We all know when building a home, that the foundation and framework are the first two vital steps to long-lasting, quality construction. Most of us have witnessed what can happen when shoddy material or fly-by-night contractors throw up a house in record time only to have problems arise in short order.
The frame is the skeleton, or bones, if you will, of the entire structure. When done right, it holds everything together. If short cuts are made, or inferior materials used, it will soon start to fail.
Building strong dating/marriage relationships is very similar to constructing a house.
We can follow basic house framing techniques to help build a partnership that will stand the test of time and trials.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the similarities.
The most basic place to start is the foundation. Perfectly framed walls will have nowhere to stand without a foundation to attach to. The foundation for a home is usually made of concrete, stone or brick. See the common thread there? Yes, strength and stability.
What are the foundations of a healthy relationship?
Honesty – The first rule in a healthy relationship is honesty. Without the truth, little else will matter. Now I don’t mean the hurtful, say-it-like-it-is-no-matter-what, truth. I’m talking about being honest about intentions, insecurities and your feelings. Never lead anyone on just to keep from being lonely and never hide information in a false attempt to look good.
Trust – Trust is the twin to honesty. Both partners need to be able to trust the other. This is built over time and is a direct result of open communication and doing what you say you will do.
Fairness – We don’t hear much about fairness these days, but I believe it is very important. There are too many relationships where one person gets all the attention, makes all the decisions, has the last say. This is not how a successful partnership works.
I understand some will go along to get along, but that builds resentment. Each person has a right to be heard and acknowledged. That doesn’t mean you will have to do everything your other half wants, but it does mean you listen and come to a compromise. And vice versa.
Compatibility – Yes, opposites attract, but attraction doesn’t equal endurance. I’m not suggesting you should date your clone to thrive, but the chances of a long-lasting relationship do increase if some core characteristics are shared.
After the foundation is established and ready, the walls can be constructed. The first job is to square the frame. In layman/woman terms, this means it is level both horizontally and vertically. As one side/wall of a relationship, you need to make sure your frame is squared.
In other words, get your act together.
If you are not emotionally ready to start a relationship, then don’t. It is ok to need time after a break-up, or if you are a single parent with children to consider. No one (not even yourself) should be pressuring you to date. If your heart and mind are not squared up, the walls of the relationship will be in jeopardy.
When building a home, the walls go up in stages. First, one wall is built, erected and supported and then another wall goes through the same process. Then a third, support wall is built, erected and all three are joined together.
In a relationship, each separate outer wall represents both individuals. Each person is responsible to build their own life separate from the other. You cannot expect your partner to be your complete support system. You each need be grounded and able to stand on your own. You need your own interests, ideas, and a host of other ‘support’ (family, friends, faith).
When two independent and healthy people come together to form a union, LOVE is the third support wall that forms the connection. It is that strong emotional support that holds it all together.
Another key element in the framing of a house is consistent space. This provides strength to the overall structure. There are some valuable traits within a relationship that need to be consistently displayed.
Integrity - Treat your partner with respect and the way you wish to be treated. Honor their wishes and openly communicate through problems and issues and then follow through with what you say you will do.
Morals - Stay true to your partner. This covers all aspects of behavior. Avoid temptations and 'innocent' communication with those of the opposite sex. I'm not saying you can't have friends, but keep healthy boundaries and avoid situations that could look questionable to your partner.
Kindness - It's amazing how just a little kindness goes a long way. It is a renewable resource. Small, but intentional, acts of kindness will strengthen your relationship. We all have bad days, but kindness builds upon itself and provides a protective layer to withstand storms.
In addition to the nails used to hold together the walls, a good contractor also utilizes an additional level of adhesive for extra durability. I would like to suggest that in a relationship, this glue is laughter!
The world showers us with negativity. There is enough evil and sadness to go around. Having someone who makes you laugh, that helps you relax and unwind, that’s the connection that fills in the cracks life throws our way.
Be Your Own Emotional Contractor
If you want a brick and mortar house, you can pay someone to build it, or buy one already finished. But when it comes to prime intimacy real estate, YOU need to be the one in charge.
Do not let others dictate your relationship building plans. Know when you are ready, and then carefully and lovingly seek to construct the house that LOVE builds!
Hope With Abandon