Think about this: How many times have you thought you’d found the perfect partner - only later to experience a bomb going off in the relationship (she cheated on me!) (he lied?!)
And perhaps you have found the perfect partner, but can you honestly say you’ve never struggled in the relationship?
From the time we’re children, through our teenage years, we daydream about the day we’ll meet our Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Matching our relationship dreams with our ideal person in real life isn’t easy. In fact, it’s challenging! And once we find someone we think we connect with, how do we really know if that person is THE ONE?
Truthfully told, there are no simple, easy, or magic solutions to finding your perfect match. However, beyond common likes or dislikes, there are some qualities you can look for in a relationship that will help you determine if you have or haven’t made a good choice.
Here are three qualities no relationship can survive without, which will ultimately strengthen your relationship in times of trouble.
Simply Spirit: A Personal Guide to Spiritual Clarity, One Insight at a Time by Joseph Eliezer
1. You Need To Be Seen, Heard and Respected
We all know that relationships are built on communication.
The need to be seen, heard and respected is something we feel from the minute we’re born and stays with us throughout our lifetime.
We’re constantly sending messages to others and ourselves, and we need to be with people who recognize we’re communicating and respond to us appropriately.
For example: text messaging is one form of communication. But if your message isn’t responded to in a time-appropriate or respectful way, the non-response or lousy reply is often viewed as a negative form of communication.
If you decide to sit next to someone and as you take steps towards them, h/she nods approvingly or smiles at you – obviously, these are positive, encouraging forms of communication.
There are several ways we communicate. We communicate verbally, use facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, vocal tonality, frequency of messages…all of these combined tell others about us and are expressions related to our needs or desires.
The experience of being seen, heard and respected in your relationship (and all relationships – for that matter) stems from your ability to communicate clearly, and your partner’s ability to recognize, absorb and respond meaningfully to the messages you’re giving. And if you’re able to reciprocate with your partner, chances are you have a good respectful relationship on your hands.
2. You Need to Give and Take
Many relationships fail because one person constantly makes sacrifices and compromises for the other and their partner does little of that in return.
Making compromises and sacrifices is essential in relationships because it shows your partner that you care.
But if you’re the one who is always giving and your partner always taking, over time, resentment will build. If the resentment grows, the feelings of love that existed between the two of you will result into one person feeling they’re being taken for granted… and when this and other anger-filled emotions are expressed, it sometimes takes the receiving partner by surprise….often leaving them to think – I thought you liked the way things were!!
Relationships require harmony to survive and thrive. In order for harmony to exist, both of you need to be in charge at times and compromise at others, alternately.
If there’s very little give and take in your relationship, start implementing small changes as a way to bring some balance to your situation.
If you’re the one always making compromises, try planning a night for you and your partner based on something YOU enjoy doing. If he/she is interested in your happiness and well-being, they’ll go along with it. Go to the ballet if that’s what pleases you, or to a play, movie, restaurant or community event. Activities like these enrich relationships and each other and often bring a hidden dimension to the relationship to the surface.
Remember, relationships are a two-way street. If your street only goes one way, at some point, the road will end.
3. Your Relationship Has to Support Your Needs for Personal Growth and Development
Some people see relationships as a destination and fervently believe if they find the right person – the rest of their lives will work out perfectly.
How many times have you heard the expression “and they lived happily ever after” and you believed that destiny was also meant for you… only to get upset and disappointed when life showed you it wasn’t going to be that easy.
Our lives aren’t meant to stop when we bring somebody new in – but we continue to grow.
We hope our lives will improve with the addition of another, but having another person to think about and plan with requires us to find a new sense of balance, one that integrates the other, but doesn’t demolish the life we had before they entered the picture.
In Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet, he described love in this way;
“Stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
One of the meanings that can be taken from Gibran’s words is that in order for a relationship to thrive, you need to support each other, but not in ways that are harmful to you.
Relationships aren’t meant to overwrite your personality and shape your life into something that isn’t natural for you.
Healthy relationships support you as you are and help you become even stronger as you grow into the person you most want to be; and as a couple.
If you want to thrive, you need help to get you there. If your relationship is right, it should serve as a vehicle to help you grow personally and spiritually.
Being heard, seen and respected, experiencing give and take, and having your personal space respected are hallmarks of relationship awesomeness. If the person you’re with demonstrates these qualities, it often helps to up and maintain levels of desire.
In my private practice, it’s not uncommon for me to hear stories from people who thought they found love at first sight, but realized later that their relationship was a disaster waiting to happen.
Having bad relationships doesn’t have to be your life story.
You have the power to get what you want, to build the life you want, and to create a strong support system to help you get there. Great relationships are vehicles to help you stay in the game both in the short and long run.
Joseph Eliezer is a Clinical Counsellor and Psychotherapist who helps people transform emotional, mental, and spiritual unease into confidence, clarity, prosperity, and vitality. He writes inspirational/motivational books including Simply Spirit. In addition, he also writes articles with the intention of generating warmth and connectedness in the minds and hearts of his readership and community at large. Vancover, B.C. JosephEliezer.com