Relationship 101 Part 1

Personal Opinion and Thoughts:

I asked my wife if she had a suggestion for a post subject and she suggested that I write about relationships. In a way this brought a smile to me since I have always been a wallflower, an introvert, and one that has had very few relationships over the years that I’ve been here. Basically I’m a loner who has had no problem being that way. So it would appear that I would or should be the last person to write on this subject. To break briefly, I need to state that what is written below is based on the idea that there is at least a beginning relationship, where the two are interested in moving deeper, with the hope this fledgling relationship will blossom into something more. This is stated with the caveat that if lust is the only reason the two of you are together, then nothing written here will apply.

A little history here might be helpful. At one time (when I was still in my late teens, and maybe early twenties) I figured that I would purchase a house and find a spouse somewhere in my mid to late twenties, and go the way of most. But, alas, this was not to be the case at all. In fact by my mid-twenties I had no prospects, had rarely dated, and when I did, never more than once, and hadn’t earned enough, with my employment, to purchase a house. So from this information, again it would seem that I’m the last one to write on this subject.

When I was 32 I met my future wife and we began dating. At that time if you looked back you could have counted the times I had dated on one hand and still had fingers left. Leading up to this time I began to read about relationships and about the opposite sex. A couple of the books that come to mind is: Women, a Book for Men, and to confirm that the information would be as accurate as such a book could be, I read the other: Men, a Book for Women. When reading the one about men, I found, overall that it was pretty accurate, so I could assume (never a good thing to assume) that the other had to be close. It helped me understand much that I hadn’t a clue about before (as well as other books I read).

During the time of our early dating I learned that she had no personal self-confidence. I wondered why, and what was going on, and was it something from her past that had left her in this condition? As time went on I learned that she was an abused woman who had been abandoned by her abusing husband leaving her with 2 daughters from that marriage. This abuse was both physical and mental, and as she said to me, “If I wanted a slave I could have left things as they were.”

So, in a sense I became her psychologist as we talked the hours away, and slowly worked through her problems and issues to find the real person underneath. It was the first time I had ever encountered this situation and learned a lot, from our talks, leading me to understand much about it (spousal abuse). In the end she and I married and as she said, “She married her psychologist.” However or how much of this is true I don’t know, but we’ve had a strong relationship for 32 years now.

Anyway, as time moved on it got me to thinking about relationships and the fact that as we grow up we get our ideas from the main relationship that is around us, which is our parents. Most parents do not sit down and discuss what makes a relationship work or not work, and I suspect that in reality most don’t know. Either the relationship works, or it doesn’t is just about as far as it goes. I also know that knowledge is power. And what I mean by this is this: Until we have either the experience or knowledge about something it is easy to not understand what is happening around us. Leaving us unable to predict the obvious, and leaving us wondering what transpired when whatever it was we were trying to accomplish failed. And we find once we have the needed knowledge (or experience) we then can look back and see those obvious errors and mistakes.

So with this in mind I began to think about relationships and how they work. The problem with this is all relationships are complicated. There’s a lot that has to be factored in and understood. But, I thought, somewhere at the beginning of this there has to be something simple, something that is the foundation of all relationships, some point where it all builds from. And if any part of this foundation is broken, then whether it is immediate or happens later, the failure could be traced back to the breaking of this foundation. After all, a building will not remain standing once the foundation is compromised.

As I continued to think about it I considered the fire triangle as my example. The fire triangle consists of three sides (duh), each side labeled with fuel, oxygen, and heat. (Enough heat to cause ignition.) Break any side of this triangle and you no longer have fire. So could there be something similar that applies to relationships? Something that if broken would cause the relationship to collapse like the fire triangle? It was a good question, and when one watches a fire burn out of control it doesn’t appear that something so simple as that fire triangle is its foundation and that by breaking (or removing) one side would extinguish the same fire. Yet, when a fire is extinguished it is exactly what is happening. Remove the fuel and you have no fire, remove the air (oxygen) and you have no fire, remove the heat and you have no fire – just that simple.

I began to wonder if I could create a triangle that would be the foundation of relationships, and if any one side (like in the fire triangle) is removed would it be enough to lead to the failure of a relationship? Good question, and being the observer that I am I began to watch and think about this. There were things I continued to hear over and over again, and eventually I could see where these attributes were important, critically important to the health and longevity of a relationship, and leading me to the creation of my relationship triangle. This is what I consider the foundation of any and all relationships dealing with a male and female in marriage.

