In Summary
  • As you think about a relationship, consider what makes you different and special. For example, your values, beliefs, expectations, and dreams in life. Second, who is meant to complement you? Get to know their values, beliefs, qualities and character.

The fact that we are different, have weaknesses and fail occasionally is enough fodder to ignite a fire in a relationship. However, there is a wise saying by King Solomon that states that, “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.”

Patience
Patience helps an individual gain wisdom, and guides one on how to apply it in a relationship. Unfortunately, many are in a hurry to get in a relationship and commit before gaining enough knowledge about the person they are surrendering their life to. This has seen many young people succumb to the pressure to fit in.

Compatibility and communication
Compatibility is key for lasting relationships and should not be confused for chemistry. As much as an inventory of traits and a feeling of connection is important, compatibility is a process that will call for negotiation and navigation as a couple moves along. Having the right attitude and a willingness to work on oneself and the relationship is key.

Because communication styles do not necessarily match or complement each other, the temptation to make assumptions is high. It is wise to always want to truly understand what your partner is communicating.

Chemistry between spouses should not just concentrate on feelings and temporal emotional connections that are based on self-gratification. Chemistry must go beyond feelings. It develops over time as we blend our desires, dreams and the other person’s ways of looking at issues. This chemistry contributes to the overall well-oiled relationship.

Common areas of agreement
First, love must be accompanied by shared values. As you think about a relationship, consider what makes you different and special. For example, your values, beliefs, expectations, and dreams in life. Second, who is meant to complement you? Get to know their values, beliefs, qualities and character traits. Third, ask if you are fit for each other.

What are the areas of agreement? Are the gaps too large to fill? Are there any areas that are non-negotiable? If the differences are core enough to cause you worry, then walk away. You will do yourself a lot of injustice if you choose to stay in such a relationship. Responsible behaviour and managing oneself in the relationship is your responsibility. Love must not be defined from two different directions.

Values
Rather, it must be accompanied by the kind of behaviour that is in line with confessed values. We should not downplay our destiny and that of the family. Today’s wounds in relationships are created by self-seekers who make a choice to take a certain road for their personal gain, thereby hurting others.

Become others-centred
This kind of love is God’s kind of love. Mahatma Gandhi observed that, “a man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”

Tips
Sameness is not the same as agreement. Generally men and women express themselves differently. This does not necessarily mean opposition or a lack of love.
If embraced well, this has the potential to grow the relationship but if mishandled, it leads to conflict and stagnation in the relationship.

Beware of hurting words. We need to remember that the tongue is a flame of fire. If poorly used, words have the potential to breed emotional pain. Manage your differences through affirmation and dialogue. If poorly managed, our differences can easily lead to fights.

This article was initially published in the Daily Nation