Aleteia

3 Things that make our relationships last

COUPLE
By Bricolage | Shutterstock
Share

Building unity takes time and generosity.

How can we remain united with the people we love? Unity is a value everyone recognizes, but sometimes it’s difficult to make it a reality in our friendships and family relationships. Sometimes it may seem our relationships are doomed to be temporary, and not to work out and prosper over time.

Of course, none of us want to be separated from the people we love. Even if our siblings or other family members live far away from us, we aspire to keep a strong affective bond with them. The same is true of our friends. We all want to have unbreakable friendships for life.

Having a strong bond with others that lasts forever isn’t just what we want the most; it has been scientifically proven that it brings many benefits to our spiritual, mental, and physical health. Especially in a marriage, if we are strongly united as spouses, it results in a more prosperous and secure family where we are happier and experience less depression than people who aren’t as united.

When spouses have a relationship that works, there’s also a positive positive effect on their children. They’re more likely to finish school and be emotionally healthy, less likely to use drugs or alcohol, to commit suicide, and to have an unwanted pregnancy or suffer sexual abuse. They also tend to suffer less from attention disorders, violence, and juvenile delinquency.

Nonetheless, many people lose hope that a relationship can last because of difficult experiences they’ve had. They want love that will last a lifetime, but they don’t believe it’s possible. Although it can be a great challenge, it truly is possible to forge strongly united relationships. Here are three key factors that can help us:

1
Treat other people as an end, not as a means

Sometimes we get used to using other people and then abandoning them when we don’t need them anymore. It might seem that what we’re looking for in our relationships is to establish a variety of connections and have them available in case we need them. When we do need them, we turn to them, but then we forget them afterwards and move on.

This could seem like a practical and interesting approach, but in the long term, it leaves us lonely and tired. Nobody likes to be used and tossed aside, and eventually we’ll burn all our bridges. Utility cannot be the criteria with which we handle our personal relationships. Instead, our relationships would be centered on each person with their unique value, so that we treat them with dignity and love, not as an object.

2
Training ourselves to love

It’s truly paradoxical that we speak about love as the most important thing in our lives and as what gives meaning do everything else, and yet, we don’t think about how to prepare for our relationships.

Many of us study for years to prepare ourselves for a profession, sometimes spending years in a college or university and building up huge debt just to prepare for our dream job. Similarly, if we want to play a sport, we spend hours and days training and preparing. We should do the same thing when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

In order to be able to forge strong, united relationships, we need to form habits of generosity, empathy, and self-sacrifice, by exercising those virtues on a daily basis.

3
Learning to respect our commitments to others

As in other areas of our lives, we have to learn to respect the commitments we make in our relationships. Without wanting to, we can give more importance to our duties to the state, such as paying taxes, then we give to fulfilling our responsibilities towards the people we love and with whom we have made profound personal commitments.

When we make a commitment to someone, it’s a voluntary act that concretizes our desire to be united to someone now and in the future. If we live our commitments willingly and actively, we will be building a future of shared happiness.