In this ever-changing world, have you wondered how can we guarantee a sustainable relationship with your loved one/ spouse? Leaving the material ‘Cs’ out of context, what kind of intangible qualities can we mutually build upon? The definition of a “sustainable relationship” is one that resists the test of time and challenges of everyday living that is built upon trust, respect and acceptance.
No doubt, establishing, building and nurturing a sustainable relationship takes a lot of effort. Therefore, what I’m about to share with you is a result of my real life lessons and experiences gained over many years of relationship building, which could unlock the secret to guaranteeing endless love. If you’ve had or are having trouble in your relationship, hopefully, my 6 ‘Cs’ will help you and your partner to stay on top of everyday life challenges and serves as a guideline for all of us to do what it takes to make our relationships thrive to new heights. I comprehend that some relationships can be quite complex, thus I am not advocating one size fits all. Although I hold these 6 ‘Cs’ closely, but I do believe that having a good balance is the key.
The first and most important C is Communication. Being able to communicate is not the key to a sustainable relationship. Open, honest and timely communication is! Keeping each other updated throughout the day is the least we should do. However, the sure thing is that if you don’t work at communicating effectively, the relationship will deteriorate over time, just like a vehicle or machine that’s not taken care of will fall apart.
Misunderstanding is normally a major part in the breakdown of any relationship, and communication is the way to reduce the likelihood of it happening. Therefore, all relationships require hard work and effort from both parties.
Communication can be divided into three types: Verbal, Non-Verbal (Body language) and Para-Verbal (The way you say the words).
Find the right time to talk:
If something is bothering you and you would like to have a conversation about it, try to find a time when both you and your partner are calm and not distracted, stressed or in a rush.
Do not attack or blame:
It is not what we say, but how we say it. Even when we mean well, we can sometimes come across as harsh because of our word choice and the way we say them. Using “you” can sound like you’re attacking , which will make your partner defensive and less receptive to your message. Instead, try using “I” or “we.”, such as “I feel like we haven’t been as close lately” instead of “You have been distant with me.” Speaking in a lower and slower paced tone will help too.
Talk things out face to face:
It is advisable to avoid talking about serious matters or issues in text messages, letters and emails as they can be easily misinterpreted. Talk in person so there aren’t any unnecessary miscommunications. If you’re having trouble collecting your thoughts, consider writing them down ahead of time and later read them out to your partner.
Be open and honest:
I understand that sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s one of the most important keys to building a sustainable relationship. You have to admit that you aren’t always perfect and apologize when you make a mistake instead of making excuses, vice versa. You will feel much better and it will help strengthen your relationship.
Use body language:
Let your partner know that you’re really listening by giving them your full attention. How? Sit up, face them and make eye contact when speaking. Don’t keep looking at your phone, text or watch YouTube when you’re talking. Show your partner that you respect them by listening and responding through your body language.
Apply the 48 hour rule:
If your partner does something that makes you angry, you need to tell them about it (Especially girls, listen up!). But you don’t have to do so right away. If you’re still hurt 48 hours later, say something. If not, consider forgetting about it. But remember your partner can’t read your mind. If you don’t speak up and explain why you’re upset, there is no way for them to realize their mistake, apologize or change. Once you do mention your hurt feelings and your partner sincerely apologies, let it go. Don’t bring up past issues if they’re not relevant.
Follow the traffic light order when you’re angry [Red – Amber – Green]:
It’s okay to get angry in a relationship; everyone does at some point!
Red is for Stop! If you get really angry about something, stop, take a step back and breathe. Tell your partner you’d like to take a short break before continuing the conversation. It’s alright to give yourself some time to calm down by watching TV, talking to a friend, playing a video game, taking a walk, listening to some music or whatever helps you relax. Taking a break can keep the situation from getting worse.
Amber is for Think! After you’re no longer upset, think about the situation and why you got so angry. Was it what or how your partner spoke or something they did? Figure out the real problem then think about how to explain your feelings in a calm way.
Green is for Talk and Listen! Finally, you can talk to your partner and tell your partner how you feel. Remember to stop talking and listen to what they have to say. You both deserve the opportunity to express how you feel in a safe and healthy environment. The rule of the thumb is to ask and never assume or jump into conclusion.
Well, I have to agree that communicating effectively isn’t easy at all. You may feel unnatural or awkward when you’re trying to apply these tips, but trust me, these guidelines will help you communicate better and build a healthy, sustainable relationship.
The first duty of love is to listen. -Ron Capocelli
The second C is Character. Character matters. Agree?
Character refers to the individuals’ qualities and characteristics which differentiates him or her from others. Upholding good character traits are keys to living a happy and fulfilling life. At some point in our lives, physical attraction could fade away, but character remains.
I agree that its not easy to admit a mistake, persevere during tough times, or follow through every promise made. It’s also not always comfortable to convey the hard truth or stand up for your beliefs. Nevertheless, in the long run, doing the right thing is the clear path to both success and happiness in relationships.
Do you frequently ask this question to yourself: “How do I know if he or she is the right one for me?” The bottom line is, listen to your conscience and intuition. That’s why you have one.
Nevertheless, learning from experience could also help you to evaluate whether he or she is the one for you. You’ll be able to analyze from his/ her character, and whether you are able to accept him/ her unconditionally. Most importantly, follow your heart but don’t leave your head behind >.< You need both!
