The key to a happy relationship isn't communication but THIS!
Communication is vital in a relationship, but something else is even more important.
How many times have you heard that communication is key to a successful relationship? Probably dozens of times.
Communication is, after all, really important. If you watch the Hallmark Channel, you've probably noticed that poor communication in a relationship can lead to misassumptions. In turn, these misassumptions tend to result in an argument or a breakup that wasn't necessary in the first place. A major part of good communication is also a couple's fighting style and how they resolve a disagreement. Good communication makes sense.
But what many forget is that communication is only part of a relationship. To have a strong relationship, there's something broader that needs to be addressed: versatility.
What is Versatility?
Versatility is the ability to be flexible and willing to evolve in a variety of situations when necessary. Throughout life in general, I have found that if you can't adapt, there's going to be conflict. However, that conflict can be dodged if one is versatile.
Think of versatility from a "survival of the fittest" standpoint. Only the strongest, most relevant who are equipped with the proper knowledge and skills are going to survive. It makes sense, doesn't it?
It's the same with relationships. If a couple can't adapt to the problems of a relationship and to one another's differences, guess what? The relationship is likely to dissolve, either that or both individuals in the relationship are going to be very unhappy.
What it Means to be Versatile in a Relationship
You know what versatility is, but do you know what it consists of in a relationship?
Let me give you some examples of relationships that don't have versatility, and thus, result in disaster as there isn't a proper compromise:
- Adam wanted to move to California for as long as he could remember. His wife Linda, however, hates the idea of moving away and starting from scratch. Neither Adam nor Linda are willing to compromise, so the two decide to divorce.
- Jamie and Sam have different ideas when it comes to marriage. Jamie believes one should wait until they are married to move in together. Sam, however, believes one should move in prior to getting married. Instead of meeting in the middle (e.g., getting engaged first before moving in), they decide to go their separate ways, hoping that the other would give in eventually (but neither do).
- Last month, Taylor was diagnosed with a serious ailment that would potentially impair their fertility. Alex loves Taylor but dislikes the idea of being in a relationship that would make it virtually impossible to ever have children. Regardless, the two stay together. But Alex never accepts Taylor's ailment and turns down the idea of adoption when Taylor brings it up as a compromise. Instead of attempting to naturally have children or adopting children, Taylor and Alex never actually have a family and are both unhappy.
From my examples, you can better see what versatility would consist of. In a relationship, I see it as an umbrella term. Communication, selflessness, and the like all fall under versatility.
You may have also noticed that in my examples, the couple ends up either splitting or being unhappy. This isn't because of the situations themselves, but rather, how they dealt with those situations.
In reality, there were never just two or three solutions in each example I gave but dozens. To clarify, the first example could have resulted in any of the following: Adam stays with Linda in the same state, Adam moves to California alone and maintains a long-distance relationship with Linda, Adam divorces Linda and moves to California alone, Linda moves to California with Adam, Adam and Linda compromise on getting a vacation home in California instead of moving there... You get the point.
Do Couples Always Have to Be Versatile to Work?
First, know that there are always going to be aspects in a relationship where a couple can't be versatile with. Everyone is stubborn to an extent; everyone wants their way. While it seems selfish, it is what it is. Everyone needs to stand up for what they believe in from time to time.
Additionally, being versatile does not mean your relationship will last forever. Some couples are simply not meant to last. There isn't a magical spell or trick to ensure a couple stays together forever; there are only ways to make a relationship stronger and happier.
On top of that, versatility often means being selfless, but there's a fine line between doing something to make your partner happy and doing something that will make you miserable just to make your partner happy.
In the latter case, that's when versatility may not work. Then again, part of versatility is being flexible with your emotions and your perceptions of the things around you. It's not enough to just physically be versatile but also emotionally and mentally. That goes for life in general. But ultimately, the drawing line between being versatile and having your way is up to you.
The takeaway from this article isn't that you can't have a backbone or that you have to let your partner get their way every time. Instead, the takeaway is to always remember that being open, understanding, and willing to compromise no matter what you, your partner, or your relationship go through can make thing smoother in the long-run. Additionally, remember that there are many solutions and ways to compromise with one another. Black-and-white thinking in an argument tends to get the best of us, but don't let it.