What Makes a Good Relationship?

By August 2, 2011 January 16th, 2016 Healthy Living, Inspiration, Living, Spirituality

Last updated on January 16th, 2016 at 05:00 pm

Relationships/medium_454606345Interesting how a specific topic seems to monopolize our consciousness at any given point in time. For the last little while, the subject du jour has been relationships. It seems that everywhere I go, every conversation I choose to engage in, the relationship issue shows up as the central theme.

If I thought monogamy was a hot topic, it seems relationships are a crackling wildfire. Generally, from feedback I’ve been getting, seems good relationships are far and few between. And, the longer people have been together, the more challenging it appears it is to stay together. How very sad to me.

In a recent female-to-female conversation, (with a somewhat disheartened woman in a 30-year marriage whose spouse’s hip pain had put out his fire), I shared that I was finally ready to be in a great relationship. She smiled and said she admired my optimism, but our conversation made me quickly realize that I’d be wise to take off my rose-coloured glasses and take stock of what’s going on out in the real world. If a good relationship was almost impossible, a great one, although an admirable pursuit, may not be attainable. I’m determined to keep hope alive though.

Flying  Solo

I admit I’ve been on my own, relationship-less, for many years. My principal relationship has been with myself for all those years. The obvious reason was for my own physical healing, (most thought I would not be here to even tell my story). I was so far down that frankly, the only way was up. It was, even more importantly, about my personal spiritual growth.

Relationship Couple_Spiritual ValuesThis concept of personal spiritual growth isn’t big news to anyone anymore. It is part of our human challenge and condition. Anyone who ever watched Oprah, might agree that she offered a great service by bringing these kinds of topics to the everyday consciousness. I believe it is an ongoing conversation that needs to happen for our human species to keep evolving. I’m sure this means different things, to different people, but I don’t think we can easily ignore it anymore.

My personal belief is that all of us are here to experience and learn through relationships. These opportunities come to us all the time. With parents, children, friends, business associates and even the casual stranger we meet and connect with. Every interaction with another, offers us a chance to be in relationship.

Personal and Intimate Relationships

For me, I’m most curious about the one-on-one personal and intimate relationship. I remember many years ago, reading Gary Zukav define the concept of a “spiritual partnership”. In his incredible 1989 book Seat of the Soul he says, “A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.” I know this is what I want, but wonder where do I find the other who is ready for the same thing?

Zukav goes on to brilliantly explain his four “c’s” or guidelines for a spiritual partnership. Briefly the guidelines are: commitment, courage, compassion and conscious communication and action. It is well worth reading their full explanations here. I learned much from his wise words and know these are what I see as keys to putting the “great” in a relationship.

I’ve actually heard that people make “lists” of the things they are looking for in their ideal partner and stick by that list until they’ve ticked off all the boxes. This seems like somewhat of a futile exercise to me. Personally I’m more about another person’s energy, than a list of must-haves.Young Children in Relationship_boy trying to kiss the girl

Relationship Ready

I’ve also discovered many people say they are ready for a relationship, but in actuality may not really be ready. I smiled when I received Hugh MacLeod’s Gaping Void daily email. Subject line: Forever. Graphic and Message: It took forever before I was ready… to find you. The piece went on to say:

And as we all know, Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t just floating out there in the ether like some abstract, platonic ideal. You too have to be ready. You don’t get the person of your dreams ’till you’re ready to be the person of their dreams first. The giving precedes the getting, always. It simply has to.”

We do all know this, right?

Interesting, Intelligent, Creative & Spiritual Men Wanted

I’ve been asking for interesting, intelligent, creative, and spiritual men to come into my life, and a few have bravely shown up. Age doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Not to me anyways. I know that in our youth-obsessed culture, if there is to be depth and meaning, it has to be about something more than just the external, the physical.

The fact that 96 per cent of all adults say they would change something about their appearance if they could, led philosopher Jonathan Zap to say, “Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever to be visited upon mankind”.

