More than Communication
Relationships have other ingredients in the mixture.
A successful relationship has a lot of moving parts. There is not just one set of rules that everyone follows and then their relationship is a success. If you see a relationship adviser, you will get that person’s take on the situation and how it is presented at face value.
You then decide to see another adviser and you get that adviser's advice based on the situational perception once again. So, what do you do? Go to a third adviser? Will there be a commonality between any or will it be another piece of advice that differs from the ones before?
There are several ingredients to a great relationship. We can debate until the end of time but if the relationship lacks any of these, there will be issues.
Many experts say a relationship should have honesty and trust as an ingredient. If you cannot be honest, then there is no trust. But what is YOUR definition of honest? What will make a person determine that their significant other is no longer trustworthy? Let us look at a scenario. A man and a woman live together, they frequently have guests over to their apartment. One day, the woman goes into the bathroom and sees the toilet seat up and asks the man, “Hey, did you leave the seat up again?” The man casually replies, “No.” The woman becomes upset and accuses the man of lying, the man, in turn, gets upset and reacts to the name calling.
In this scenario, the woman does not know if the man is lying, however; she believes that he is. Is this relationship broken beyond repair? Is this man now considered dishonest and untrustworthy? Most people would say no. thus, honesty is not the main ingredient we are looking for. Many people want honesty but just to an extent. They want honesty on the big stuff. What is the big stuff?
The big stuff usually depends on a person’s insecurities self-esteem, self-worth, faith, religion, nationality, ethnic background, upbringing and a combination of other personal and social factors. When two people enter a relationship, the average person is not a therapist, and even as I explained above, even therapists may get it wrong. There are many variables at play during the beginning stages of a relationship and both parties should be clear on intent prior to becoming involved.
So how do we dig through the murk and get on the same page? One of the most important parts of relationships that is almost obsolete is courting. During a courtship, the parties date and get to know one another before any physical interaction. They have open candid conversations about life, expectations, goals, and other pertinent subjects that matter in a valued relationship.
This important part of the relationship is usually cut short based on physical attraction, temptation, pressure, guilt, or even revenge. Once the relationship becomes physical, many of the aforementioned criteria is lost.
In many cultures, courting is a way to determine if God has destined the two to be joined. Many of those same cultures today have taken God from the scenario and decide to go it alone without any religious guidelines.
An important ingredient in a relationship is compromise. A compromise is when both parties give up something to reconcile differences. “I will be more aware of the toilet seat being left up, I will make sure everyone knows to leave it down” and “I will be more careful in accusing you out right when I am not really certain It is you, I will also try to tolerate the seat being left up a bit more” in this situation the compromise between the two may eliminate future arguments about the toilet seat.
Another ingredient every relationship needs is mutual respect. Each party should respect each other as a human being, respect each other’s privacy, and respect each other’s autonomy, and respect the goals, expectations, and values each bring to the relationship. If there is no respect then there will always be issues.
Lastly, we have communication, but not just having a conversation. Communication requires both parties to listen and try to gain an understanding of what the other is trying to convey. If there is a break down in communication the relationship will not work. If conversations turn into arguments, then there really is not any communication. Bring in an unbiased third party to help resolve any issue and explore the underlying issues in full detail.