So you think you’re in a relationship. Your Facebook status says so. You cook together, watch movies together, you sleep together. You go out on dates with each other and talk about future plans. You enjoy each others company. You may even get married and have a few children. But how much do you REALLY know each other?
We have been socially conditioned to run our relationships by calendar instead of by natural progression. Our relationships are led by titles and marriages are led by licenses. You can’t even date someone 12 months without hearing: “When are you getting married?” Relationships have to be built and this takes TIME. More time than most are willing to wait. The more time you spend actually letting each other in, exposing your fears, fantasies, and weaknesses, the more interconnected you become.
Setting benchmarks for where you think you should be in your relationship is a sign that you are more focused on going through the motions than in building an actual relationship. For example, “It’s been 12 months so we should have a title.” “We’ve been together 2 years so we should be engaged.” JUST LET IT HAPPEN! Now, I am not speaking about the situations in which one person (usually the woman) wants to get married and the guy has no intention on marrying her so she waits around in hopes that he changes his mind. Not at all. I am talking about where both parties are headed in the same direction; taking the necessary time to truly get to know each other.
An article I read some years ago by Randy Hurlburt describes it like this: Using the picture above as a visual, let’s say each person in the relationship is a circle. In the beginning, the circles are barely touching. With chemistry and time, the circles are pulled closer together to form somewhat of an overlap. The more transparent each person becomes with the other, the more and more overlap you get. Herein lies, the RELATIONSHIP.
It is important to be aware of the degree of overlap that you have with each other. Some people have only 20%-30% overlap and jump into a committed relationship or even marriage. Some non-married couples are more “married” in terms of overlap than couples that are legally married. It’s all about the CONNECTION. The connection IS the relationship. You have to gradually overcome the fears and barriers within yourself and your partner in order to build a true relationship.
Focusing on the connection and the degree of overlap between you and your partner provides a more accurate picture of where the relationship is really headed opposed to just tracking the days, weeks, and months. Once you begin to think in these terms, you will not be as easily misguided by the superficial.