TED Conversations

Ray Jamieson

Author and teacher,

This conversation is closed.

What are the three things you believe are most important in making a relationship better? What have been your experiences?

In my fifties, I have discovered a GREAT relationship. However, I thought I had it before, and for a variety of reasons, those relationships failed. Looking back, I can see why, and I know that although I had my failings, a couple of times those relationship failures had nothing to do with me - circumstances over which I had no direct control intervened and changed everything.

However, now I have found what I was really looking for and we are married, committed to each other "for this world and the next", which we put into our wedding vows.

The three things I place most importance on are:
1: Listening. I now take time to listen intently to what Susan is talking about. There's a couple of reasons, not the least being that she is incredibly intelligent and is always worth listening to. However, it's always interesting - she is from the far side of the planet to me, a 12 hour time zone difference, and there is so much we want to learn about each other's different life experiences.
2: Time to talk and share. Not just time watching TV, but time invested in doing things together, such as developing the business, discussing strategies, as well as talking about life, family, what to do at Christmas, and much more. Time to share, to express and to just BE together.
2: Honesty. We had a learning experience early on, when I had some issues with an Ex that I thought I could resolve on my own. Bad move. Susan not only had better ideas about it, she understood the other end of the situation, being female, and could make suggestions that worked. However, not telling her everything early on delayed the resolution and hurt her too, as she wondered firstly if there were trust issues, and secondly, she wondered if there was "anything else!"

What are the three things that you believe are most important in improving a relationship, or repairing/retrieving a failed relationship?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 14 2013: I guess this issue will remain unanswered, since there is no key to happy and joyous relationships. Different people need different things, and it would be a challenge to single out some universals. Anyway, I reckon there is a bunch of things one needs to take into consideration if you find the relationship serious.

    First and foremost, there must be a divine particle. I am absolutely serious here, it is something beyond our understanding, beyond words. It happens when you are around the person you are in love with, you do not want this moment to end. Whether happy or miserable, you want to run to them and share your thoughts or emotions. It is your final destination, just 'your person".

    It must be somebody you trust, who can guide you through your successes and failures without judgement, but with a healthy dose of criticism. I believe it must be somebody whose presence does not trouble you in the long run - you can sit next to each other in silence and it does not feel awkward.

    I would also enumerate tolerance and ability to have a comprise. There will be plenty of instances along the way when we simply don't agree on fundamental matters. Of course we can force our own mindset and view, but for both sides to be happy, sometimes we will need to give up our own comfort and happiness for the sake of our beloved one.
    • Nov 14 2013: I LOVE your "Divine Particle" concept. I hadn't heard it expressed that way before and it works for me.

      Your other two points are great also, and very important. Especially the 'comfortable silence' point. Filling up your lives with rubbish, so as not to feel uncomfortable with a space is crucial. So many fall into that trap and then lose the ability to communicate when necessary...
    • thumb
      Nov 14 2013: Excellent post, I too like your concept of the "divine particle." You are quite right on the the fact that this concept is something beyond our understanding, as even with my previous long-term relationships, I had found myself experiencing a bond of which words alone can't really describe. In my post, I simply described this concept as "love," yet such a bond truly extends beyond shared feelings, interests, and personality traits.

      What I find quite interesting is why this "divine particle" can be relatively one-sided. In other words, the feeling that an individual is "just your person" does not necessitate that this individual has the same feelings. Speaking from experience, sometimes a relationship can be "forced," leaving one individual to feel more strongly than the other. That being said, I believe that a successful relationship hinges upon both individuals feeling just as strongly for one another.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.