Relationship matters have become very complicated of late. I usually ask myself, why do relationships keep dissolving day in and day out? Is it the fault of ladies or men or perhaps both don’t perform their responsibilities as expected? Honestly, my personal experiences have proved that healthy and sustainable relationships have nothing to do with promised rings, beauty or handsomeness and or wealth as believed by many. From my own experiences, healthy and good relationships are built on four topmost qualities which I term as the Four Pillars of a healthy relationship. These qualities are very important to ensure a successful relationship. As a matter of fact, any relationship built on these four pillars can be likened to a house built on rocks, it will never collapse regardless of the storms it may encounter.
First amongst these pillars is faithfulness. How is faithfulness explained? Faithfulness is the act of remaining loyal to someone or something. It is a term that denotes firmness or constancy to one’s partner. Faithfulness is a key ingredient for good relationship just as salt is for a tasty food. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option but a priority. Loyalty is everything. Being faithful to one’s partner makes him or her trustworthy. Since every relationship is built on trust, one of the ways to win the trust of your partner is to remain faithful to him or her. To remain faithful to your partner is in many folds. First it implies that you don’t cheat on your partner. Cheating does not necessarily mean you have to kiss, meet or have sex with someone else. No!!! Once you find yourself deleting messages so your partner will not see them, rejecting or refusing to answer some phone calls in the presence of your partner, you are already there.
To be faithful, your Ex must remain your Ex. Remember they are the Examples of false love and an Explanation for why you deserve better. Besides you need to also fulfil your promises. Being faithful to your promises is a priority. Remember “a real man chooses to honor, love, respect, adore and be faithful to one woman.” “A real woman can handle a busy man, she will respect his hustle and if he is a real man, he will know how to make time for her.”
Yet another pillar that cannot be left unstressed is tolerance. Tolerance is an outstanding quality or feature of a healthy relationship that cannot be left out of the four pillars. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines tolerance as the willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them. It is also the ability to deal with something unpleasant or annoying, or to continue existing despite bad or difficult conditions. In a relationship you need to accept your partner the way he or she is. Remember, human beings were not all created the same. If your partner puts up a behavior with which you are not well pleased, you do not have get on your nerves.
No!! Being angry will not solve the problem, your ability to control your temper and exercise patience will quench the fire that has been lit. Don’t just dump your partner because he or she opposes your idea and beliefs and that you think you both are not meant together. Your ability to alter your partner into the kind of person you want will depict the level of maturity as a lover. One most important place where you must tolerate your partner is the public. Yes, let people know that he or she is your man or woman. Bear in mind “a true relationship is not all about happiness but also holding each other’s hands when sadness creeps in. It is all about two people who are madly in love with each other and have a strong determination to make their relationship work by enduring each other’s imperfections, overlooking flaws and cherishing the differences.” “Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love.” Don’t forget that conflicts in relationships are normal and tolerance helps lovers to understand each other.
Moreover, the third pillar that can also not be underestimated in terms of building a strong and healthy relationship is effective communication.Communication basically refers to the exchange of information either verbally or non-verbally between people. Effective communication is a communication between people wherein the intended information is delivered, received and understood successfully. Thus the way partners communicate to each other in a relationship matters a lot when it comes to building a healthy relationship. It is surprising to hear that partners live in the same room, yet they don’t communicate effectively. When was the last time you asked your partner “baby how was your night” when you woke up early in the morning? How do you call your partner? Do you call him or her just by his or her name when you can call her with such names as baby, sweetheart, darling and sweetie among others? Do you realize how shameful you are? Listen relationships are not meant for sexual satisfaction but rather for companionship. Lovers must not hesitate to share their problems and grievances with their partners.
Keeping a problem to yourself makes it a difficult one to be dealt with. In terms of distance relationships, effective communication is very important. Nothing should prevent distant partners from communicating with each other effectively when there are vast multitude of media through which they can do so. At least three phone calls a day will do. Call him or her, ask of his or her health, whether he or she has taken his or her breakfast, lunch or supper. Let him or her feel he or she is a man or woman. At times SMS, whatsapp, facebook, twitter and other social media messages will do. You can choose do make video calls when necessary. Abusive words must strictly be avoided. Don’t forget “words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” At times the two of you must find time, go on a date at a cool place, make love and share your feelings. Actions speak louder than words. As a true lover, you need to be able to explain the actions of your partner.
The last of my four pillars of a healthy relationship is Love. Love has been defined differently by different people. That notwithstanding, in my point of view, love is the affection you have for someone without a reason. This definition is in consistence with the view of Isabel Thottam. According to Thottam “love is bigger than us, meaning, though we can invite it into our lives, we do not have the control over the how, when and where love starts to express itself.” It is the greatest of the three pillars that have already been discussed. One may argue that why then was it not discussed first? On a more a serious note, it was the last to be discussed because it is the summation of the remaining three of the pillars. As far as my pillars of a healthy relationship are concerned, faithfulness, tolerance and effective communication are the fruits of love.
When you love somebody you remain faithful to him or her. Likewise, you also tolerate the ones you love and communicate with them effectively. Love does not cheat and lie. Love is not selfish, rather it puts the interests of others first. Love is not arrogant; it humbles itself wherever it finds itself. People with true love think about their partners. They understand their partners and usually do what will make them happy. If I may ask, when was the last time you risked your life or any other precious resource of yours for the person you claim you love. When love reigns in a relationship, nothing can separate the partners, except death. It is interesting to note that when you love somebody, you die for the person. Dying for the one you love means doing your best for the person; serving him or her to the best of your abilities regardless the circumstance.
This is in line with David Wilkerson’s idea about love that “love is not only something you feel; it is something you do.” When you love somebody, their worries are your worries and their happiness is your happiness. In the view of Theodor Reik, in order to happy one’s self it is necessary to make at least one other person happy.
Lao Tzu once said “being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Love is also about commitment. You must make time for the service to your partner. Richard Warren is always remembered for his love quote; “the most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention. Don’t be deceived, “love is not about money, status or age, it is about being submissive to your partner.”
In a nut shell, these qualities are very important and must be given much attention to ensure a healthy relationship. Healthy relationship is not built on wealth, status or class and even age. It is about faithfulness, tolerance, effective communication and above all love.
GIDEON OFORI ARTHUR
UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION WINNEBA
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY EDUCATION