Most people enter into a relationship with the intention of making it work, with the hope of deriving joy together, with the goal of being together. The intentions are as noble as the partners themselves. However, why do relationships that looked solid and iconic as the Taj Mahal once come crumbling down like a sandcastle? In the last few posts, I have been writing on relationships, especially marriage, and today I bring to you the key to everlasting relationships. My core philosophy that can help you understand relationships better and live the one of your dreams.A good relationship has four pillars, columns of strength and togetherness. The building of any close relationship stands on these four pillars. Spacious and cozy rooms of faith, love, respect, intimacy and understanding are built on these pillars. If the foundation is strong, you can withstand, with remarkable ease, storms of mutual and personal crisis, floods of turmoil, tides of emotions and a whole heap of other unprecedented circumstances and adversities.

The four pillars of a relationship are the four types of securities. Think of relationship as an individual entity, a building if you will. Your job is to ensure the strength of these four pillars, the four different types of security. Each pillar is equally important. So, here they are:

1. The pillar of financial security

One of the most important factors in the survival of any relationship is financial security. It is your financial well being alone that will ensure a roof over your head among fulfillment of other basic requirements. Loving is tough with empty stomach, and living, next to impossible. If you are not financially secure or you cannot provide financial security to your partner, your relationship can fall apart any day. In a marriage, if you cannot run the house on one salary, chances are, your borrowing or spending is outside the bounds of affordability, or your finances are poorly managed. If both partners are earning and one were to lose their job, are you able to provide security to the other partner? In other words, does your partner feel safe that you can provide an umbrella during the rainy days? If yes, give yourself a pat on the back and mark it a tick. And, if you also have a savings plan you follow, bonus points to you. Twenty five percent of your relationship is taken care of. One fourth of harmony is resting on solid foundation.

2. The pillar of physical security

Are you there for each other physically? Physical security is not just about protecting your partner, it is not about being macho or a superhero; that might help though! By physical security I mean much more than that, I am referring to an act of intimacy, of being physically together. Interestingly, people enter into a marital or similar relationship driven by their physical and emotional needs and as time goes by many either downplay such needs or start seeking gratification from other sources. Vedic scriptures permit union of a man and woman only for the purposes of procreation. The upside was a novelty remained in the relationship and the downside was either starvation or too many offsprings! If your partner can depend on you for physical protection in the hour of need as well as look up to you for fulfillment of his physical needs, your relationship can weather great crisis. The need for sense gratification goes on the back-burner over a period of time; it continues to simmer and seethe there, I may add. The need for intimacy never goes away completely. Therefore, physical security, both in terms of protection and fulfillment is paramount.

3. The pillar of emotional security

Financial crisis can be managed with talent and common sense, physical urges may subside over time, but emotional needs remain just as strong. In fact, even a slight vulnerability in any one of the pillars put the pressure on the other three to make it up. Imagine a dog hurting one of his legs, the pressure of moving, running, jumping is on the other three legs now. Love, gratitude, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness are emotions. All these emotions are highly contagious. If you practice them, nurture such virtues, imbibe those emotions, you will contribute significantly to the health of your relationship. Repairing any damage to the pillar of financial or physical security is relatively easier, but this one is a pillar of gold. Any grief you cause your partner on this front with your gestures or words will injure their heart, it will mar their love, it can cause a deep wound. If you are emotionally there for each other, you can be assured of a fulfilling relationship. Predominantly because it is during their weak moments that people lose sight of their human side; losing that is generally enough to trigger a whole heap of monstrous emotions and regrettable actions.

4. The pillar of moral security

This pillar is made of crystal — exquisite but fragile. Can your partner trust you morally? Any damage to this pillar is irreparable. The wounds from moral damage never heal. Never. If you have compromised on morality, your partner will never forget, even if they want to, they are unable to forget. They may forgive out of compassion or compulsion but the relationship now stands on a shaky foundation. Sound morality is the foundation of a fine and fulfilling relationship. Where to draw the line between moral and immoral? We need not even go as far as infidelity. Is lying always immoral, for example? What if you help someone against your partner’s consent? Well, there may be no set-in-the-stone rules for all situations, there are only guiding principles. There is someone you can ask who will never misguide you. And that ‘someone’ is your conscience. When in doubt, ask your conscience. It is easy to drown the voice of conscience in the loud rumbles of desires or justification. However, you do so at your own peril, at the cost of your own peace and bliss, it may even cost you the relationship. If you are not the type who can provide moral security, you should seriously consider not entering into a long-term relationship.

That is all there is to a relationship: the four securities. Relationship is about giving, about sharing, about togetherness. If both partners can act like grown-ups, half the problems will disappear, and, if they can be there for each other, the other half never appear. If you decide to be happy, no one can stop you. Marriage, with all its price, continues to be a sacred institution like no other. It is like a gym membership, if you really want, you can go to the gym and work out, make friends and stay fit. However, if you are lazy or cannot find time, membership alone is not going to bestow good health. Similarly, if you want bliss, joy, togetherness, dependability from your relationship, you have to work for it.

“Do you know mum,” the new bride told her mother, “he gives me everything I ask for.”
“That merely shows,” replied her mother, “you are not asking for enough.”

It is easy to ask, to want, to have, to expect, be sure you are at ease to give and share as well. Nature will reciprocate. It always does. And what if you feel, you are the only one giving in a relationship and you are not getting fulfillment from your relationship? Refer to my last post in that case.

Take care of yourself and each other.

Peace.
Swami

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