A friend of mine suggested I write an article about relationships
– something I had not initially planned on doing. This is not due to being completely ignorant on this topic. I suppose I have as much “expertise” as the next person. It is because this subject is difficult to write about due to the fact that it is one of those areas of human experience that has agreement as one of its basic foundations. In other words, what works for some people doesn’t work for others, and any advice one can give is limited by that factor. However, there may be some things which work for most, or even common to everyone.
There are certain things I have observed to be true, based on both my own experiences and those of others. Whether these observations stand true for everyone I cannot say. Does an ideal partner really exist? I would say that’s a definite maybe. How does one find such a person? That depends.
One thing I have observed in the past is the tendency of one partner to try to change the other. Apparently this is somewhat common. In fact, some of these people think they are doing their partner a favor by trying to change them. Furthermore, there are some partners on the receiving end of these kindnesses who seem to appreciate it. The way I see it is, “If you don’t like the way I am (which you obviously must not since you’re trying to change me) then why are you with me?” It’s all a matter of how you look at it. With some couples this type of relationship may work, and with others it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
People need a purpose in life to be happy. In the above example that purpose manifests as a purpose to help and/or be helped in that way. I believe that for most people this is not an adequate modus operandi. One key ingredient for a truly satisfying relationship then is a common goal or goals, a common purpose or passion.
This can manifest in various ways, such as a mutual hobby. Some couples work very well together in a vocational situation – such as in their own small business. Others, on the other hand, would probably kill each other. What can make this type of co-action work better is if there’s a humanitarian cause involved that the couple feel mutually passionate about, or some similarly worthwhile activity. This does not necessarily involve both of them doing the same thing. It could be two distinct functions that are part of the same overall activity – especially where these complement each other in some way – such as where each has a strong point where the other has a weak point. In such a case the two of them get into a symbiotic relationship where they are supporting each other, rather than criticizing each others weaknesses as is often the way of the world.
In order to make this principle work, both partners must know what their own goal(s) or passions are. Unfortunately there are a lot more people than you may think who lack this very necessary requirement. They will need to work this out first. But that’s a topic for another day.
A “sub-category” of this key ingredient could be intelligence or education if it’s too disparate. If he’s a brilliant mathematician and she’s a waitress, or she’s a doctor and he’s a ditch digger. Normally the communication problems in such a relationship would not be unlike having two people speaking separate languages. Under normal circumstances comparable intelligence or education can be prerequisite to a common goal of any substance.
Too often you see relationships suffer when the individuals in it have such differing goals that the two people become a distraction to each other. Or one has a stated purpose while the other doesn’t and the one lacking a goal becomes a distraction to the other. Often this pulls one or the other or both off their path. This results in misery for that person, which in turn rebounds onto the relationship which henceforth goes downhill.
Are general interests such as liking the same kind of movies or restaurants a part of this picture? Although this is similar, it’s really a different order of magnitude. Even though such things definitely contribute to a relationship by providing more things to share, such interests do not have the power of a strong goal or passion.
There are, of course, other important factors too, and it is the combination of all such factors that ultimately makes the relationship. This one should not be underestimated for its strong bonding potential.
Earlier I asked the question, “How does one find such a person?” Whatever the common goal or purpose is, there is likely to be at least one organization or group of people that gather together somewhere, or in many places. This is where you can find like-minded people. Whether this is a workplace, church, class in graduate school, or Internet chat room, unless your passion is very esoteric, I can’t imagine that you would not be able to find some channel of communication through which others like you exist. OK, maybe you’re an alien – but aside from that.