Relationships – The Three Keys

Old Married Couple

Love endures all

Angela and I are well on our way to number 30 (wedding anniversary) and I wanted to capture the basis of the time that I’ve spent with that significant other in my life – it’s not always been easy; but, we’ve managed to make the most of the more than thirty years and I wanted to share what I believed to be the principles by which we’ve lived to arrive at this point.

Thirty years is a long time.  Not too long ago, life expectancy wasn’t much longer that that.  Much less, to say that you’ve been

with another person for that length of time is a really special achievement.  More than an achievement a process of learning and becoming that transcends the time and continues as the relationship grows, matures, and is sustained.  It’s not always been easy; but, it’s arriving at this point and looking back over the years that makes it all worth while.  In getting here, I believe that there are three principles that we have adopted, that when understood, will shed some light on how we’ve made it this far and why we will continue.  Three principles that I believe can be applied to most any situation in varying degrees to insure success or as they say ‘positive outcomes’.

The three attributes of our relationship that I believe to be the foundation are:  Understanding, Tolerance, and Compassion.

Understanding is that ability I’ve discussed before – the ability to put oneself in another’s position and try and see their point of view; to put yourself in their shoes; understand their point of view.  To gain insight into that person.  I chose this first as without it the other two – Tolerance and Compassion – can never happen.

Tolerance is that ability to let someone be, to do, and to think.  As much as it is about allowing, tolerance is about applying the first principle to understand and then allow; but, allow with understanding that there is a point of view, a belief, an idea that exists in an equally viable manner as that which we may have as one being contradictory or as a different point of view.  It’s allowing both sides of the argument to exist equally; both sides of the coin to be viewed simultaneously.  Tolerance does not imply agreement rather the acceptance that two points of view can exist at the same time and be equally valid.

Compassion is that ability to unconditionally love to be sympathetic and consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  It’s developing that nonjudgmental understanding of someone and their need or quest for healing and to be that conduit or vehicle in the healing process.

So, when I think back across the thirty plus years about a relationship that has evolved, changed and continues to have ‘positive outcomes’, for me these are the three guiding principles that have kept me grounded and things on track.  They have served me well for the past thirty and I believe they will continue to do so for another thirty.