My own observations would lead me to agree. A culture that has lost it’s ability to age gracefully, looking for the fountain of youth, hoping to find it using fillers, injections, implants, surgeries and more. It’s not even that hard to tell who is keeping it real anymore.

Somehow, it is no longer okay to get older and look it too. This isn’t only a women’s issue, as men are playing catch up in this arena as well. There are lots of statistics, if one cares to check out who’s doing what to themselves in the name of staying young. Perhaps I might need to explore this more fully in another piece.Couple in Relationship Walking in the Snow

Successful Relationships

In regards to the ever-changing way we do relationships, it is sad to see that current statistics show that 50 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. But, the actual statistical breakdown I found, shows even more startling results. The range of results indicates that divorce rates might be anywhere from 50 per cent of first marriages, 67 per cent of second, and 74 per cent of third, depending on the source. The odds seem to clearly be stacked against the possibility of successful marriage.

Enough to make me re-examine how a future relationship might look to me. As one of my men friends recently said to me, “Marriage is a contract two people try to make work”. And I tend to agree. Sometimes for all the wrong reasons if the statistics are correct, and with very discouraging results.

Many years ago Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changin'”. And they are. Many of the institutions we have clung to for so long, including the traditional concept of marriage, are changing. And quickly. I feel grateful that I’m at a place in my life where I have total freedom and can take responsibility for every relationship I choose to be in.Lesbian Couple Marriage Relationship Celebration

Happily Ever After

I admit I’m still the little girl who believes in happily ever after, but I’m aware how that must start with happiness from within instead of looking for something out there to “complete me”. (Movie reference probably very obvious here.)

Fairy Tale Relationship_Price and PrincessIf I can take anything from the brilliance of Marianne Williamson’s lecture “Relationships and Spiritual Adulthood”, it relates to this one line: “It is our job to affirm a person.” She explains, “It’s not our job to change a person. It is our job to celebrate a person. It’s not our job to imprison a person. It is our job to free a person.”

I see a bright and hope-filled future in this. The more I do my own spiritual work, I can only draw closer those who are doing theirs as well. Somehow in my own seeking, I continue to trust I will be found.

See and Be Seen

We all deserve to be seen and loved for who we are, not a media ideal we will never attain. It is our individual responsibility to continue to explore and reveal who we are both as individuals and as a species. This will be the key to attracting the other who themselves is doing the very same work. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love”. Sound too simple? We all deserve to give and receive love. In many ways I believe it is that simple if we allow it to be.

So, let me ask you, what have you found makes a good relationship? Okay, dare I take this up a notch… What makes a great relationship?

postscript 2016: All the stats are current and updated and relationships still appear to be as challenging as they were when I originally wrote this piece in 2011.

Beverley Golden

About Beverley Golden

Beverley Golden is a writer, storyteller, peacenik and health & vitality consultant, who loves testing unconventional ways to shift paradigms in the playing fields of health and wellness, storytelling and creativity as a path to world peace. Her passion is turning the โ€œimpossibleโ€ into the possible, using her own experiences with a lifetime of health issues, to inspire and support others to live their life to the fullest.

You're invited to a Complimentary Health Consultation, starting with the True Health Assessment that offers a customized personalized snapshot of how healthy you are in the areas of lifestyle, heredity and nutrition. Contact me to get started!

56 Comments

  • Hi Beverley,
    I love the relationship discussions! What makes a great telationship? There are several characteristics that define a great relationship, however a few stick out. Being a good partner, communication and selflessness. While having good communication and being selfless would make a good partner; I selected partnership because I have observed and experienced the partnership piece get lost in the relationship. People forget that they play on the same team as their significant other. Don’t talk bad about your partner to others, no put downs and be supportive. I can go on and on but those are some of the characteristics that stick out to me.
    Great post!
    Sharise Hemby recently posted…Test postMy Profile

    • Thanks for making that really important distinction when it comes to relationships, Sharise. I love the idea of a partnership too; when one person supports the other and the other feels that support. Communication is a big key for me and requires two people to be in the communication. Often it is a one-sided conversation and yet that isn’t really communication at all.

