Friendship is the only relationship a person selects as per his / her choice. All other relationships are based on birth and marriage. Relations like Parent- child, Uncle, aunts are all based on birth and are beyond the realms of choice. Relationships in Indian sub-continent, whether by birth or choice, have generally all lasted the test of time, however, cases of strained relations in marriage are on the rise now.
What makes a relation sustain? Is it love, respect (family or self), trust, or peer and family pressure. All are very valid reasons, however, in my view two main factors that bind any relationship are love and respect. Love is the bedrock of any relation, irrespective of whether it is by birth or by choice. The main factor which bonds two people in a relationship / friend is love. Though, it is argued that a boy and a girl cannot be ‘just’ friends. The use of word ‘just’, in friendship , itself is wrong. Friendship between two persons should not need any justification or scrutiny. In fact, use of the word ‘just’ to justify a relationship, itself raises doubts on the nature of relation. The main reason two person would like to be in each other’s company is love. Whether this love is for the hobbies, habits, subjects is a matter of choice. It is not just love for each other but also love / liking for common things which may act as a source of attraction between two people. Love, one of the most sacred words used to describe a relation is one of the most misunderstood today.
The important aspects of love are commitment & nurturing without which it is just infatuation and will wither down in no time. Even in the 21st century India, the society does not accept that a boy and a girl can be only friends, they may have no intent of marrying each other nor have a sexual relation. Even if they have a sexual relation…… so what? Is the love between parent- child, between siblings different from the one, between two friends of opposite sex? Love cannot be defined differently depending on situations and the personalities involved. It is same in every relation, only difference being that love between two persons related by blood develops naturally due to strong sense of belonging and responsibility, whereas in case of two strangers it develops slowly as they meet and understand each other and develop liking for each other’s traits, habits etc. Having a great friend from opposite sex, at whatever age, is an amazing experience. You got to have one, to understand this.
Respect is another reason which bind two persons together and is responsible for the longevity of a relation. Respect, for each other’s values, views, likes and dislikes, habits, emotions, friends, relatives all goes towards making a relation strong. One of the main reasons which makes marriages last in India is the respect husband and wife have for each other and their respective relatives. Respect for each other’s values is a must .Each one of us , is generally , brought up differently and probably may have a different way of doing a thing and have diverse beliefs. These differences have to be understood and respected by the partners. I am a Hindu from Uttar Pradesh whereas my wife comes from a staunch Sikh family of Punjab. Both, naturally, have been brought up in different environments. We met by chance, developed a liking for each other and married with the blessings of our parents but what has kept us together, despite our different upbringing and habits is the love and respect not just for each other but also for the values our parents have imbibed in us.
After love and respect comes understanding of each other. This includes understanding of views, requirements, priorities in life. Maturity and understanding are two interdependent factors which have a long-term effect on any relation. If one is mature enough, he / she will understand the issue well and deal with it in a balanced manner or it can be also said , if one understands then any issue can be handled in a mature manner. Maturity is not as much dependent on age as it is on experience and off course the type of experience; good or bad.
Trust is another factor which is vital for success of any relation be it friendship, siblings or marriage. Lack of trust can mar any relation in no time .Trust is built over a period of time and can help overcome any obstacle which may threaten a relation .Transparency in activities is what trust is based on . The actions over a period of time build or breaches trust.
Space , yes I mean space, is a must in any relation . Even a husband and wife require some independent space, at times; Space for work , friends and may be relatives. Space , at crucial juncture , also helps in healing hurts and setting the perceived wrongs, right .
Communication, is another factor which binds two people together. As long as smooth communication exists between two person, the relation cannot be easily affected by smooth talks of anyone else and any issues or problems can be easily resolved.
Another factor, which keeps a relation going is the willingness on the part of partners to sustain the relation. Each individual has a different emotional and intelligence threshold and accordingly his / her understanding of a perceived problem differs. What also affects this threshold, is the environment, both present and the one the individual has been brought up in. During our growing years we observe our parents and elders doing a thing in a particular way, and that becomes the only way of doing that thing, for us. Any variation, even if logical, is initially resisted and may lead to heart burns / arguments. This is where time ‘space’ and communication matters most in a relation. Take your time and if required maintain space but don’t forget to keep the communication alive, in whatever way. It’s a matter of time, and one will get to a right solution. Fortunately, Indians have patience and willingness to sustain a relation, in abundance. I remember, as a child once telling my mother not to maintain relation with one of our relatives because of his continuous ability to cause problems for us(my perception) but my mother just said, Breaking anything, even a relation is not difficult but what is difficult is building, maintaining and sustaining a relation. Hiccups, differences of perception and thoughts will be there in any relation, what matters in life is the ability of understanding the difference and finding the solution. Isn’t Human Resource management, more about this and less about evaluations and dismissals. Indian culture and traditions have stood the test of time based on our strong family values and bonding. Family bonding is seen in all our relations including professional. When even in professional field we do not dismiss employees easily (this may not be true in some new corporate/business houses) , how can relations break easily. Whereas if u see, some western cultures have a system of hire and fire and this can be seen not just in professional life but also in personal relations, where even institution of marriage has no value, you get married one day and divorce the next day…heights of Hire and fire concept.
Listening is also an ability, most of us lack. If we can listen to each other with patience half the problems won’t arise in life. Even if some problems do arise, these can be resolved by effective communication and listening.
These are some of the factors, which if adhered to, help in making a relation healthy and prosperous. In part 2 of the article I will deal with some of the factors which, if not taken care of, are capable in harming a relation ,at times irretrievably.
“A happy marriage perhaps represents the ideal of human relationships A setting in which each partner, while acknowledging the need of other, feels free to what be what he or she by nature is……A relationship in which instinct as well as intellect can find expression , in which giving and taking are equal, in which each accepts the other and I confronts thou”