WHAT MAKES A RELATIONSHIP WORK?
Can you examine a relationship to see what makes it tick or what makes it fail? Can you make all-encompassing general statements about relationships?
Well, there are some traits that really do need to be present for a relationship to work.
Concern: There needs to be a caring concern by each person for the other – a concern for their well-being, an empathy with their emotions, a desire to support them in times of trouble and to comfort them in times of despair.
Connection: There need to be connections in a couple’s relationship. It could be a religious connection, or it could be physical, emotional, or mental – a meeting of the minds or of the bodies, a symbiotic or synergistic connection.
Communication: Communication involves more than just talking. It involves active, genuine listening and caring feedback. True honest communication can be difficult unless people really care about each other, but caring communication is the real secret to staying in love (according to author John Powell).
Commitment: Both parties in a relationship need to want the relationship to work. If one party wants out of the relationship, there is no relationship. There needs to be a bond between them, an unwritten pledge to each other.
Courage: It takes courage to look at one’s self, to be honest about negative or positive contributions to the relationship, to think about the direction the relationship is taking and perhaps to make a difficult decision about the relationship. It takes courage to be independent enough, for instance, to bow out of an unhealthy relationship. And it takes courage to admit it when you are wrong, to ask forgiveness, and to treat your partner as your best friend.
If there is no concern, no caring, connection, commitment, or courage, there is no relationship.