      Being that you are in a very new marriage, I’m happy this topic and this conversation resonated so strongly with you. I really appreciate hearing all the perspectives and seeing how on track so many people are when it comes to creating good relationships.

  • I’m glad you recycled (upcycled?) this post for this month of love. I’m one who’s in a third marriage, but it’s the best of the three so far and we’re about to celebrate our 10th anniversary on the 11th. So I’m hoping we defy the odds (it’s his first marriage) and third time’s the charm!

    I think communication and honesty are key aspects of good and even great marriages, as well as unconditional love (as much as we humans can manage to do that!)
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…Transform Your Mess Into Your Message – February 6 InspirationMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing that you’ve had a lot of relationship experience in your life, Karen! Sounds like this third one is a charm and that all you learned from previous relationships, has served you well. Congrats on celebrating your 10th anniversary too. Love that it is in the month of February, under the sign of Aquarius.

      I agree with you that communication and honesty are absolute musts for all great relationships. Unconditional love is something we all strive to live, however, as you mention, it can be a challenge for us humans. Appreciate your comments and happy I upcycled this post too!

  • Really enjoyed your post this week Beverley ๐Ÿ™‚

    To answer your question…”What makes a great relationship?”

    First of all, I want to clarify that I am in no spot to say what does only what I have personally experienced.

    For me, a good relationship is when 2 people are in tune with each other, both mentally and physically.

    Over the years I have had a few, and 2 failed marriages…..but I did learn a lot from both of them not just about why they did not work, but more about myself and what it is that I did or did not do that caused the breakups. It was me (in both divorces) that ended the marriages…as I was not happy with me or my relationship. So I had to get out and do what I “needed” to do and now looking back, I know that it was the right thing for me to do at the time, and I am a much better person for having gone through that.

    Today, I am happy to say that I am in a long term relationship (going on 10 years) and I have grown SO much being in it. Do not get me wrong, we have had our ups and downs, but we have managed to get through the “tough” times and come out the other side much better for each other and ourselves (me more so)

    I have learned to face ME which is not always an easy thing to do and for that I am truly grateful as I am happy at this point in my life and I know it will only get better!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Beverley ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to really “think” about my own relationships in the past and had to dig “deep” to realize that for all of the relationships that I have gone through in my past, it was all worth it and I am a much stronger woman for it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Awesome share!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…Do You Know How To Write Content With Substance?My Profile

    • Thanks so much for candidly sharing about your own “relationship” experiences Joan! Sounds like relationships have truly been a very key learning ground for you. I also believe that all relationships are mirrors back to us of ourselves and that if we truly stay open, we stand to gain much knowledge and wisdom from them.

      Being happy with yourself both in and out of relationship sounds like one of the biggest lessons of all for you. Love how you say you faced YOU and each relationship has made you more aware of who you are. Happy to hear you are now happy and in a relationship with a strong foundation too. That is always wonderful and encouraging to hear!And I couldn’t agree with you more when you say a good relationship is when two people are in tune with each other on all levels…physical, emotional and even spiritually. May your current relationship continue to flourish and grow. So happy this piece struck a chord with you too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Des and I celebrated 27 years together last November, we are not married, although most people think we are. This is a relationship of soul partnership, equality, partnership and more- i feel so blessed i met my soulmate and we have had many learning and growing experience in that time.
    I feel I am free to be me great postxxoo
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…My 3 Words for 2016My Profile

    • I love hearing that you are in a soul partnership Suzie! Beautiful and even more so that you have grown through 27 years together. That’s wonderful. Being free to be who you are, is truly a great gift in an relationship or partnership. Glad you enjoyed this post too! xo

  • Perfect timing for the month of love, that is for sure. And as I was reading I was thinking of how times have changed, other than the obvious types of relationships but that people walk away from relationships after so many years. Now, I for one am one of them, but it was because I woke up and I became confident and that I deserved to be happy. I tried having conversations with my then husband to make it work, he had checked out. And I thought, we never really had one. It was always us before kids, then after kids it was me, and the girls… for everything and everywhere, every occasion. I, like you was hopeless, then hopeful… and when I stopped looking I found my man. He/we aren’t perfect, but he DOES so many of the things that I had lost hope in.. so keep your hope, it IS there Bev. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Kristen Wilson recently posted…This is Why We Blog – Check your Landing PagesMy Profile

