A Great Relationship Is NOT Something You HAVE But Something You DO
After years of study and practice with hundreds of couples and individuals working through the essence of what it means to be in a relationship, several key factors have been prominent throughout
Each factor can be seen as a particular trait among the couples and/or individuals that moves them to be passionate and deeply loving in their relationship. Such traits enable them to stand in the face of adversity and move though the troubled waters that might crash upon their solitude.
A great relationship stands in the midst adversity and withstands the crash of troubled times. Too often, couples are unsure and feel unsafe about the relationship they have. They question the validity when times are tough. They question the longevity when troubled times persist. What is missing during such questioning is not the making of a great relationship but the perception of what it takes for a great relationship to thrive. A great relationship is NOT something you HAVE but something you DO.
A great relationship is a partnership that evolves from a single minded objective to a team minded goal. The relationship must have the ability to evolve in terms of shifting an "I" into a "we" in order to create the "Partnership". Together "we" have dissected those traits and actively created a foundation from which to form "our partnership". Now it's your turn!
1. Intentional Commitmenthttp:
- Intentional: "Done on Purpose, not by accident"
- Commitment: "The act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action;"
Intentional Commitment means that you and your partner have purposefully negotiated and expressed your full expectations for the relationship. However expectations must be balanced with realistic and doable acts by both partners. If you are asking your partner to give something up, or to do something, what will the impact of that be?
For Example: If you are a neat freak and your partner is not- yet you nag and harp on your partner to organize in a way that meets your expectations alone- the outcome might be a less relaxed grumpy and defensive partner. Is that much organization worth the outcome? And can you answer "yes" to the questions Is this good for our relationship?" and ..."Is this what we said we were committed to?"
Important questions to ask are...When expectations are not met, how do you respond? I.e.... withhold love and affection. Is your partner aware of these expectations and were they negotiated realistically? Were they part of the intentional commitment made by both of you?
2. Selfless Consciousness
- Selfless: "Having, exhibiting, or motivated by no concern for oneself. Putting others needs before your own".
- Consciousness: "A sense of one's personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group"
Selfless consciousness means that you have the ability to put your "self" aside and fully be "aware" of your partners' reality. Whether you agree or disagree with your partner's reality has no relevance. Can you "try on" and accept your partner's point of view. What makes your partner feel loved and cared for is different than what makes you feel loved and cared for!
3. Creating Mojo
- Creating: "To cause to exist; bring into being."
- Mojo: "magnetism; a magic charm or spell, a sexy essence."
Essential Mojo is that intimate chemistry, passion, desire and hunger for your partner. It can be that sexual tension that can light a room on fire or the sublet sweetness in a loving glance. There are people with high levels of personal mojo and others with lower levels of personal mojo. We tend to mate with people who balance us out, which means likely one of you has a higher level and one of you has a lower level. There is no "right" level of Mojo. However, often times partners become self centered about what level of Mojo is "right" in their relationship. In addition what creates Mojo for one partner can be very different than what creates Mojo for another partner.
Luckily Mojo is highly infectious and contagious (which is where the "creating" part comes in). Open communication with your partner about what creates Mojo for them personally is essential. For you creating mojo might mean an evening alone with your partner enjoying scented candles and fine wine, for your partner doing the dishes for them and helping kids with homework might create Mojo.
The largest component of creating Mojo is absolutely personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility for actively participating in the creation of Mojo that speaks to your partner is crucial! Ask openly and don't judge! Remember... 1) Intentional commitment and 2) Selfless consciousness
4. Complimentary Partnership
- Complimentary: "Given free to or as an act of courtesy: costing nothing. A formal act of civility, courtesy, or respect. A perfect addition to."
- Partnership: "A relationship between individuals that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, and who both agree to work towards the achievement of a specified goal:"
A Complimentary Partnership includes acting as best friends, playmates, confidants, lovers, and what ever else is needed in that particular partnership. These are the traits that take the relationship on a journey for the long haul and these are the traits that keep couples together through rough times.
When you are experience bumps in the road, you must ask yourself "Would I treat my very best friend like this?" And "Would I want my best friend to treat me like this?" "What kind of a partner am I being right now?"
5. Relentless Initiative
- Relentless: "Unyielding in severity or strictness; unrelenting: Steady and persistent; unremitting"
- Initiative: "The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination."
Relentless Initiative means that each partner authentically takes on the task of creating this partnership and practicing steps 1-4 as a "WE".
The five traits described above won't be mastered right away. Much like riding a bike, it takes time to learn and the more you practice, the better you will get. Allow yourself to have room for mistakes. Recognize them when they happen, apologize when you have too, re-commit to your goals, and get back on the bike. Soon, it will become as easy has riding a bicycle and you might even add some tricks of your own.
About the Author
Dr. Christy Wise is the CEO of San Diego Family Services and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is a national speaker on relationship conflict resolution and sex therapy, and has been practicing since 1998. To find out more, please visit http://www.sdfamilyservices.com