Recently a client asked me how she would know if she was in a good relationship. If she was doing a good job at work, she would get a raise or a promotion. If she was doing well in school, she would get good grades. But if she was doing well in a relationship, what would she get?
The answer to this question may at first seem obvious: She would get happiness and love.
Except for the fact that almost all relationships, after the first few dates, make people feel happy and close to or in love. Yet, many relationships struggle after a while, and often end in breaking up, or worse, divorce. This means that feeling happy and in love is not necessarily an indication of a good relationship.
What would it be like if you could tell whether you are in a good relationship or not? What if you no longer had to hope that your relationship lasts, but instead knew with certainty what to do to make it work?
I am about to reveal to you the two secrets that can make or break a relationship.
Secret #1: Compatibility
Your garden variety compatibility matters, as in whether you laugh at the same jokes, like the same food, or both like to dance, for example. But what’s even more important is relationship style compatibility.
Here are some dimensions of relationship styles you want to match on with your partner:
- You both want the same thing in your relationship future, even if not yet with each other. For example, both of you want a serious relationship or eventually a life-partner or marriage.
- You have similar or complimentary communication styles. If you like to talk, you are with another talker, or a listener. You are not with someone who thinks words are unnecessary or who rolls his or her eyes or gets defensive when you want to talk.
- You crave a similar amount of emotional intimacy. If you want lots of closeness, you are with someone who creates and seeks out a similar level of it, not someone who holds you at arm’s length and only allows closeness once in a while.
- You or your partner are not emotionally unavailable or avoidant. Time together does not make either of you want to run.
- You have a similar style of resolving conflict. You both like quiet conversation and take lots of time before saying anything to avoid hurting each other. Or you both raise your voice and argue. How you resolve conflict matters less than the fact that you resolve it similarly.
- You have a similar style of sharing personal information, as in you open up and reveal personal information to each other equally.
- You have a similar physical intimacy style and level of desire. You both want each other about equally with no large disparities that leave one of you feeling largely unsatisfied.
Of course, there is more that can be added to this list. Needless to say you will never match with any partner on every one of these compatibility dimensions. However, the more you match or are complimentary on these dimensions the more likely you are to be in a good relationship.
And yet, this is only half of the story. Even an extremely well matched couple can suffer from relationship problems or end up breaking up or divorcing. In order for you to have the relationship you want, a truly good relationship that makes it, both of you must be in possession of the second secret.
Secret #2: Relationship Foresight
Relationship foresight is essential for creating a good, solid, life-time relationship.
By relationship foresight I mean the understanding of how relationships develop, and what your relationship is likely to experience through its stages of development.
When you understand that relationships go through predictable stages, you will no longer be surprised when your wonderful new relationship hits a snag, or when your stable long-term partnership encounters difficulties. Instead you will know exactly what’s going on and what you need to do about it.
You must have relationship foresight, so that you can take the pulse of your relationship at any time, and be able to tell if it’s thriving or needs help, and if so, what kind of help it needs.
Without relationship foresight you are left to hope and wish that your relationship turns out well and that it lasts. When the relationship inevitably runs into difficulty, you are left to desperately try to get it back to where it was before, without knowing what to do to make a difference.
So how do you develop relationship foresight, so that you can know about relationship development stages, know what stage your relationship is in, and what needs to be done at that stage to successfully negotiate it and keep strengthening your relationship?
I created a comprehensive guide to take you through every stage of relationship development to help. The 8+ Stages of Relationships: How to do relationships right at every stage, from the first date to a lifetime together in love teaches everything you need to know to create the lasting relationship you want.
I strongly recommend you get The 8+ Stages of Relationships guide, as it will teach you at what stage your relationships have run into trouble in the past, and how to avoid this pattern playing out in your current or future relationship.
If you are in a relationship, take advantage of the resource of The 8+ Stages of Relationships, and determine what stage your relationship is in, find insight into its current or potential difficulties, and learn what to do about them.
To summarize, the two secrets that can make or break your relationship are:
1. Relationship Style Compatibility
2. Relationship Foresight
What to do now regarding Relationship Style Compatibility:
- If you are single, create a list of the compatibility factors that are most important to you. How much time do you want to spend with your partner? Do you want someone who likes to talk or is quiet? When dating, screen for people who match you on these factors, and know going in which ones are vital to you vs. open to compromise.
- If you are in a relationship or marriage, make a list of the compatibility factors that are most important to you, and review them with your partner. If there are any points of disagreement between you, see if you can negotiate for mutual benefit, either by yourselves or with the help of a third-party.
What to do now regarding Relationship Foresight:
- If you are single, get The 8+ Stages of Relationships guide, as it will teach you at what stage your relationships have run into trouble in the past, and how to avoid this pattern playing out in your future relationship.
- If you are in a relationship, take advantage of the resource of The 8+ Stages of Relationships guide to determine what stage your relationship is in, find insight into its current or potential difficulties, and learn what to do about them.
Taking these steps ensures you will never be blindsided by love gone wrong again, and almost guarantees your ability to create a relationship that makes it!