    • Waking up and seeing that your relationship is not based on a solid healthy foundation, is the perfect reason to leave, Kristen. Congrats on having the courage to do that…for you and for your daughters. My former husband was also challenging to talk to, as he had a hot temper and there was no communication. We are better now as friends then we were when we were married. I am so happy you were found by your current partner, as it sounds like you were not only open, but ready once you valued yourself more and knew what you would be able to bring to a relationship. I think many women are looking for the happily-ever-after, and sorrily, that leads to disappointment and broken relationships. Thanks for sharing some of your story and for offering me hope that it is always possible! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • My primary relationship also has been with myself since my last divorce. The only time I miss having someone in my life is when I get sick and have no one to pamper me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Despite that, I’m not looking. I’m not even sure I’m open to an intimate relationship. Part of that is due to age — I’ve been on my own for so long, I don’t know if I could tolerate having someone in my household full time. I realize there are plenty of great relationships where partners have separate households, and maybe that would work for me, too. Sadly, the dating pool in the Keys is pretty shallow!

    • My primary relationship is also with myself Jackie and I can’t imagine “living” with a partner now either. I do miss having someone who really gets me to do things with…including traveling or something as simple as going to a movie with. I like women and have lots of friends. I love being with men and have lots of those friends too. And yes, there are all kinds of relationships these days. I think I could do the one where the other person goes home and doesn’t live with me. Sorry to hear the dating pool is pretty limited where you are…I would imagine for many of us, regardless of where we live, the older we get, the fewer “good men” there are. I definitely do not want a man who needs someone to look after him, and sounds like you don’t either. All I can offer is to stay open and when least expected…you never know who will show up in your life!

  • Hi Beverley, This is such a beautiful, thoughtful post. Relationships are the playground where we learn about ourselves. As a wise woman once said, relationships are where two rough stones rub each other smooth. I’ve found it to be true. The other person is a reflection of ourselves, and it provides a unique opportunity to look into our own ‘rough spots.’ But, as you say, we are in relationship with ourselves, and with everyone around us, so there is always opportunity for growth. As far as your point about making lists – as long as they are not totally superficial, I think they can be a helpful exercise in defining what is truly important to you as an individual. Best wishes, Reba

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Reba and for adding to the conversation about relationships. I absolutely agree that relationships are the mirrors in our lives that help us to grow and learn more about ourselves. That can be any type of relationship as well, not just a committed intimate one. I love the idea that relationships are where two rough stones rub each other smooth. A beautiful image and it really resonates with me. All people are a reflection back to us, of ourselves. Thanks for the perspective on making a “list” as well, as I think we all have some things that are musts (like for me non-smoker and little to no drinking, plus a sense of humour), so like you said, as long as it is value based and not superficial, they can offer insight and help. Appreciate your thoughtful comment!

  • Delia says:

    There’s no magic formula to the best relationship, I believe. Otherwise, everyone would have a perfect one and we wouldn’t be here discussing it, haha!

    Nothing works perfectly for everyone, so you have to adapt and be flexible. What helps though: don’t sweat the small stuff and treat your loved one with the same respect as you’d do with a stranger. People often take their partner for granted, and that’s never a good thing.
    Delia recently posted…Top 10 Websites with Free Images for Your Blog and Social Media PostsMy Profile

    • There is no magic formula, I agree Delia. There are some guiding principles which it seems most people see as important for a solid relationship foundation. I like your attitude of not sweating the small stuff and treating your partner with the same respect as you would a stranger. Often those closest to us, take the brunt of our less than pleasant side. Thanks for sharing your views too!

