There are countless contributing factors to a successful relationship between two people, but three stand out to me as being critically important: There must be mutual respect, there must be a communication process in place and there must be an unshakable commitment on both sides, so that bailing out is not a viable option.
If I had to choose one only, it would be the first one, because under the auspices of mutual respect, falls everything else. If you respect one another, then you talk to one another and you have each other’s backs, things you can only do properly if you are in it for the long haul.
If you have mutual respect, then you are not being cruel, either physically or emotionally, and you use communication to solve issues as they arise. One misconception that frequently surfaces, though, when talking about relationships, is the notion that anger has no place.
That is patently incorrect because anger is a natural human response to life’s trials and tribulations. The key is how you handle your anger and how frequently it surfaces. The myth that the couple that never fights is the ideal couple, is ludicrous.
If it were indeed true, it would be the most bland association in the history of mankind. On the other hand, if anger flares up continuously, then there are deeper causes that should be investigated.
No, there are simply times when communication has taken place, agreements have been made and then one partner decides to go ahead and break an agreement-possibly for the third, fourth or fifth time.
You have had the patient, explanatory conversation-twice-the more direct approach once, and an angry silence after that. Time goes by and things remain at a standstill until the confidence is again broken, the lame explanation presented and the pressure that has built, like that boiling water in the pan of rice, surging up just before you flip the burner down to simmer, finally blows.
There is always going to be that one time when the wood stove suddenly decides to start spewing smoke, the dog is barfing on the rug and you have to stop what you are doing, including watching the rice, to take care of business, until you hear the hissing from the overflowing water hitting the burner.
Similarly, in the relationship, patience has run out, the resolve to remain calm follows like the lamb after Mary, and the rice water doesn’t just flow placidly over the top of the rice pan-it blows the fucking lid right off the stove.
Good Buddha, justified anger, in all of its naked fury, from someone who does not express anger in that manner, is an extraordinary thing to behold. When fear is not a factor, because there has never been a reason for fear, anger becomes an emotion capable of moving mountains.
Or even capable of finally establishing a simple point, instead of having to get one’s attention with a baseball bat, metaphorically speaking.
The fact remains that this level of anger should rarely be necessary, if the three components for a successful relationship are in place, but necessary it is, upon occasion, when all else fails.
See, the rice won’t cook until the water boils, but if it keeps boiling, the rice won’t cook either because the water will flow out over the top of the pan and put the burner out. The secret is to get the water hot, control it, and then take advantage of that energy to produce something tasty.
So in recognizing that anger is a tool, nothing more or less, the trick is to be able to utilize the tool to its greatest degree, in the least amount of time possible, so as not to wear out the effectiveness of this device.
Then, once the anger tool is put away, you can get out the make-up sex tool, and put it to use. Unlike the anger tool, the latter has no shelf-life, and you can’t wear it out.