaning of life…you’re doomed trying to coerce one another.
- Do you both want family or more importantly NOT to have a family? Also a biggie, children can be a deal breaker for many people due to their personal ( inside-thought desires ).
Having similar interests may seem like the cornerstone of a successful lasting relationship…but actually it is just the TIP of the iceberg.
While you may be willing to agree on a topic of mutual interest NOW, your individual interests will change over time. This brings us to…
Principle 2 of Lasting Relationships
The second principle to a lasting relationship is, Sincerely Liking One Another. While sincerely liking one another seems like an obvious candidate for the 1st principle of a Lasting Marriage, it is actually the second, and here is why…TIME.
Time may not seem important when Mister or Missus Right lands on your heart’s doorstep …but it actually is the metric used to define a “lasting" relationship.
- Does your companion roll the toothpaste tube or just squeeze the bottle?
- Do they know which direction to place the toilet paper on the roll properly?
- Can they learn from their mistakes? Believe me, there will be plenty of mistakes.
- Is their house clean, or are they OCD?
- Do their hobbies also bring pleasure to you, or are you just trying to force a round peg into a square hole?
My mom asked my wife, “I know you love him, but do you like him?”. My wife didn’t tell me that my mom had asked her this question until years later, but the fact she had been measuring our relationship’s success with this principle has established the foundation of our marriage. Because as both she and I have changed over time, we have found new wayd to communicate what we like and don’t like about one another.
Has sharing what we like and don’t like about one another resulted in us fighting? Hell yes it has…and for good reason. Fights are moments in time within a relationship which are going to happen and are completely unavoidable. Fights happen because of one of two reasons:
- You no longer like the person whom you are with or whom they have become.
- You have differing interests and those differences are causing a conflict.
Fighting is a fact of being in a relationship. It IS going to happen. The important thing to achieve as you are fighting is to never attack the other person, their family, their values and most importantly…do not attack their interests.
Most relationship fights result in a broken relationship because one person or another decides to “gnash" at the other person’s proverbial heart strings…which results in an “unforgivable” state of the relationship. This brings me finally to…
Principle 3 of Lasting Relationships
The third principle of a Lasting Marriage is, Self-Awareness. Many people are under the false delusion that a relationship is all about the other person, but the real KEY to a lasting relationship is being self-aware about how the relationship influences your life and decisions.
This is probably the most critical principle one in which you should have complete confidence. Why…?
- People change over time
- Interests change over time
- Likes change over time
- Relationships change over time
- Shit happens and people make mistakes
Of course, for any of these principles to have any merit, you and your companion must be with all of the following with one another:
These actions and values must be GENUINE from within you. You MUST wish to act towards your companion with these values in mind on a daily basis. Here is why…
If you cannot act with these values in every decision of your life, you are lying to yourself about what the relationship really means to you.
As people, we change over time and sometimes that requires being able to be honest at a level we must come to terms with within ourselves.
My wife is my soulmate because she is the person who has been through the thick-n-thin this life has to offer and we have both chosen to be honest with one another about what really matters to us as individuals.
We are a one-night stand that has withstood nearly 20 years of marriage, a 9 month separation, substance abuse, raising children (in the best and worst of times), and the changes we have each undergone as individuals spanning all 18 years of being married. Today, we are happier and more in-tune with one another than ever.
Do we share ALL our interests? NO.
Do we like everything about each other? NO.
Are we always self-aware and do we feel confident in communication at an honest, compassionate, trustworthy, loyal, level…YES!
Communication is a CRITICAL component, but it is not everything which achieves a lasting relationship…in the end you just KNOW that you do not wish to wake another day and experience life’s wonders without being able to share those experiences with your best friend…and yes, you must become best friends to have a meaningful and lasting relationship.
What is our “secret"? We are willing to have uncomfortable conversations about how we feel about ourselves or about what we need based upon how our interests change at an intimate level, we are willing to forgive each other when we make mistakes, we are self-aware enough to accept the other as we change over time.