To sustain a relationship, three things must be considered and then worked on:

1. Do we share the same core values?

Are there things that are abhorrent to me that the other person deems normal? Do we have a similar picture of life? The same ideals, principles and motivations?

2. Do we receive and communicate information in similar ways?

When we disagree, are we even aware the other person is hurt? Do we understand the other’s pain? Are issues vocalized in ways that are understood? Does one person communicate via body language & passive-aggressiveness while the other uses words? Do we walk on eggshells; afraid of offending each other? Do we feel judged and always wrong?

3. Do we speak each other’s love languages?

Are we meeting our deepest emotional needs. Is one person happy and fulfilled while the other is not? Do we look forward to the time we share? Are we energized and happy after being in each other’s company?

Assess your relationship

Should there be friction in any of these three areas, your relationship will need incredible sacrifice, intervention and commitment to survive. This assumes you have the emotional and physical energy to make things work in the first place.

Whenever I listen to advice from the older generation on how to sustain a relationship; when I hear talk of “sacrifice”, I often ask about a few things.

Key questions

1. Who/what had to die for the relationship to survive?

2. Who intervened?

3. How much energy and well-being went into sustaining the union?

4. Where did they find the energy?

5. How did they deal with the challenges of the day. (In this generation, we are faced with technology, media, traffic, recessions etc.)

I also ask about culture. Whenever norms shift in any society, fundamentals change too. If today’s culture increasingly revolves around money or peer comparison, it will impact relationships.

Know this – the fruits we see today were sown in culture a long time ago. So if our relationships are nothing like previous generations’, then what did they contribute to the prevailing norms? Because the apple does not fall too far from the tree.

For more, check out Culture is Very Serious.

Whenever cultural norms shift in any society, fundamentals change too including relationships. Click To Tweet

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