The 10 Pillars
Relationship success hinges on these 10 Pillars that have been observed, experienced, and researched by experts, over many decades. Being aware of, and actively addressing these 10 Pillars, contributes towards a healthy lasting relationship. Typically, when a relationship fails, it can be attributed to at least one of these ten areas being dysfunctional. No two people are perfectly matched in all of these areas and no couple is consistently aligned all the time as various factors can impact our behavior. Those happy couples who remain in love are typically aware of and always working on one or more of these vital relationship pillars.
Verbal & Non-verbal
Communication is the formulating and transferring of information about feelings, thoughts, and ideas through verbal and non-verbal means. Every living organism needs to be able to communicate to survive. All relationships need regular communication in one form or another as without it, we don’t connect, we don’t understand, we can drift apart, and our relationships begin to fail.
Concern & interest in the well-being of your partner
Having concern and empathy for another person is core to a healthy relationship. We often hear the age-old adage, “you’ve got to put yourself first”, and whilst there is some importance in having self-respect and being good to yourself, healthy relationships are certainly not supported by selfishness. Respect, care, concern, and interest in the other person is vital to a partnership being happy, fulfilling, and long-lasting.
Admiration & interest in oneself
We can all be a little self-centered, egotistical, proud, or controlling at times, it’s when a person is always needing to be right, needing to control, and needing to feel superior that it demeans, belittles, and breaks down the confidence and happiness of the other person. Narcissism is often the single most destructive force in any relationship, providing a fast track to arguments, disaffection, feelings of isolation, and break-up.
Understanding and communication of feelings
It is important to identify what we are feeling and reflect on why we are feeling it. Once we have gained that understanding, we need to be able to communicate that in a constructive and appropriate way to help build healthy relationships. This is not just about sharing that we feel happy or unhappy, it’s about engaging in a discussion around why we may be feeling those emotions.
Emotional and physical intimacy
This is the physical, sexual, and emotional intimacy in a relationship. The nature of that intimate relationship is something that both partners can define and consent to together and it’s important that it not be taken for granted or assumptions made. The ‘X-Factor’ plays an important role as a shared source of love, assurance, and reaffirmation in a relationship for both partners.
A state of mental or emotional strain
Life is stressful. This is normal! It’s how we understand that stress, process it and do something about it that makes the difference in happy relationships. It’s when we become overwhelmed by life’s stressors and our resources are not adequate to cope that it becomes a problem. Having an awareness and understanding of our own and our partner’s reaction to stress is important otherwise we can misunderstand each other’s actions which can push us apart.
Interests & Hobbies
Current interests with the desire to learn more
We all need to have interests and hobbies that are both ours alone and some that we share and enjoy with our partner. It’s not healthy to do everything (or nothing) together. Successful relationships appear to share some interests of their own while retaining some individual activities that only they enjoy doing.
Confidence about the future
Being positive, hopeful and optimistic is a powerful influence on relationships for good. No one thrives on negative energy. Pessimism, doubt, and ruminating on negative experiences can turn you into a dark cloud that can affect those around you. We all go through difficult times and have to face challenges, but it’s not good to let that dominate your thinking and feelings which will then affect your relationship negatively.
Importance of financial security
Financial stress can challenge the best of relationships. Having clear attitudes, expectations, and boundaries about money are crucial to a healthy relationship. It’s really important to discuss and agree on your attitudes to vital things such as spending, saving, budgeting for big purchases, and investing.
Spiritual connection and compatibility mean so many different things to different people and cultures. For some it’s about dating and marrying in the same faith and religion. For others it’s about a shared philosophy such as service and compassion or a connection with the natural world. Whatever you deem to be of spiritual importance is significant for you and for your partner. Some relationships don’t subscribe to anything of a spiritual nature, and that is completely fine for those relationships, so long you are both on the same page with this.
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