  • This is a doozy… let’s see, Joe and I are both on our third relationship. Our first two marriages ended the same way and when we hooked up, the coincidences were just too strange to pass up. We started working together 3 years into our relationship and 21 years later, we’re still working together. My gratitude that I wrote this morning was this “I am so grateful to work from home with my husband and still want to spend time with him after work is done.

    What works for us is patience..it’s ok to have a fight. Don’t go to bed angry though. It’s ok to have different hobbies, otherwise things would be boring. The biggy.. have a sense of humour ๐Ÿ™‚
    Gisele Grenier recently posted…Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Chasing the FeelingMy Profile

    • It sounds like you and Joe have really learned a lot from your first two marriages and have been able to bring the wisdom and the best of each other into this long lasting one. Congrats on that! Love your entry in your gratitude journal today. That is quite a feat, as my former husband and I were on the road together in the music business and I honestly believe that the 24/7 proximity, was too stifling for me. That’s only one of the reasons, however, I always admire people who can work and live together and still love being with each other. You have a very lovely philosophy too. Simple things like not going to bed angry and having a sense of humour! Makes a lot of sense to me too! ๐Ÿ™‚ May you celebrate many more wonderful years together.

  • I do believe it’s possible to find the right person and have a lasting relationship, but everything leading up to it, is what allows you to accomplish that. My first marriage was terrible. I married at a time when my own self worth was low and not surprisingly ended up in an abusive relationship. Luckily I had enough self worth to get myself and my 2 daughters out of there. The next 5 years were spent alone, or rather not in a relationship. All my time was devoted to my girls and my own personal growth. I accomplished a lot during those next 5 years. I was happy, liked myself, and also respected myself. I did remarry and am still with him; we just celebrated 17 years a couple of months ago. But, I won’t lie, there were some rocky years. We worked our way through those years and came out the other side stronger and even more committed.

    Does he drives me crazy at times? yes… I think everyone needs to know, no matter how much you love some one, there are going to be times that you want a little space. This doesn’t mean you don’t love him or her it’s just life. We’re all complicated beings growing continually throughout our lives and sometimes we won’t be growing in the same direction; but it does come back around.
    Lisa Swanson recently posted…How To Transition to a Vegan Diet with EaseMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your relationship experiences, Lisa. I love your last observation..”sometimes we won’t be growing in the same direction” and how in your own situation, it did come back around. In my relationship, I did keep “trying” to keep it together and yet I was growing in a very different and threatening direction to him, and ultimately it was better for us both to part and remain friends. Which we have been successful at doing. I am amazed at people who marry their high school sweethearts and are able to grow individually and in the relationship, as I believe when we are younger, we still are looking for the fairy tale romance. Like you said, there will be up and down times and that is part of all relationships no matter how much you love each other. Knowing this makes it a little bit easier to make it through the rough patches, which it sounds like everyone experiences from time to time. Congrats on having your current relationship last 17 years too!

  • I suspect I’m the only real single lady to be commenting on this post Beverley – never been married and happily enjoying my Singledom (for now at least ๐Ÿ™‚ )but I can offer my two cents. What I’ve learned and observed about the best relationships is a foundation of mutual respect and acknowledging the individuality of each person in the relationship. This provides a space for both people to develop and grow while maturing together and bringing out the best in themselves. Thanks for making me stop to reflect.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…9 reasons LinkedIn invitations are immediately rejectedMy Profile

    • That is a wonderful observation you offer, Vatsala. In re-looking at this piece and researching it when I wrote it, it seemed that it has become “easy” for people to walk away, when in fact a good relationship requires nurturing and attention, which many don’t want to invest. I agree with you about mutual respect and acknowledging each others individuality. This seems to become more understood as people gain experience and wisdom though. Young people rarely want to get this. Glad you are enjoying your Singledom for now and I believe we never know what is coming towards us and staying open to it, often yields the most wonderful surprises.

  • I”m always reminded that there is someone for us to share part if not all of our life experience with. A good friend had been divorced for almost forty years. And, then one day he was there. She had the greatest love of her life until the day she died. For her, it was worth the wait.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Misplaced Business PassionMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing that lovely story, Joyce! I also believe that a love like you described is possible at any time in our lives. Sometimes, like your friend experienced, it happens when least expected and become the love of our lives. That, is always worth the wait!

