None of us are untouched by love. It is a basic human need to be desired and nurtured, and although there are many degrees and standards by which we all live (and love) it is safe to say that we each have an understanding of relationships. They begin when we connect with any other human. But where do they end?
Though not unheard of, long-term relationships are much more rare these days, we are less likely to enter such a hefty commitment. So what do we enter into, and why? And why are we seeing such a high rate of divorce?
We often enter into relationships with a heady and optimistic outlook. We are in love! Or at the very least we think we are. Yet we are privy to overlooking the more pragmatic reasons for commitment, and in those moments of passion and daring we can overlook the most important factor:
Are we compatible?
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There are two ways to look at it really, but both answers start with the same question. How well do we know ourselves? If we can fundamentally understand what it is we are dealing with, we can proceed with honesty and care and we can generally reach a positive outcome. But we need to know what we are dealing with.
When two people fall in love and enter a commitment, there needs to be a level of understanding. Both need to know who the other is, and they must know the core values of both themselves and their partner. If you begin to learn these things further down the track, things can get complicated quickly.
We each have different backgrounds, different views. We belong to different religions, have different ideas on how to raise children and have differing views on politics. We belong to different sports teams (this can be bigger than you think!), have different kinds of relationships with other members of our family, with friends. We need to understand these things about each other before we continue. When we know ourselves, we can teach each other, we can begin the wonderful journey of discovery. And then we are left with two possibilities. We can either be compatible in our views, or we can differ somewhat in our opinions but agree to always respect the others ideas. Compatible, or compatibly in agreement.
Divorce rates are high. The most common reasons for divorce are that we get lost in the ‘role’ of our marriage and we lose our identities. Infidelity is also high on the list, as is a loss of intimacy, financial woes, and fighting/ disagreeing. But one of the greatest reasons for divorce is that we get involved for the wrong reasons, or we do not significantly understand what it is we are getting involved with. We leap before we think, and it is only later that we begin to learn that our core values are exceedingly incompatible.
The silver lining is that things can be truly helped by communication. If we are honest, and kind, and we talk openly about ourselves and proceed with love and care, we have a much greater chance of something great. A good relationship is an agreement between two people. You work out what works for the two of you — and it is always different — and then you stick to it. It really can be as simple as that. At the end of the day, we can’t know exactly what will happen and things happen in life that change us. Our views can shift, and we can react to situations in ways that we never thought possible. But what we CAN do is be as prepared as possible. Trust our guts. And communicate.