As you learn more about a potential partner, it is important to constantly be evaluating your relationship to determine if it is a good fit for you. Also, remember, relationships take time to develop, and it is only over this time that you can come to truly know a person.
The following are four areas to help you appraise your relationship. Since it is always helpful to use a mnemonic device to remember items, I’ve devised one that will assist you in remembering these categories, as well as remembering who told you about them!
If you say ELNG aloud, it is Ellen G (Gerst)! However, there is a deeper meaning, too!
E is for Elasticity
L is for Lifestyle
N is for Nature (inherent)
G is for Goals
Elasticity. Elasticity, which is the ability to be flexible, appreciate a foreign method of dealing with certain circumstances or simply to go with the flow, is an attractive personality trait. Similar to when you are raising children, in a romantic relationship it is also important to pick your battles. While deciding on how you attend to your finances is important, whether you eat Italian or Chinese food is not. Additionally, life is full of “stuff” coming up. Watching how well a person can adapt to a change in plans is very enlightening. If one cannot change gears without major drama, you may want to consider if this person will be able to handle a time when an earth shattering event occurs.
Lifestyle. You may be attracted to a person’s physical and emotional being at the beginning of a relationship. Accordingly, you may start to feel as if this this person seems to be on the “same page” as you. However, as the relationship develops you may find that you have completely different lifestyles; he is a sports fanatic and you are a museum lover or he never picks up a book and you are a voracious reader.
It has been shown that couples who enjoy activities in common have a much better chance of growing together. And, it does not count if one partner just suffers the activity to make the other happy! What you end up with is lots of groans and rolled eyes and eventual dissatisfaction. Now, partners need not be tied at the hip; simply evaluate how wide the berth is between the things done together and those done apart. The more shared leisure activities, in most instances, the more joy you can experience together.
Inherent Nature. Personalities may match, values may be the same and lifestyle choices are coordinated; however, the partners’ basic natures may still not be singing in harmony. That is — the way each of you approach a situation may come from completely opposite directions. Now, if you and your partner can be flexible (see above) then all may be well. However, if tolerability is not a strong suit, problems can arise. For example, if one person is calm and methodical and the other is hyperactive and rash, it is sometimes difficult to reach a meeting of the minds. Pay attention, also, to the rhythm and pacing of each other’s live; it is easier when they play in concord.
Goals. It is important for partners to share similar goals or the same life purpose. No matter how much love is shared, it would be very difficult, for example, if one partner were devoutly religious and based all of his/her actions and activities around that religion, while the other partner wanted to lead a more hedonistic lifestyle. It is wonderful to romanticize life and think that love can conquer all; however, strong unions between partners usually are formed when the practicalities of life are considered as well the love that exists.
The world may tell us that opposites attract, and this may be true in the short term. However, it is also very difficult to live with someone whom approaches life from the other end of the spectrum from you.
The above are only four areas to which to be attuned when evaluating your relationship.
A part of this post is an excerpt from Love After Loss: Writing the Rest of Your Story. Love After Loss is now available as both an e-book via my website or as a paperback via amazon.com.
I have some extra copies of the paperback edition available on Amazon and will offer them at a special price of $10.00 + shipping (Amazon price: $14.95 + shipping). Order below and also receive a free e-book, Spiritual Tips & Thoughts.