  • Karen says:

    Beverley, there is definitely hope for great relationships. I have been married to the man I met when I was 16, married at 22 and have been married 26 years this coming May. All I can say is it continues to get better and better. Why? We put each other first most of the time. We communicate. We love to spend time together. We respect each other and cherish each other. Marriage can be a beautiful thing when each party wants to work on it. The best thing I ever did was make sure I get up and give my husband a hug anytime he comes home or I come home. It is a way to reconnect when we are apart. Sometimes hard to do, but beautiful benefits.
    Karen recently posted…Things Saving My Life Right NowMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your beautiful formula for being in a great relationship, Karen. It sounds like both of you have been very present and willing to “work” on creating a relationship that has a strong foundation based on communication, respect and love hearing that you “cherish” each other too. You both sound like you are very sensitive to each others needs and I think that is a key that many couples somehow overlook. Thanks for the encouragement that a good/great relationship can happen…regardless of age!

  • Tamuria says:

    Hubby and I celebrate 31 years of marriage this month. (I have a post coming up next week on my best marriage tips). The truth is, it’s not always great but it often is. Expecting perfection all the time is buying into the fairy tale and not being prepared to put the work in – and it does take work. I agree that we are here to learn through relationships – all kinds. I hope you do that post on aging – would love to read it.
    Tamuria recently posted…HOW TO MAKE GODDESS OF GLEE FRIENDSHIP DOLLSMy Profile

    • I love that you added the part about expecting perfection is “buying into the fairy tale”, Tami, as I think that is what many people believe a relationship is going to stay like…even after the proverbial honeymoon is over. Good relationships do take work and in our modern-day world, it is easier to walk away, than to do the work it seems. Congrats on your 31 years together. And for admitting that it isn’t always great, but often it is. I think the Disney version of happily-ever-after might have done a disservice to many young girls. I know I bought into the idea of the fantasy and had a more challenging time with the reality in my marriage. I’ll revisit the post on again too…especially as my mother is approaching her 100th in March! Inspiration for sure.

  • Kelley says:

    This is a huge topic for me as a newlywed “woman of a certain age.” My partner is unexpected and unconventional – but he is also my spiritual fit.

    I believe one of the biggest problems these days is that most of us DO want that fairy tale but we tend to bend when we shouldn’t and become rigid over unimportant things. I even see this in my husband’s personality – recently, in frustration over a disagreement we were having, he muttered, “I don’t know why we ever married anyway!” Instead of responding with my knee-jerk reaction, I took a breath, centered myself, then replied (with a lot of sass, believe it), “you married me because I’m perfect for you and you’re a very smart man. Now let me know when you’re done being angry so I can tell you how I feel and we can move on already!”

    It took him a while to calm down but later we had a good laugh. Thing is, I’m tired of this new status quo and I refuse to be part of it. I’ll let you know how we fared 30 years from now!

    • Absolutely LOVE how you responded to your husband’s anger, Kelley! For me it really shows how mature and how centered you are. That takes practice and experience. Often when we are young, we are more reactive and our emotions get the best of us. I had that a lot with my former husband who was a hot-head and always unexpectedly. There was no talking and no “logical” way to be in communication. It was all rant and rave. It took it’s toll on my health in a big way.

      I think you are right, that so many people idealize the perfect partnership and when the reality sets in, the going gets tough. It is very easy to split up in our modern day culture. People don’t seem to want to be an equal partner in a relationship. I really appreciate your sharing your story…it shows that great relationships don’t just happen…they are a result of mutuality and respect.

  • Kim says:

    Find out your mates love language and fill up their tank.

