THE SECRET INGREDIENT IN RELATIONSHIPS

It takes more than love to make a relationship work. There are probably a few dozen factors that influence the chances of making a relationship workable, as well as fulfilling. You all probably know that.

Think about it. There is the meshing and/or tolerance of; levels of maturity; how you disagree and fight; understanding of each other’s sense of humor, as well as the values of honesty and friendships. Then there are the necessary compatible amounts of caring and concerns; degrees of worrying; the blending of control issues; the need to be right and/or win; as well as acceptable degrees of neatness, cleanliness, orderliness and organization.

We could go on for some time on this explanation, but I would like to nominate one particular area that is crucial in making a relationship work. It’s timing as illustrated in two areas. The first area of timing is living on the same or similar time clocks. Having at least similar timing of your eating, sleeping, and work schedules is essential.

If you’re an entertainer working at night and I’m an office worker, you can see that’s going to be a problem. That might be an exaggerated example, but you have to have some compatible lifestyles that can be meshed.

The other aspect of timing is the point in life when a relationship can work with you and a specific partner and/or a time when it can’t work. Let me give you two examples: In a previous blog (1/21/15), I described how Gabriele and I initiated a relationship. We are two very directed, controlling personalities who worked out some territory for each of us to exercise our need for control. Gabriele has absolute domain over our joint finances and the kitchen. I do all the travel and trip planning and fulfill assigned chores like emptying the dishwasher and disposing of all the garbage (where does it all come from?).

It has been a very smooth transition to a mutually enjoyable life. We have agreed many times, however, that it would never have worked at any other period in our lives. Twenty, thirty or forty years ago we were much more directed to our work and our careers. That was the highest priority, not a relationship,.

We jointly decide on entertainment, dining out, decorating and furnishings, and we are both a little amazed on how little disagreement we have in these areas.

A second example is the often repeated early relationship centered around college-age people. Some of them evolve successfully, but a great many just don’t mature at the same pace and grow in the same directions. Many who fit in that category stay together with some adjustments but it’s not often a successful, fulfilling relationship. Just check the divorce rate to validate that thesis.

When we bought our condo, we easily agreed on everything except the art each of us was bringing to the party. So as a compromise, we assigned walls. That way there was ample room for Gabriele’s traditional and some contemporary art, as well as the multi-colored coat she knitted and we framed.

That left plenty of room for my southwest Indian art, rug and kachinas. In our travels, we acquired some contemporary art and chotkes indigenous to different countries we agreed upon.

Timing and compromise are essential.

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