I’m sure that there are other ideas out there, but when I reveal this I want you to really think about it. And yes, like I stated at the beginning of this post, relationships are complicated. And part of the reason is because of the difference in the sexes, but it can also be attributed to the different environments that we all grew up in, the nature of emotions, the inexact nature of language, and even the way each and every one of us think. All of this and so much more factor into what becomes a strong and lifelong relationship.

When I reveal this, I’ll explain my reasoning behind this. And again, understand that this is the foundation, the place where everything inside of the relationship builds from, and when broken ends from, and like that fire triangle when together remains strong, but when broken will disappear and end. The three sides are: TRUST, COMMUNICATION, and INTIMACY. Break any side of this triangle and eventually the relationship ends – and it’s just that simple.

The first two almost immediately explains themselves, but it is easy to misinterpret that last one thinking only of the physical side. But you must remember that there’s so much more to intimacy than just sex. And again when you think about it, all three work in tandem to make that relationship remain alive and strong. Again, break any side of this triangle and the relationship will probably end. It may not be at that very moment when it happens, but unless changes are made it is over.

TRUST: This is probably the most critical of the three, and the most difficult to recover if broken. Again this side applies to everything inside a relationship, and I mean everything. It’s part of that comfort level that we feel, part of feeling safe, part of our belief in our partner, all of this is based on trust. And if broken, probably the most difficult to get back or recover.

COMMUNICATION: Ah yes, stop talking and listening (especially listening), and you’re done. This is something that must be done every day, and continued throughout your relationship. Become lazy, become one who doesn’t listen, or willing to discuss things, work out the issues and problems, then you’ve given up and as a result you no longer have a relationship. What you have are two people who have become strangers who happen to be in the same house, acting at being a couple, acting as if they are in a strong relationship, and that’s all. This must always be a two-way discussion with understanding on both sides, otherwise you are just going through the motions and this is as good as not communicating at all. (To be honest most of us have seen this type of relationship where it is only words passing between the couple and it ‘s obvious there’s no meaning to those words at all.)

INTIMACY: That knowing look across the room, that time spent on the couch close to each other and enjoying the moment, that time being physical, and yes especially that time afterwards where you talk or should be talking. All of this and so much more is the intimacy I’m speaking about here. It’s part of that comfort level, part of that anticipation because you know each other so well. It’s part of those times where you complete each other’s thoughts and sentences, all these things are a result of those years of intimacy of the closeness only a strong and healthy relationship can create. It affects the couple on all levels; spiritual, mental, and physical. (And if you don’t have it then maybe it’s time to go back and find out why.)

Understand that through the years each one of the three sides will hold different importance, different strengths, but break any of them, any of the three sides at all, and your relationship is in trouble. And in all cases recovering those broken sides can be almost impossible, and if recovered then broken a second time will most likely end the relationship. With no chance at all for understanding and forgiveness, it’s really over, and it is probably time to move on. (Remember this; if one moves on there is a greater chance of repeating the same mistakes in a second relationship, with it ending in failure also. We seem to follow what we’ve done in the past without analyzing the reasons for our past failures.)

It’s easy to dismiss this triangle as too easy. Since any of us who are either in a relationship, have left one, or is anticipating one, believe there has to be more to it. And yes there is. Yet when one views that newly completed building, the highrise, skyscraper, or home, one doesn’t necessarily consider the foundation as the most important part of the building. It is probably the most simple part yet, if done wrong what is built upon it will fail before its time. And as in the fire triangle and now this relationship triangle so much more can come of it, and at the same time simply breaking one of the sides ends it.

For those who are in a relationship at this moment, where does the health of it sit? Is your relationship triangle strong, or has one of the sides been fractured? And if so, are you willing to fix it? It is something only you and the other in the relationship can answer.

* * *

Next week we move on to part 2, and a continuation of this discussion on relationships. Remember all of us are guilty of failing to recognize failures within our personal relationships. We all have our own personal blinders, and because of this and our personal history we can miss the obvious. Have a great week, and may you return next week for the final post, for now, on relationships. God Bless! (fdbrant)

 

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Published in: on January 3, 2015 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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