Each of us has our ideas of what a meaningful relationship is.
Many of us expect the thrill, passion, and devotion of our early dating days to endure a lifetime.
But in today's busy and stressful world, romantic relationships can conflict with the realities of stressful jobs, money problems, kids, and housework.
What social media and movies don't tell us is that loving, long-lasting relationships take a lot of work, sacrifice, and a heck of a lot of patience!
What Makes a Relationship Successful?
Successful relationships also have a solid base of shared values, trust, and love.
Most people would include some or all of the following on their lists:
· Common goals
· Being mutually loving and supportive
· Having the same values
· Accepting each other’s faults and limitations
· Shared interests
· A willingness to compromise
The Common Denominator
According to experts, people who have long-lasting, fulfilling relationships have traits in common with one another like openness, honesty, forgivingness, kindness, and outstanding communication and conflict resolution abilities. And they agree that mutual respect is the most important thing that determines whether a relationship will last or not.
The Path to Failing
John Gottman, a relationship researcher, found that while all emotions play a role in whether a relationship works or not, defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt are the ones that are most likely to lead to a breakup. And contempt is the worst of all.
Contempt is when someone shows dislike, disdain, or scorn for someone else.
Contempt comes from anger, and it is often used as a weapon in fights for power and supremacy. Most of the time, contempt is shown through insults meant to make someone feel bad about themselves.
When contempt starts to show up in a relationship, it's probably over.
A Formula To Succeed
It’s up to both partners to create their destinies.
Gottman says that if you want a healthy, meaningful relationship, you should put five times as much energy into positive regard as negative reactions. This is hard to do because no one is perfect, and even a loving partner sometimes says things that hurt, even if they don't mean to.
The important thing is to try not to react badly, especially not with contempt.
The only thing we can control in a relationship is how we feel.
But one more thing that makes a relationship work: finding a good balance between giving and getting in terms of love, support, affection, and time.
If both people in a relationship want to make the other's life more interesting, there's a good chance that will happen.
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