Chemistry, Character and Commitment.
Not too long ago, we were talking about family matters, a friend, my husband (Tariq), and I. Our friend is divorced and has raised some intelligent, thoughtful, children. Her parenting and relationship experiences, fine-tuned and paid for (most recently) with the intentional sacrifice of another intimate relationship, are helpful to many others in her circle of friends and family. She had deliberately postponed another intimate relationship (marriage), waiting until her children were grown up. In the interim, she has attended workshops, took classes and earnestly sought to improve her relationship skills.
Now the two youngest children were over 18 and she was ready to prepare for a lasting marriage. Suddenly, she leaned forward and said, “Krsnanandini and Tariq, I am looking for three things in a mate: “Chemistry, character and commitment”. We commended her for this succinct yet apt description of some very universal, very basic relationship requirements. Last month, we discussed the law of relationship order, which highlights the process of meeting someone, and the sequential stages involved in developing a healthy relationship. This month, our newsletter showcases these three concepts, chemistry, character and commitment, in the context of identifying a person with whom you choose to begin the relationship process in the first place.
For most of us, marriage is a social, religious or community institution where two people, preferably with the blessings of their family and community, agree that they will live peacefully and cooperatively together to love and nurture each other, their children, their families and their communities.
So how will such an important, long-term relationship be decided? Who will you choose? Culture, education, family and so many things must be considered. All of these factors can come under the heading of Chemistry, character and commitment.
Chemistry is significant because it frequently demonstrates a physical and/or mental compatibility and attraction. This is often the way nature allows us to be drawn to a possible mate in the first place.
Character covers a lot of territory including family and cultural background, integrity and education. “Is this person truthful, clean, friendly?”
Commitment – A person who is willing to invest his/her time, energy, and other resources along with vows to serve, love and honor is demonstrating commitment. You can examine how a potential spouse may be committed in other areas: his/her parental, religious or social duties as well as commitment to self-improvement or personal growth.
Chemistry, character and commitment are three smooth stones that can defeat the Goliath of apprehension and uncertainty about whether or not you should proceed to develop a relationship with another individual.
Taken together, these three factors, should determine whether or not you move forward to develop a relationship. Chemistry, without the added factors of character and commitment is not enough to produce a healthy, satisfying marriage or relationship. And, character without chemistry and commitment is not sufficient. Once you make the choice to proceed, then the sequential, developmental relationship steps described in our November 2008 newsletter, should be followed to arrive at a healthy, enduring relationship.
Dear Relationship Coach,
We are on the verge of divorce. My husband and I have been married for almost five years and our marriage has been filled with words and actions that I find it hard to forgive. My family and some friends will be very disappointed but I can’t get out of my mind and heart some of the hurtful things he has done over the past five years. Now, it appears that he wants to change and be really committed to the marriage but I am not at all sure I can forgive him for the infidelity, the lies and the lack of support. We have two children, both from previous marriages. What do you suggest?
Bitter in Illinois
Thank you for an honest letter and for sharing your pain. You don’t mention physical abuse, so I will assume there has been none. You mention the word forgive twice and this indicates that this is precisely what you need to do, with or without a divorce, for your own growth. Forgiveness is a process however, and a choice that an individual makes when he or she is ready to be really healthy. It has little to do with the other person! Many, many people are walking around with spiritual or emotional wounds because they have not forgiven others. Forgiveness does not mean you have to accept abuse, nor does it even mean that you must remain in the proximity of someone who has offended you. For detailed information on the Forgiveness process, you can order our workshop: Journey of Forgiveness: Healing Yourself and Others for $5 (the written workshop) or $10 (CD plus the written workshop, complete, includes worksheet and detailed analysis of Forgiveness) from Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute, 3320 Beechwood Avenue, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118.
Prices include shipping and handling. Or order directly online by going to the link on this website: DZFI store .
If your husband is willing, we suggest that you seek out skilled relationship education or counseling. Now more than ever, you can find trained concerned marriage/family educators or marriage/family therapists who can assist you both to heal and develop healthier relationship skills. (See our website www.dzfi.org for marriage educators or www.smartmarriages.com which lists hundreds of services) Infidelity alone, while extremely devastating and painful, does not mean that a marriage cannot survive and eventually thrive. With time, patience, forgiveness and getting improved relationship skills, there is hope for a healthy marriage even after infidelity. For further help see www.DearPeggy.com, a website of the Beyond Affairs Network (BAN). BAN is a network of local support groups for men and women who are dealing with the devastating impact of a spouse’s affair.
What’s Happening at DZFI?
Upcoming S.E.L.F. (Singles Evaluating Life and Family) Healthy Relationship Course
March 2009. 10-week comprehensive, interactive, course, 1 session per week. Send email address to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to register and for more information.