The Key To A Great Relationship

There are several keys to a great relationship. Here’s the one that has transformed my marriage.

Humility.

Not my humility, mind you. My wife’s. She is the humblest person I have ever met. Admittedly I was initially attracted to the fact that she is immensely hot (I know that is shallow and sexist) and seemed to tolerate me being around, but the more I have come to know her the more I credit the success of our relationship with the fact that she is relentless in her pursuit of compromise and making me happy. I am often hesitant to even mention something I would like to eat or possess because I know she will make it happen. She inspires me to want to try harder and be a better husband. We cannot even have a decent argument without her apologizing for something. It is hard to stay mad at someone who is trying so hard to make you happy.

She does not read this blog so i get no ‘suck up’ points for this, in case you were wondering.

As I write this I am conscious of the fact that many readers do not have this experience. This has not always been my experience either.  For years I lived with passive aggression, emotionally shut down, non-communicative narcissism. Many of us have. It is easy, when things are going poorly, to believe that this is the way everyone is, this is absolute reality. It isn’t even though it feels that way.

I have learned a great deal from both experiences. I have come to understand that my personal self-worth, happiness, and completeness cannot be based on another fallible person. I have lived far too long trying to make other people love me, and failing. I have based too much of my self-worth on whether or not my spouse likes me at any particular moment. I am endeavouring, and I am not there yet, to find my security from within. I have this crazy idea that I need to get to a place where I do not need anyone to feel whole.

In counseling I will often tell patients, “Don’t date until you don’t need to”. I profoundly believe this. We need to get to a point where we do not need someone else to fill that hole in our heart. Only then are we complete enough to love someone else without being needy, without needing them to “complete me”. It is a great deal easier to live sacrificially, think of the other person first, and live humbly when I don’t need her to stroke my tender, insecure, needy little ego.

“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”    Tom Robbins

11 thoughts on “The Key To A Great Relationship

  1. I love that you can admit that your partners physical appreaence was the first thing to draw you and that you know it sounds shallow, I think that’s the key to being a good counciler and psychologist. I’ve spent my whole life being stuck in relationships that are more or less toxic, I found that my problem was that I knew it wasn’t normal. Kids at school where in better emotional places then I am and they where able to make connecetions with other people ect.
    I’ve found that the humility you speak so highly about can actually cause a lot of damage to the person being humble, the constant attempt to make the other party to the relationship happy is an attempt to forfil themselves though the happieness of the other. I have always said that the key to a successful relationship is mutual compramise.

  2. I am struggling with this problem. Since I was a teenager, I have felt like I need a relationship to complete me. I think if I could find that one person, then I could get on and do everything else I want to do in life. I know I need to be happy with myself first, but I just can’t see how I will ever be able to switch off from searching for that person that truly is my other half.

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