  • I have found a good relationship, but it didn’t come early or easily. It was my younger years that were solo. I raised a daughter and created and ran a business during those years. In my mid thirties a health crisis changed my focus enough to enable me to start to become the person of my own dreams and so possibly of some one else’s, too. At 39, I married a man nine years younger than myself. The age difference bothered some folks in our lives, but I think that put us in a good place of knowing what we had, being grateful for it, and willing to take good care of it. Now as we approach our laters year, we both have a plan for continued growth, individually and together. We support and take delight in that for one another, and we hope for the best.
    Jane Gramlich recently posted…Self-Expression is Your Gift to the WorldMy Profile

    • What a beautiful testament to what is possible in a strong partnership, Jane. Thanks so much for sharing it. Sometimes it takes us continuing to do our work, before we are ready to be the person of someone else’s dreams. I also believe we each have a specific destiny and sometimes being in a committed relationship is just not part of the long term plan. My former husband was 7 years older than me and yet, I also could see how being with someone younger would work well for me now because of my interests and my desire to stay current and be in the world. Its lovely to hear how supportive you still are of each other and how you are both committed to individual growth, which brings a newness into the relationship. Thanks for offering hope of the “relationship” possibility for me.

  • I used to think it’s better to be similar with same interests and my first husband & I were compatible that way, but I have to tell you, it is so much easier getting along with my opposite. Dispositions are different, interests too but the core that strengths the relationship is respect and communication.

    • I’ve heard theories that when we are young, we are better to be with someone opposite us, as it is preferable for procreation…it expands the gene pool for offspring. My former husband and I were really opposite in every way and I think at this point, I would love to be with some who is more similar. It is interesting to hear your experience, knowing that your second marriage also came later in life, Roslyn. Thanks for sharing that!

  • I agree with your comment, “Iโ€™m more about another personโ€™s energy, than a list of must-haves.” I too feel that it is more about the energy in a relationship and how one feels in the relationship rather than an ideal scenario. No one is perfect so expecting that perfection will just prolong one’s happiness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Microsoft OneNote Notebooks TipsMy Profile

    • Thanks Sabrina! Happy that this resonated with you and your own experiences. I am all about energy and even when people ask me “my type”, it really isn’t something I can define. It really is about the person and their energy. Agree with you that no one is perfect, and yet so many people are searching for the “perfect” partner, when they themselves are not the perfect partner. Appreciate your thoughts on this big topic!

  • I love this post, Beverley! I’m just tweaked by the MacLeod quote: โ€œAnd as we all know, Mr. or Mrs. Right isnโ€™t just floating out there in the ether like some abstract, platonic ideal.”
    Yep!
    It all comes back to our relationships with ourselves, no?
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…Why Are You So Angry And How Do You Resolve It?My Profile

    • Thanks so much Susan! I love Hugh MacLeod…his observations and the “cartoons” he draws to illustrate them are fabulous. And yes, it always does come back to us…to our willingness to work on ourselves so that we are the ideal we are searching for. And then magically we are found. That’s the romantic in me ready to be found. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Trish says:

    Beverley, Iโ€™m with you on finding that right someone with the right โ€œenergyโ€ rather than a checklist EXCEPT… addictions to drugs and/or alcoholism. If you EVER discover what makes a good relationship (never mind a great one!) youโ€™ll make MILLIONS selling the method ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Because we are all so individual, Trish, I think each relationship that works, works because of the unique combination of things that those two people bring to it. The interesting thing is that what works for us at one stage of our lives, might never work at another stage. I’m already working on figuring out how to “bottle” my almost 100-year-old mother’s longevity, and I will work on relationships after that! Aww, the elusive mysteries that life offers us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kimberly says:

    I love your title “multifacetist”
    I have been married to my husband of 15 years, and although we have been through a lot in different areas, there are a couple things I think are really important and keep us going strong:
    Communication. VERY IMPORTANT!
    Growing together – maybe differently, but including the other in your growth and change.
    Sharing dreams and goals.

    • Beautiful to hear what makes your relationship so strong and lasting, Kimberly. Communication is top the list for me as well. Without communication, there is really no relationship. Growing, both together and individually, is so important too. When one person grows and the other stays stagnant, I believe the relationship is doomed. Unless the people choose to stay together in spite of it. Sharing dreams and goals is lovely! That speaks to support and respect for each other. Happy you liked my “multifacetist” moniker too! I wrote another post about how and why that unfolded as it did.

