Relationships: The Four Pillars of a Successful One
As people continue to live life, they form relationships with other people, including family members and co-workers; and also close friends who become close as if they are considered family.
Relationships – the way in which two or more people are connected, by blood, by marriage, by work, by intimacy, by interests, or by friendship – require a lot of work, by all the people included. But relationships give meaning to life; they are a result of people needing each other for various reasons: for emotional support, psychological well-being, love, and affection, etc. But not all relationships are good relationships.
In good relationships, people are happy, healthy and carefree. People in successful relationships are peaceful and get along, encourage each other and are there for one another. But good relationships don’t just happen. They are constructed – even if over time – by four basic pillars. They are 1) communication, 2) commonalities, 3) respect and 4) trust.
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The first pillar holding up a good, healthy relationship is verbal communication. All relationships depend on it. Everyone has needs and concerns – and people in good relationships lessen those burdens and problems. Relationships are based on love, and when it comes down to it, love is something that is communicated among people. Information, such as one’s needs, concerns, and frustrations, is transmitted through people, mostly through verbal communication. This includes the successful conveying or sharing of ideas, feelings, expectations, too, among people in relationships.
Relationships are based on love, and when it comes down to it, love is something that is communicated among people. Information, such as one’s needs, concerns, and frustrations, is transmitted through people, mostly through verbal communication. This includes the successful conveying or sharing of ideas, feelings, expectations, too, among people in relationships.
The second pillar of a great relationship is the people involved having similar objectives. A family co-exists peacefully when each family member wants peace and happiness. Two young people who envision a future together both want the same thing; therefore their relationship is based on, among other things, their goal to live together throughout life on a romantic and intimate basis.
Similarities tend to bring together seemingly different people. When people can work together toward a common goal, whatever it may be, they can be looked at as essentially being part of a relationship – because they were brought together, and connected, by a common task.
Respect and trust, the last two pillars of a good relationship, go hand in hand. People have good relationships with people they respect and trust. Respect, in this case, indicates to a deep admiration for another person elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievement. Many relationships are formed out of respect, at least in non-familial situations. The same goes for trust, the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone, or the absence of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation.
In conclusion, a good relationship isn’t simply supported by just one thing, but supported by a number of things. A good relationship where two or more people are connected through something, whether blood, marriage or mutual affection, needs a steady dose of communication, similar objectives, respect, and trust – the four pillars for any successful relationship.
When it comes to relationships among people, the key is maximizing those moments of selflessness and putting the focus on that other person or group of people. This especially pertains to ones with family members and spouses – or would-be spouses. But these relationships would also crumble to the ground without the other three pillars – without trust and respect and commonalities shared and practiced among the people comprising these relationships.
Once again, relationships require constant work and focus and patience – but it’s supposed to be worth it: successful, happy and healthy relationships equate to a high quality of life. Research indicates that people need other people in order to live long, happy and healthy lives, which requires happy and healthy relationships among people. It’s a simple notion, really. But it works – and has always worked.
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I would like to write about what makes a successful marriage, which is unfortunate, as I don't know the answer. All I know is what a working marriage looks like close up, which is a different thing. The first thing to say about "happy marriages" is that I doubt there are many of them. Very roughly, half of all marriages end in divorce.
I suspect that of those who stay together, half are hanging on because of children, money, or fear of loneliness. Some are truly and consistently happy, out of a fortunate combination of circumstance, rather than any particular brand of love or tactic. Most of the remaining marriages, I think, are not about happiness or unhappiness, but accommodation and negotiation. And I say that as half of a married couple in which both of us have probably made one another both happy and unhappy, probably in roughly equal measure. We are very different people, but then all people are very different people. And therein lies the central problem of marriage, which asks you to spend close company with one person for years on end.
My wife and I both have a very strong sense of individuality, and I like that, but it means we have our fair share of fireworks. Anyone who does not have a lot of disagreements in a marriage is probably repressing a lot of stuff, which is liable to explode sooner or later.
I have already had one marriage that did not work out (I hesitate to call it a failed marriage because it succeeded for a fair while) and this one has already lasted a lot longer, which I take as a good sign. We have the basics – we love each other – but that is just the beginning. To me, there are three keys to marriage and they are all very difficult to forge.
The first is communication, which I have written about here before and which I don't intend to go into again. Suffice to say that good communication requires practice, goodwill, determination and a considerable amount of inborn talent.
The second is respect, which in many ways is more important than love. Love comes and goes, but respect endures, and provides the space for love to flow after the ebb, which is bound to come in all long marriages sooner or later.
The third is trust. And this is the hardest of all, because if you have ever been let down – and we all have – reconstructing the trust is difficult. This isn't about infidelity, but many small matters – broken promises, bad intentions, frustrated hopes.
You have to trust, even though you have no guarantee you won't be let down, and then, if you are let down, trust again, and then again. You must keep doing this as long as you are humanly able to, and your marriage will either stand or fall on it. This requires what I call the power of "forgettory" as opposed to memory. You need to forget and forget again about any perceived hurts and mistreatment. Dragging the weight of the past behind you will drag you down in the end.
But you will never, can never, "get there", because there is nowhere to get to. A marriage is a moving process, a living thing, and if it stops being fed with these existential nutrients, it will finally expire. Complacency and laziness is what kills marriage, far more than lack of love, and that is why it is often described as hard work. But no work is ultimately more rewarding.
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