At Seventy Thirty, we are in the fortunate position of having the opportunity to speak to thousands of men and women about what they think makes a relationship work. Here are some of the main themes that are most commonly cited as important to ensure a successful relationship.
Each partner in the relationship should have an equal contributing role. There should be a balance in what two parties contribute to the relationship in order to create a workable status quo. You do not have to contribute the same things; the key is to show that you are putting in as much as you want to receive in terms of love, support and communication. Problems can arise in a relationship when one person perceives that they are giving more than they are receiving.
Have clear and honest relationship goals. By establishing goals such as, ‘I want to find a long-term, committed relationship’, ‘I want to get married and start a family’, or ‘I want to enjoy myself and not get tied down just yet’, a person will know what they are looking for in a partner and can focus their attention and effort on finding the right person. By being honest with yourself and potential partners (and getting the same in return), you will not waste time in unfulfilling relationships.
Both partners should feel some level of control. Clearly defining shared goals as a couple and working out the necessary steps towards achieving these will influence the direction you are heading in. There is also some psychology behind this. Creating joint goals allows us to feel a greater sense of control, so that we feel more secure in our relationship.
What makes us want to stay with someone for the long term can be very different to what makes us start a relationship. Real love is based on friendship combined with attraction – shared backgrounds, shared value systems and similar moral codes, mutual understanding and shared relationship goals. People are extremely social creatures and we want someone who we can communicate with, someone who will support us, who we can laugh with and share our lives with.