ONE: THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES
Romantic relationships can be especially confusing when you’re trying to answer important questions like:
• Should I continue dating this person?
• What’s keeping us from progressing in this relationship?
• What’s causing us to fight?
• How can I improve this relationship?
• Why did this person break up with me?
• Did I make a mistake breaking up with this person?
• Should I marry this person?
• Should we stay married?
• Should I stay or should I go?
Let’s be honest, it can be a challenge to know how to answer these important questions in romantic relationships because so much is at stake. After all, we may spend the rest of our lives with this person! As the saying goes “... till death do us part,” or given current divorce statistics the saying could more accurately be “... till one of us wants to kill the other person!”
Answering these confusing relationship questions is also difficult because so many powerful emotions are involved. Especially since these emotions are often based on past events in our lives and childhoods that we’ve carried along for a potentially long time. These issues or “baggage” often get in the way of us having healthy romantic relationships. Thanks Mom and Dad.
The Four Factors are the minimum set of ingredients of a good romantic relationship. That is, they provide a necessary condition to having a healthy relationship. Think of The Four Factors as the legs of the romantic table. When they are working the table is steady and level and supports the relationship (and the great Italian meal sitting on it). But when one or more legs are weak or missing, the table is unstable and may even fall and the relationship is more challenging. We’ve all been there when the table comes crashing down and we end up covered in ravioli and Chianti.
Since this concept is so important, let’s say it again: The Four Factors are the minimum set of factors such that if any one factor is removed the relationship can be a struggle. That is, each factor is a deal-breaker in order to have a good romantic relationship. (I’ll demonstrate this later.) This is not to say that you can’t have a relationship based on less than The Four Factors, but that if you do it will be much more challenging compared to a romantic relationship in which all of The Four Factors are working well. I think we all deserve and want a romantic relationship where it’s good or great and not just ok or even poor.
By now you must be wondering what are The Four Factors. I don’t want to keep you in suspense. The Four Factors are: ...