There are so many things that make a relationship work, but these three elements come right at the top of the list. Everything else flows from them when they are in place.
The three main elements that are crucial to relationship are the following:
First is EXPECTATIONS. This is the most important aspect of any partnership. Expectations should be kept as low as possible so that they do not become unrealistic. The expectations we bring to a relationship can make or break it very quickly. Many people expect to change their partner in some way after they settle down, or they expect certain things to happen in an ideal way, or they expect to get their own way in most things without thinking of the other person's needs, or they judge their partners through their own narrow expectations. But those expectations only kill the relationship slowly as they are not likely to be fulfilled. If couples allow the relationship to unfold, and allow themselves to grow together without too many expectations of each other, that would be a great foundation for success.
Second is RESPECT, which is usually at the heart of love. If a person loves you they have to respect you. We cannot say we love without respect being the core of it. And when we say we respect someone, it is not just a single handy word. It has key dimensions to it. To respect a loved one means that we are curious about them, we are prepared to give them our attention, we wish to have dialogue with them, to be sensitive to their needs and to empower them through reinforcement and affirmation. If all that is not at the heart of respect, then we really have little love or respect for our partner. For example, we cannot say we respect someone, yet mindlessly betray them, or find fault with them all the time, or neglect their needs.
Finally there is RECIPROCITY. This big and important word has a very simple meaning: give and take. Relationships work best when there are two 100% GIVERS in it. Not one person giving and the other taking, or two takers just demanding from each other. Nothing works like that. When there are two givers prepared to think of each other, to put each other first, to praise and encourage each other, to affirm each other and are prepared to put themselves out for one another, it is magical. If you tell someone you love them, you praise them, you encourage them and you get nothing in return, that's a taker who is enjoying your generosity and love while ignoring your own needs. Reciprocity keeps people together through mutual giving and sharing in every sense of the word. That's what relationships are for: sharing. If one person keeps giving and the other taking, there is no sharing there, simply one user taking advantage of another giver.
If these three key elements are in a relationship, it stands a far better chance of working than anything else because the groundwork would have been laid for the couple to love, respect and appreciate each other in a sharing environment with few expectations, greater understanding and a whole lot of give and take between them.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms Cyprah) 2011
Emotional Health Adviser
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"