The secret of a good relationship

It is easy to find stories about broken relationships, but hard to find success stories of real and happy marriages. Either they do not exist or instead - because somehow boring – are not part of the public media.

But it is about time to speak about the secret of a successful and long-term relationship: Despite the daily revelation of failed relationship there was never a time in history when more people lived together with one and the same partner than today. How is it possible to love someone continuously who changes not only the internal appearance but – even worse – the external appearance? How is it possible to survive all the real difficulties of a serious relationship over and over again? What is the secret of a relationship which has no similarity any more to what it looked like in the beginning? What is thought, felt and assessed in a long-term relationship? More important, what is not thought, felt and assessed?

Dance of Love
The first explanation is not surprising: It is love. But not as a feeling as many people wrongly think, but as a coordination of consensual behaviour. Like a dance, all information is shared, not only about the people ‘outside’ but also about the things which concern both. A Dance of Love which creates its own world and relates its own meaning to it. The differences and injustices are no great concern when the Dance of Love is felt strongly. Just like a Dance!

Long-term problems
To choose a long-term partner is to choose some long-term problems. It is obvious that most of the couples never solve their problems. It is not important for the secret of a good relationship if problems are solved. Instead it is important how problems – also often unsuccessful – are solved. The solutions of problems in a relationship and in a therapy are overrated and even an illusion. Successful couples try to solve their problems not through hurtful and degrading behaviour but through taking a break, humour and respect.

Forgive and Forget
Expectations will be destroyed and guilt will be allocated in the course of a relationship. For these disappointments we expect an apology. We want that there will be justice. The idea of justice is one of the hardest and deepest illusions. Relationships will be destroyed on this battlefield of Right, Justice and Compensation. Instead the secret of a happy relationship is more founded on the possibility of forgiveness. The person who does not forgive, forgives his live – or his relationship. Forgive and Forget is a formula for peace. The expression ‘never forget’, on the other hand, is a call for fight.

The positive force
It is a common saying that the success of a relationship is founded upon a realistic view. But a reciprocal miscalculation and misjudgement about the partner is more plausible. First people in love show themselves from their best side. That this is not the whole truth is a common argument in front of the judge. The disillusion is perfect – and it is not truer than the picture of being in love. A good argument then is this: Think your partner beautiful and believe in the positive force of wrong perception. A participant of my seminar said it in this way: ‘When I gain weight he said I like women with overweight. When I was slimmer he said he likes slim women. Then the time came when I understood that he loves me.’

Life happens
Most of the literature and advice to live a successful relationship is based on the autonomy and the self-determined creation of a relationship combined with sexual realization. Every failure is a mistake of self-management. Through this we forget that live happens and just sometimes is actively determined. Perhaps the attempt to form a long-term relationship is the very reason for the failure of so many relationships.