To begin, let's realize that adult relationships are intricate in nature. No two relationships are the same, and thus they cannot be treated as if they are: everyone is different, taking different approaches to the same set of circumstances. Because all relationships are unique, there can't be a single set of rules that will automatically make all relationships perfect.

Relationships are usually based on a shared pastime or attraction, but beyond even that it's impossible to set forth a single reason relationships form. If there are protocols that define a relationship, they're set by the couple themselves.

While there are no universal
rules for the conduct of a relationship, there are deeper elements of a relationship that can be identified. Without these elements, it's doubtful that the relationship will last.

First, a relationship must have effective communication if it's going to succeed. Don't misunderstand communication to mean the sometimes meaningless chatter all couples engage in. Communication is the exchange of real ideas from one individual to another, and in the context of a relationship, that means sharing aspirations, dreams, and fears. Without this, each person in a relationship doesn't really know the other. Communication isn't always deep and soul-shaking, of course - couples talk about the issues they're facing at work, about difficulties within their families, and the things they're feeling themselves. They often share daily scheduling information, for instance - not as a control issue, but one of esteem and love: if there's an emergency, it's critical that a couple be able to get in touch with each other.

Relationships where the partners don't also share their emotions with each other have an unstable foundation. Good communication requires that couples share with each other their pain and failure, their grief and disgrace, as well as their victories. Intimately related to good communication is our second foundation of a great relationship.

Closely allied with good communication, honesty is the next crucial foundation of a great relationship. Couples who undertake to be together, sharing their lives, impair themselves seriously if they cannot be honest with each other. There's an inclination at the beginning to over-romanticize a relationship and for couples to put each other on a pedestal - part of the purpose of honesty in a relationship relates to understanding and accepting that one's partner is simply human and actually mortal.

Like the foundation of a structure, the element of truth in a relationship must be uniform and continuous throughout - if there are falsehoods intermingled with the truth, the partner's faith will inevitably be shaken or shattered when the lie is esposed. Sometimes it's the case that one of the partners in a couple will fib to spare the other's feelings. These "little white lies" can have a devastating impact on a relationship, however, because when exposed, it will usually be interpreted as an expression that the partner lied to couldn't handle the truth.

The final foundation of good relationships is forgiveness, which derives from true love. We learn from birth that not one of us is perfect - to err, they say, is human, and to forgive, divine. Too often, partners in a relationship will claim to forgive each other, but in the heat of an argument will dredge up these past sins they claim to have forgiven. Forgiveness doesn't mean stashing transgressions away like ammunition for use later on - it means erasing them and moving forward. Forgiveness is one of the most honest manifestations of the love two people can have for each other.

Couples for whom these three elements form the basis of the relationship can be assured of many happy years together. Far more relationships are broken up than survive, and the cause of that dissolution is often the lack of one or more of these crucial elements. Couples who want to remain couples and realize that their relationship is missing one of these components, like a stool with fewer than three legs, had better start work immediately to start growing the foundation of communication, trust and forgiveness that characterizes the greatest relationships of all time.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Steiner enjoys helping men deal with the conflicts and challenges they experience in relating with women and helping them form successful relationships.

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