My grandparents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. A few months before they hit this milestone, I was asking my grandma how they have made things work for so long. She then gave me this not-so-secret-anymore recipe of three components every healthy relationship needs in order to survive.
And while the conversation initially started for romantic relationships, I then realized this list applies to all relationships—parents, siblings, friends, etc.—and it must hold some merit if my grandparents are still able to love and cherish each other, even after spending the majority of their lives together.
So here are the three components every healthy relationship needs:
Although I am extremely biased because I am a Communication major, this really is the most essential component of any relationship. People are wonderful and complicated—sometimes even wonderfully complicated—but that means there is an absolute need to communicate. We need to be on the same page with one another to relay information about situations, feelings, expectations, viewpoints, directions, etc., so we can connect with those around us. We were made to communicate and seldom do we do it well on a consistent basis.
Communication takes a lot of work and effort. How do we know this? Because miscommunication is a good portion of arguments and fights, in part of the lack of clear and articulate expression. Not only is there verbal miscommunication, but with different platforms to communicate (i.e. social media and texting), it becomes even more essential to say things and say them well.
Again, I am biased because I study this on a daily basis, but it has shown me how there is a true need for continual and effective communication in any relationship.
This might be the hardest of the three. When I say compromise, I do not mean be a pushover and lose your sense of self. But there will be those “mutual concessions,” as stated in its definition. Every relationship has different people, so there will need to be a way to navigate and balance that. It’s important to realize compromise does not always come from arguments, but also in the little dailies of life. I know this wasn’t in the plan, but can we stop at this store because it’s on the way? Is it okay if we talk tomorrow instead of tonight? Can we go to Target rather than Walmart?
In every and any successful relationship, you will need to be selfless. You will need to learn to pick and choose your battles. You will need to put down your pride. You will need to focus on the wellbeing of the other person and the situation.
Relationships are a never-ending give and take, and we need to be mindful of that.
3. A Good Sense of Humor
Relationships are not supposed to be serious all the time. With humor, comes laughter—the people you invest your time, love, and effort into should make you laugh and feel good. How many times have you cried, snorted, or almost peed yourself from laughing so hard? Or think back to a joke a friend made and still chuckle? If there’s a similarity in what brings joy and amusement, then the humor has the capability to foster a bond between people. If there is not a common thread of what people think is funny, then it will more than likely result in some awkward scenarios. If you can’t laugh with someone, how are you expected to live with/want to be around them?
I think it is incredibly valuable to understand how to interact with people to make a relationship of any nature successful and worthwhile. People are dynamic and it takes these three components to make it work.