A successful relationships can be tricky, that is the word I choose as many have had difficulty in their relationships from the inception of time. We are certainly not perfect individuals so it will be impossible for us to experience a perfect relationship, but what we can have is a successful one and there are some things we must observe for this to be possible.
- Trust is the first and perhaps most important predictor of long-term relational success. Without trust, none of the other keys that follow will have much meaning. Ask yourself the following questions: In general, is your partner reliable and dependable? Can you count on your partner as the “rock” in your life? What about you for your partner?
For some, trust is a complicated matter. Some people trust blindly, while others have trust issues. Evaluate your partner’s trustworthiness based not upon unproven promises or wishful thinking, but on a strong overall record of dependability.
- Compatibility is another very important factor, so the categories to take into consideration are Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Shared Activities. What is important is how do you know for sure if you are compatible with the other person? Compatibility can be so relative and a perception as one person can think their partner is compatible with them and the other person doesn’t feel that way, so it is best to ask your partner what are the must have, could have and what is not important, once they are honest with you and you match both, then you will have something to work with in the area of compatibility.
What type of person are you when you are around your partner? This is important as you can assess that based on your friendship with others, once you are in position to assess your feelings you can then decide if this is a reaction or feeling that brings out the best in you and then decide to push forward with the choicer personality.
Just as a friend can elicit a particular side of you, so does your partner. Consider the following questions: Does my better self-show up when I’m with my partner? Does my worse self-show up when I’m with my partner? Perhaps it’s a combination of both? If so, what situations tend to bring out a particular side of me? Fundamentally, do I like myself in this relationship?
Your honest answers to these questions will decide the happiness or failure of your relationship.
- When your partner speaks to you how does it makes you feel? Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couple studies, concluded after over twenty years of research that the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship. If in conversation your partner puts you down, chances are you are heading for a fall, but if they continue to build you up after many years of being together, chances are you both can make it.
- How do you deal with conflict? Couples with poor conflict resolution skills typically engage in Fight, Flight, or Freeze behaviors. They fight and stay mad, sometimes holding grudges for years. They flight and avoid important issues by sweeping them under the rug. Or, after endless arguments with no resolution in sight, they freeze emotionally and shut down. Someone who freezes in a relationship typically goes through the motions on the outside, but has stopped caring on the inside.
A successful relationship has the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time. Most importantly, successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties. Like fine wine, their relationship improves with age and gets better over time.
- How do you handle external issues? Successful couples when faced with something external will stand together whether wrong or right and then take it up with each other when they are alone in their inner circle. Consider these questions: Do external adversity and crisis bring you and your partner closer together, or pull you farther apart? In difficult life circumstances, do you and your partner act like adults or children? Can you and your partner share the bad times, or only enjoy the good times? As Adler and Proctor II state, “Companions who have endured physical challenges together… form a bond that can last a lifetime.”
- How do you both deal with Finances? This can be tricky, that word again, however it is important in how you both approach dealing with finances as this is the number one reason why couples are seeking counselling. It is important to observe the persons pattern so that both can apply the correct method in how finances are handled.
Differences in financial values often appear early in a relationship. For example, who pays for the first date? What about the second date? And the third? Is your partner happy when you give a thoughtful but non-monetary birthday gift, or will he or she feel disappointed because you didn’t purchase something? Additional questions to consider include: Is your partner generally happy with what he or she owns, or is there a constant, insatiable desire to always acquire more?
A successful Relationship
Whether you are dating, whether you are in a successful relationship or married, these questions must be taken into consideration for you to have a relationship that works. Sometimes I wonder about couples who have survived through time when there was no internet, just a village out in the woods and relationships survived, it is in simplicity that mansions were built, patience and taking it one day at a time. A successful relationship can be a beautiful thing… I am inspired!