“Building a relationship is like tending a garden… It is an intentional endeavor.”
A healthy relationship has many ingredients. These ingredients must be carefully discovered and nurtured in the relationship. In this presentation, I discuss the ingredients of love, respect, communication and compatibility. I also take a look at intimacy and trust. Before we proceed, I submit that this list is by no means conclusive though very crucial.
This may sound obvious but not all romantic relationships are characterized by love. People get into relationships for all kinds of reasons and under all kinds of circumstances. Some get into relationships because of material benefits. Others get into relationships because they want to enhance their social status. I also know people who get into relationships just because they are close to hitting their biological threshold.
There are others who are in relationships that are driven by emotions other than love. Fear, anger and sense of obligation could imprison people in relationships. Without love, no romantic relationship will be fulfilling. A loving relationship is one that is full of grace, forgiveness, patience, kindness, peace and perseverance. Undeniably, there will be times when people will feel hurt but love provides a balm for assuaging the hurts and pains of romantic relationships. It is imperative that partners in relationships consciously work to cultivate true love.
Respect is very critical for a strong relationship. Respect is about recognizing and acknowledging each other’s differences and accommodating those differences without being judgmental and condescending. Respect is about loving and accepting each other for who they are.
A relationship that is starved of respect is likely to be an abusive one. It will bruise the emotions and confidence of both partners. Without respect, no one will be content with their relationship. For love to thrive there must be respect. Partners must learn to give deference to each other. Partners must endeavor to be accountable to each other. Partners must esteem each other.
For relationships to be healthy, couples must learn to talk and respond to each other. Without open and honest communication, couples will live on the blind side of each other. This could breed conflicts which may not be resolved.
Again, communication should be truthful. What is the point in opening up about something which is not true? Truthful communication preserves the integrity of the relationship and helps the relationship to stand the test of time.
It is also important to recognize that communication is not just about what is said. It is also about what is not said. Sometimes, what is not said is even louder than what is said. Nonverbal communication is a substantial part of relationships. People must be careful to observe and take cognizance of and respond to the action, inaction, feelings and moods of their partners.
To enhance relationships, partners must learn to blend with each other. A healthy relationship is one in which partners make a conscious effort to fit into each other’s life and offer support and encouragement in the pursuit of life objectives. That is compatibility.
Compatibility is about finding a unique space in each other’s life. It is about using the relationship to form a partnership that believes together, dreams together, pursues together and conquers together. It is the spirit of unity.
When there is no compatibility, the relationship will lack stability and there will be confusion.
The real essence of a romantic relationship is to have someone you can share your life with; someone you can talk to about your dreams, frustrations and experiences. It is finding a person you can share your views on sports, politics, religion and the larger society with. A healthy relationship provides a platform for secure and whole-hearted sharing. At the end of the day, it is heart-warming to have someone who will listen to your deep thoughts and feelings.
A relationship swings on the hinges of trust. Without trust, your confidence level in the relationship will be low. Trust reduces confrontation in relationships and gives each other enough room to be themselves. If neither you nor your partner can be yourselves, then you have to check the trust meter. When there is high level of trust, there is also high level of security and self-esteem. This allows each partner to grow and become better. Any relationship that lacks trust stifles the growth and development of the partners and undermines their overall fulfillment in life.
Building a relationship is like tending a garden. You must prepare for it and actively work on it. It is an intentional endeavor.
By Terry Mante
Terry Mante is an author, motivational speaker and corporate trainer. Contact him on 024 982 7575 or 026 718 6420 for a speaking/training appointment. Send your mails to him via [email protected]