Many believe that each relationship requires different ingredients for long-term success, and others think there is a specific path or formula to “get it right”. I have found after witnessing many relationships succeed and fail that all successful couples share the same key elements: attraction, mutual respect, and trust.
We always begin, hopefully, with the attraction. This is the spark that began the relationship coupled with the genuine admiration for that special person. I have heard some people say that the spark disappears eventually and the admiration and friendship are what continues throughout the relationship. But I believe that the spark must always be present whether it is a huge burning flame or just a warm coal, partners should work their hardest to keep their bond from becoming lukewarm.
Next comes respect. So many marriages wax and wane because of this element. Whether it’s respect for the other person’s ability to make financial decisions, parenting decisions, or even decorating decisions, the respect should always be the foundation for all decision-making. And beyond decision-making, you must respect you partner’s choices up to the point of you meeting them. This includes their career choices, their religious preferences, and their relationships with friends and family. If you cannot respect how they have lived their life until you came along, chances are you will not be happy with their decision-making within the boundaries of your present relationship.
Finally, the hardest element to develop for some of us is trust. Without trust, there is no relationship. But when so many of us wait until later in life to enter into a serious commitment, trusting another person is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome. Trusting your partner will be faithful, thoughtful, and forgiving towards you. And proving to your partner you will do the same for them in return is a lot to ask each other. And this element, at least for me, takes a great deal of time and work to develop successfully.
But, if you have the attraction and respect, trust will eventually come. And once you have all three key elements working together within your relationship, you will be able to face all the difficult challenges life will throw at you- together.