Character is a glue that bonds solid and meaningful relationships. -Tony Dungy
Introducing Chemistry – the third C of building a sustainable relationship. When you have chemistry with someone, you just know it and feel it. You might have many friends, but you can’t just date all of them and perform a ‘trial and error’ test in finding your soulmate. Basically, chemistry represents the emotional connection that is present when you’re with your other half or someone you romantically like. Two people who have a high degree of chemistry have emotional personalities that bring out warm, fuzzy emotions in the other, creating a kind of positive feedback vibes in a loop through which they both continue to make each other feel at ease, comfortable and makes the relationship better.
Chemistry is generally made up of subtle behaviors that positively correspond with the other person. If you have chemistry with him/ her, it is felt immediately and by both parties equally. The most important rule about chemistry is that whatever you’re feeling, he/ she is most likely feeling it too.
If you have a high degree of chemistry with someone, they somehow tend to monopolize your thoughts and perhaps your free time. You’ll stay up talking and not even feel like an hour went by. You’ll always want to video call and see the other person. You’ll hope that every call or text is from him/ her. You’ll walk through the day constantly wondering how was their day and how you long to be in their presence.
Are you already thinking about that special someone? 😍
Love is not rocket science; it is the art of being true and persistent. -Regina Yan
Moving on to the fourth C – Compatibility. Just imagine when you’re dating someone you’re not compatible with, it’s super obvious — like biting into a piece of spoiled fruit, where the discomfort experienced is totally impossible to ignore.
Well, people often use the terms compatibility and chemistry interchangeably – but they are not the same! Compatibility is defined as a natural alignment of lifestyle choices and values between two people. Put simply, if you value guys who are intelligent and educated and you meet a high school dropout who does odd jobs, then we have a fundamental incompatibility that will probably never be overcome and we will never date one another. Haha, that just sounded #epic.
In addition, compatibility usually corresponds to the long-term potential between two people. If two people have high compatibility, they will have similar lifestyles, liking and values. And guess what, compatibility and chemistry don’t necessarily always happen together.
High Compatibility, Low Chemistry
A relationship with high compatibility but very little chemistry is likely to be a boring yet convenient series of conversations. It becomes dry and dull until both parties simply stop caring and drift apart. Sadly, this arrangement isn’t uncommon.
Low Compatibility, High Chemistry
On the other hand, having high chemistry without compatibility usually leads to disaster. These relationships usually begin quickly and passionately, exploding like a flame which then extinguishes just as quickly as it began. When logic kicks in and reality makes itself known, you’ll suddenly realize how offensive you find each other. They’re traps. Your heart says yes, but your head says no. And then you convince your head to say yes, which in turn makes your heart say no. Sounds complicated enough? Incompatibility could be due to several factors, such as habits, religion, behavior, language, etc. It’s when it feels so right but you know it’s so wrong! 😱
Speaking from personal experience, sometimes we might go to the extend by replacing low chemistry and compatibility with ‘Compassion’. When compassion kicks in, either one or both parties will suffer in the relationship because it is not built on the foundation of love.
We live in a society where relationships are dynamic and changing because we as human beings are changing. For many people, times of staying in an empty, surface relationship to satisfy your basic needs have come to an end. More and more people are looking for true love, a soul mate, or deep connections. This is where the fifth C kicks in – Commitment.
Why commitment matters? Because commitment is the part of the relationship that provides assurance, safety and security (like buying insurance), so couples can express their thoughts, feelings, and desires openly. In other words, commitment is the dedicated choice to give up other competing choices. Commitment offers couples a sense of being part of a team, a desire for a future together and a desire to sacrifice for each other. Not being committed carries great consequences, the greatest of which is relationship failure and the possible dissolution of a family. In a nutshell, commitment keeps couples together and is a cornerstone of a sustainable relationship.
At the moment of commitment, the entire universe comes forth to assist you. -Johann Wolfgang
#6 Core Values
Obviously it’s lovely to have a relationship with someone who enjoys the same hobbies, games, activities, holidays or food as you. While it’s important that your interests aren’t off-putting to your partner, there are many examples of long and happy relationships where couples actually have interests that are totally diverse. The reason these relationships continue is because they share the same core values.
In a nutshell, core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that makes you unique – and makes you, you! Many of your core values will have been formed during your childhood or inherited from your parents. Your core values will affect all the decisions and choices you make in life, including your religion, your lifestyle, your career choices, your friends and how you spend your time. When you go along with something that doesn’t fit with your core values, you will feel uncomfortable and unhappy.
However, core values can change over time as we grow and learn more about what’s important to us as individuals but it’s unlikely that anyone will be happy in a relationship with someone whose core values conflict with their own. Well, if you decide that a relationship is worth changing for because you have so many shared interests, and you begin to adapt or fit in with another person’s religion, for example, you will feel compromised as it is conflicting with your core values unless you find a way to make it suit your own values, which is unlikely you’ll feel authentic within the relationship.
Hence, couples who happily grow old together are the ones who connect at that deep level. When the kids have left home and the glittering careers have ended, they’re still in tune with each other at a deeply compatible level – joined by their core values.
Thus, there is no magic to achieve a sustainable relationship as it builds on these 6 common themes: Communication, Character, Chemistry, Compatibility, Commitment and Core Values. Any relationship, however good, has the potential to fall apart and go wrong. It takes love, determination and commitment to make it work for a lifetime
Take a pause for a few moments. Reflect and give this introspective process even greater depth. Once you have assessed the current levels, you can begin working on improving the 6 C’s in your relationship. Hopefully this sharing has enlightened you to bring your relationship to a whole new level.