  • Deb Nelson says:

    Yes, the times they are a changing. And in some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same. ” relationships still appear to be as challenging as they were when I originally wrote this piece in 2011.” The stress some people feel to find the perfect match and to be in a relationship probably results in a lot of people marrying for all of the wrong reasons. It also seems perfection is a requirement for lots of people entering relationships. Me? I’m grateful I’ve got a husband who appreciates me flaws and all=>
    Deb Nelson recently posted…Challenge Met: Enjoying the Rush of Meeting a GoalMy Profile

    • It sounds like the relationship you and your husband have is based on something I know is very important, Deb. To accept each other for all you are… and all you are not. Which you state as flaws and all. I see it all the time…regardless of the age… people setting unrealistic expectations for the perfect partner, and yet they haven’t done the work that would make them a “perfect” partner either. The world in general continues to get more stressful and I even see these crazy shows on TV that are geared to creating relationships, yet rarely do the matches work long term. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and love hearing you are grateful for the partner you have! I am sure he is too.

  • Teresa says:

    I like the seen and be seen comments. I feel this is so important. I use this reference alot too with women I work with. Allow themselves to be seen….and heard. Women don’t always do this, they hide behind others or dim their light. But as you say if they really want a great relationship it is about taking it up a notch and show up in their greatness. Thanks!

    • It’s wonderful to hear that you are sharing this message with the women you work with Teresa. The fact is all any of us human beings want, is to be seen and to be heard. Often, as you mention, women settle for one or none of these. It starts with seeing ourselves as great and then bringing that greatness to another. Glad some of this resonated with you in your own life too!

  • I’ve been married twice with a gap of 20 years in between. Now I’ve been married for 14 years to my long ago high school sweetheart. When I was single I didn’t think I’d ever marry again and wasn’t interested in settling for something mediocre but when he and I met up again, we both knew quickly that we really wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and we have a great relationship. I just got lucky!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Have a Great Lifestyle and a Thriving BusinessMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your relationship story, Beth. It always gives me hope to hear how at any age, in any stage of life, it is possible to meet the perfect relationship partner. It’s wonderful that you two knew almost immediately that you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together and that you actually had known him in high school and were sweethearts then. You are lucky and yet I know you are also very conscious of being in a good relationship, which makes a lot of difference. There is commitment and love as a foundation.

  • Joe Amoia says:

    A great relationship is one in which two people meet each other’s essential needs and are together because their lives are enhanced because of the presence of the other person.

    The truth is with the right person a great relationship isn’t “work” and in fact is easy.

    The reason most marriages & relationships fail is b/c one or both individuals go into the relationship picking a partner who isn’t well suited to meet ALL of their essential needs and as time goes by it becomes obvious that the relationship isn’t going to be the idea of living “happily ever after” that they had envisioned.

    It’s like going into business with a partner. If you keep your eyes & ears open & are crystal clear on what u need from that partner in order to succeed & you do your due diligence in the interview process it will be much easier to make the right choice.

    However, as human beings, especially in the relationship department we often let our emotions get the best of us and cloud our judgment.

    A great relationship is one where both people understand that the other person isn’t responsible for their happiness and both people work together to support each other in being the best they can be, both as individuals & as a couple.

    • freewill says:

      Hi Joe. I really appreciate all your input and see why you are so passionate about helping others find the great relationship they are looking for. I agree that a great relationship is one where both people understand and support the other. And yes, each of us is responsible for their own happiness. It’s always nice to have someone to share happiness with. Joe, thanks for the great work you are doing in the world.

      • Donyell says:

        Cheers pal. I do appreciate the writing.

        • freewill says:

          Hi Donyell. I appreciate that you appreciate the writing. Thanks for your comment here.

    • Dora says:

      Wow! Great thinking! JK

      • freewill says:

        Hi Dora. Happy to hear from you and that you like the thinking in this one. For me, it is an interesting topic and glad to have others join in the conversation.

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