In working with couples over the last twenty years, it seems like the ingredients we wish to include in our recipe for a long-term relationship are: Chemistry, Compatibility and Commitment.
Each of us expresses these ingredients to varying degrees and we give them different importance and priority. However, to be truly happy over the long haul, we need to create some kind of balance.
CHEMISTRY is that intangible, unspoken, energetic that results in those incredible feelings of romance, longing, lust and sexual excitement. We all want to experience that relationship chemistry. Is it genetic, caused by the proper DNA match or is it psychologically based? Or is it perhaps some combination of the two or something else entirely? Does anyone know how it really is created or is it more a “we know it when we feel it” sort of thing? Whatever it is, WE WANT IT!
COMPATIBILITY is the key to sustaining a relationship over the long haul. It provides the qualities that bond us over the ups and downs of life, that keep us going. It’s the quality that makes life a little sweeter for us. It can include the areas of well-matched interests, common backgrounds, and similar values. Even though sharing common beliefs is important, it is even MORE important to be accepting and tolerant of our partner and our DIFFERENCES. That is truly what makes us compatible.
COMMITMENT is that attitude, that decision, that choice that gives us a sense of security and permanence. It gives us a perspective, so that when the going gets tough, we remember WHY we are together and it gives us the strength to keep on keeping on. We have created a “shared vision” of our relationship and we take the steps necessary to stay true to that vision. This is TRULY what commitment is.
Each of us in stronger or more dominant in one of the three C’s. One may be a higher priority for us. One may be more crucial and touch us in a deeper place. The absence of one may be a “dealbreaker” for us, while the absence of a different one may be the issue for our partner.
The stereotypes, of course, are that men are more into the relationship chemistry and that women are more into the relationship commitment. While there may be truth to this, I find that my couples counseling practice reveals to me MANY exceptions to these generalizations. In fact, I just started seeing three new couples last week and in all three (heterosexual) couples, one of the biggest issues is that the wife wants more sex than the husband!
And certainly, we all want someone who we are compatible with. Yet, compatibility without relationship chemistry is like living with a roommate. Which is fine if that’s what you choose to do. Many couples come to see me because they are living this way, and want it to be different. They want to get back to that honeymoon, passionate stage. And I help the majority of them to accomplish this!
One major tool that I utilize, is the fourth ‘C’ which is COMMUNICATION! But I’ll save that for another post.
In the meantime, what is YOUR dominant ‘C’ and how do you negotiate the 3 C’s with YOUR partner? Please comment below and let me know.
Thanks so much,
Dr. Adam Sheck
If you’re interested in more of my thoughts about relationships and creating passion, please download my Free Special Reports, “20 Rituals For Romance!” and “The Secret To Owning Your Mission!” by subscribing to the Passion Doctor Newsletter at the top of this page.