Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"The Perfect Relationship"

This summer I developed a personal theory of "the perfect relationship" that essentially challenges conventional conceptions of dating and relationships. My theory has been informed by scholarship regarding dating and relationships (various texts and manuscripts I've read throughout my academic preparation) as well as personal experiences (my own and those of my friends). It is necessary to include a disclaimer that I do not believe "the perfect relationship" exists or is even possible, which is why the word perfect is surrounded by parentheses through this blog post.

The perfect relationship does not exist somewhere “out there” contingent upon finding the “perfect” person. Similarly, finding the perfect “one” for you (if such a “one” even exists) does not guarantee a perfect relationship. Rather, the perfect relationship is not to be found, it is to be co-created.

Of course there are some fundamental elements that are necessary for the creation of a “perfect” relationship. The elements which I have identified at this point may be referred to as the four Cs and include: compatibility, chemistry, contentment, and commitment.

The first element is compatibility, which includes: personality, core values & beliefs, and lifestyles. I have learned from experience that (as disheartening as this may be) love is not enough. You can love someone with all you have but if you are not compatible it will not last.

The second prerequisite for the creation of a “perfect” relationship is chemistry. Although there is definitely a degree of chemistry present in all relationships (including friendships) I believe that chemistry distinguishes a friendship trajectory from a romantic one. For me, the chemistry is either there or it’s not. There are various types of chemistry (see previous blog) but there must be some romantic chemistry to spark the relationship.

The third element, contentment, indicates that each individual is content with who they are and where they are in life. If you aren’t content with yourself you can’t be content within a relationship (you’ll constantly be seeking something or someone else). A similar and closely related principle is if you don’t love yourself you can’t love someone else. I believe that love of oneself and contentment are intertwined and mutually reinforce one another.

The fourth fundamental element necessary for the creation of the “perfect” relationship is commitment. This means that BOTH individuals must be willing and able to commit to one another and to the relationship. Relationships require effort and often the conscious choice or decision to commit. Individuals must be willing to make the decision to commit to one another and to the relationship on a daily basis.

Throughout my dating history I have experienced various combinations of the above elements. Some relationships lacked long-term compatibility whereas others lacked the ability or willingness to commit. Regardless, each relationship ended because at least one of the four elements was lacking providing anecdotal evidence from my own dating history.

I am searching for "the perfect relationship." However, I use this term to indicate an enduring relationship that meets all of the above fundamental elements. Although this theory is currently a work in progress, a sermon series at church, which applies a Kingdom perspective to relationships, has served as an impetus for me to post this theory publicly and critique it utilizing a Kingdom paradigm (next blog).