Everyone wants a great relationship. We may compromise along the way if we begin to believe we cannot find a “great relationship,” but we at least start out with the hope of finding a great relationship or hope we already have one. But what really makes a great relationship? How is a great relationship built? What does it look and feel like?
A mathematical equation for a great relationship might look like this:
Love (L) = Passion+Friendship+Respect
Connection (C) = want (versus need)+bonding+affinity
Common Interests and Goals (CIG) = all the things you share in common including your goals
Great Relationship (GR).
Although there are other factors that add to a great relationship, in most cases L+C+CIG=GR.
Now let’s break it down minus the nerd speak.
For great love to exist there must be a foundation of friendship with equal measures of passion and respect. If any of those elements are missing, love will begin to fade or sometimes suddenly cease. When two people have a connection with each other, they feel a great affinity for each other on many levels: mentally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. They also have a desire to bond and share their thoughts and feelings with each other. When we share common interests and goals with someone, spending time with that person is natural and preferred. When you have all of the above, you have the best chance to for a truly great relationship.
But let’s say a few of the elements for a great relationship are missing from the equation. Can you still have a great relationship? Well the answer is, yes, it is possible, but far less likely. When any of the above elements are missing, it presents a challenge to overcome the unfulfilled element. We will need to compensate for the missing element(s) in the relationship. Often this lack, takes the form of waning interest or a growing desire to seek to fulfill the missing element with others in our life. Significant problems arise when too few of these elements of success are present. If this happens, it becomes apparent. At some point, we can no longer sustain the relationship that’s lacking the necessary elements for support. We either become dissatisfied and critical of our partner or we look elsewhere to become fulfilled.
You’ll notice good looks, a hot body, a big bank account and a power career do not appear on the list! That’s right, they don’t. All of the superficial elements of attraction are not necessary elements of a great relationship. In some cases, what initially attracts us to someone can even work against a great relationship. Take for example, someone with an important power career. You may be attracted to this type of person, but many people who have power careers do not have the time to build a closely bonded, passionate, intimate relationship–they are simply too busy! Another good example is a celebrity. They seem to have ideal lives until you read the headlines and find they struggle with relationship issues every bit as much as we do, perhaps more so due to the pressures of both their career, lifestyle and celebrity.
So let’s say you have been blessed to find all of the necessary elements of a great relationship. What else influences a relationship to take it from promising to great? Intimacy and great communication skills are both very important in building and keeping a great relationship. Intimacy requires that both people allow themselves to be “known,” to be vulnerable and willing to drop the “mask” and lower the protective walls and share their true selves with each other. Any relationship lacking in intimacy will likely fail over time. We all crave intimacy at a deep level, however some people are less confident in allowing themselves to be truly intimate. Intimacy is the secret power ingredient to the strongest bonds and the best sex. It allows for both partners to feel “safe” and increases trust exponentially.
Communication is always a challenge. On the surface it seems easy enough. But really trying to say exactly what you mean and have another person actually receive and understand your meaning can be difficult. [Top 10 Ways to Better Communicate in your Relationship] Sometimes a miscommunication is not even immediately noticeable, but becomes apparent over time when a misunderstanding results, possibly creating an unexpected argument. So how do you better communicate and relate? Practice! Don’t assume. Ask your partner for what you want. Dont make them guess what you are thinking and feeling. Assumptions often lead to problems. [Top 10 Ways to Resolve a Conflict] Be willing to listen and make an effort to first understand your partner before seeking to be understood. If an argument arises, disagree in a healthy way. Do not let your fears or defensiveness get the best of you.
Another necessary precursor to a great relationship is you! Are you ready to bring your best self to a relationship? Are you able to reveal your true self and take the risk of finding out if the two of you are a great match? Can you let go of the outcome and simply take the time to build the necessary elements of a great relationship? Our bet is you can if you are willing. [Are You Ready for Love? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself] No one is perfect. Part of truly loving someone is seeing their flaws yet placing greater value on all of the unique, amazing qualities they have and the wonderful things you share that bring you joy when you are together. The whole package, with all of the elements of a great relationship, is one of the greatest gifts life and love have to offer.
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about what makes a great relationship. Please share yours with our readers in the comment section.