4 Vital Ingredients for Vibrant Relationships

Life is about relationships. Deep down inside, we know this. We all yearn to connect with others and interact positively with them. We want to open our hearts to them, and have them open theirs to us. We want to share our thoughts and dreams with them, and have them share theirs with us. Having meaningful relationships is a must.

I feel very fortunate to have many meaningful and flourishing relationships in my life. When I reflect on these relationships – the relationship with my wife and kids, the relationship with my parents and siblings, the relationship with my close friends, and even, believe it or not, the relationship with my in-laws – I find four ingredients that are common to all. I believe these are vital ingredients for strong, healthy and vibrant relationships.

  1. Care. Relationships are like flowers – they wither if they’re not cared for. They need to be watered by kind, affectionate words, exposed to the sun of our warm presence, and pruned of any prickle of misunderstanding and resentment.
  2. Communication. Maintaining open lines of communication can be hard, but it’s crucial to the survival and success of a relationship. Genuinely caring about another person builds trust, which makes open communication possible. Without trust, we usually hide behind the wall of self-protection, and it’s hard to communicate with someone hiding behind a wall.
  3. Commonality. We establish solid bonds with those with whom we share things in common: shared values, shared experiences, or shared goals. To build strong relationships, we must focus on our commonalities rather than on our differences (i.e. on things that bring us together rather than things that push us apart).
  4. Commitment. Commitment is the driving force that keeps a relationship moving forward. Commitment is required whether the relationship is cruising on a flat, clean, well-paved highway or staggering on a rough, rocky road; but the relationship is really tested when it’s on the rough, rocky road. Every relationship undergoes tests, but commitment to its success keeps it alive.

We should be intentional about making these ingredients part of our recipe for building vibrant relationships. Indeed, we should care more for our loved ones, communicate with them on a deeper level, focus on things we have in common, and renew our commitment to them.

Questions: Which ingredient do you find the hardest to integrate to your “recipe” for building relationships? Why? You can leave a comment below.