Weeks ago we discussed character values, and how they guide our behavior. And before that, we discussed group values within communities and cultures that guide them as well. There should be no surprise there are also values in relationships.
What is an intimate relationship? Today we explore something greater than a social relationship…values that influence emotional, psychological and physical intensity.
Every relationship is alive. It becomes an extension of us, for it creates a new lens to view the world. The people who are in a relationship must nurture it. And when we do not nurture it, it becomes ill, for it will cause your partner frustration. This can create a harmful byproduct… complacency. And when we are complacent we can take the relationship for granted, which is a possible death sentence.
I have found three values guide a nurtured, intimate relationship…
The first is growth. The person we were ten years ago is not the person we are today. And the person we are today will not be the person we will become ten years from now. Our experiences, for better or for worse, and our pursuits, however they change or stay the same, will continue to mold us, and shape us. The same applies to your partner. We should seek more than common interests in a relationship because we know our interests will evolve. So, should we resign to the belief that our relationship will also end because of this constant change? Hopefully not, if the relationship grows. If you have common values, not just interests, and the nurturing will to grow the relationship then you will not grow apart.
The second is respect. It is the idea that your needs, wants and desires count the same as your partner. Respect creates profound intensity. You are more aware of his or her journey. In a social relationship you rely on communication to understand someone’s perspective. In an intimate relationship you have more mediums to sense what these may be. You must be aware, invest your effort, and seek to improve not just yourself but your partner. She or he is an extension of you, after all.
The third is passion. There must always be a spark. It may start off like a firework, and blaze like a bonfire, and at times quell into a candle’s flame, but there must always be a spark. It is a metaphor for the growth and respect, and the very life, of the intensity you have with your partner. Not everyone is wired the same, and some may not need or desire a constant burning fire. Others may believe it’s not realistic to maintain such a blaze for so long, while others demand it. I am, personally, a romantic person who requires an inferno of intensity with my partner, but also understand even the tides ebb and flow. As John Lennon put it, “life happens while we are busy making other plans.”
Never let the spark go out if you believe in it. Fight for your partner if she or he believes in your relationship. And if you don’t know what to do, may these values guide you to the happiness you deserve.