Qualities of Relationship vs. Characteristics of Partners
When asked to picture an ideal relationship, people often create a picture that focuses on the particular characteristics they would like in a partner. For instance: “I want a mate who makes me laugh, is a great lover, has lots of money”, and so forth. This approach to developing relationships is limiting and puts the onus of responsibility for success on the other person. It can set you up for failure.
You can however, shift your perspective just a little and consider an ideal relationship in terms of qualities of the relationship itself. In chapter one we advised you to treat your relationship as if it was a third entity that you were responsible to and responsible for. Framing your relationship in terms of qualities of the relationship, rather than characteristics of each other is one way to accomplish this. For example, change I want: “a mate who makes me laugh” to I want “a relationship that is lots of fun”; “a mate who is a great lover” to “a relationship that is sexually satisfying”; and “a mate who has lots of money” to “a relationship that is financially secure.” This approach gives you as much power and responsibility for creating success as it does your partner.
It’s crucial that you understand the difference—one is about developing something with your lover, the other is expecting your partner to possess certain traits that will make things happen for you. Partners bring their characteristics with them into the relationship whereas partners co-create qualities of the relationship. The essence of qualities is that they are inseparable from the relationship itself. They are an expression of how the two of you relate to and with each other.
Examples of relationship qualities are:
- Honest open communication from the heart
- Passionate sexuality
- Making relationship the most important thing
- Hot monogamy with fidelity
Once you determine what qualities are most important to you in relationship then what matters is the match of those qualities between you and your partner. By concentrating on qualities you both want, you can take action to manifest them in your life together, indefinitely into old age.