5 Cs of Successful Relating

Broken relationships, and especially broken families, are becoming increasingly evident in our society today – and many people suffer the fall out. Pain, fear, anger, rejection, loss of confidence and self-esteem are just some of the issues that people wrestle with as a result. But what can be done? Are such broken relationships inevitable? Is it better that we simply never bother to get close to others? It would certainly be less painful! But we all cry out for deeper, more meaningful connection with at least one other person. As has been said, ‘Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!’ But does this mean we have to risk being hurt? At one level yes, but at another level, no. There is something that can be done to reduce the likelihood of such hurt and damage. As I have sought to help couples come to a better place in their relationship, I have become aware of five elements that are vital if they are to succeed. I list these in no specific order.

The first element is that of communication. Misunderstanding is often a major part in the breakdown of any relationship, and communication is the way to reduce the likelihood of it happening. But I am not just talking about communication of the matter of fact details of daily living. While this is important, on its own the relationship will remain superficial and unsatisfactory. To keep the relationship alive, dynamic and growing, the couple also need to be communicating at a deeper level: their thoughts, feelings, dreams, disappointments, expectations. Communicating at this level, either partner will be able to tell sooner if something is going wrong, and will then be able, hopefully, to address the problem. Both levels of communication are crucial if the relationship is to survive.

Secondly, compromise. At some point one or other partner is going to have to give way and concede on what they would prefer. And some times, both partners will have to give way. If one or other insists on having their own way, there will be problems which may well result in a breakdown of the relationship.

Thirdly, commitment. We all know what it is like to not want to do something, but having made a commitment we hold to our word. Couple relationships are no exception. There will undoubtedly be times when we don’t ‘feel’ like making an effort – but will do so. And generally (though not always!) the more we give the more we receive!

Fourthly, celebration. One vital way of keeping a relationship alive is to celebrate it; share an activity together – seek to enjoy life and play together. This element becomes increasingly hard to achieve as the children start coming – but the best thing parents can give their children is a healthy stable relationship.

Finally, choice. Day by day, we make choices – and our relating to others is no exception. We can choose to invest time in someone, or to neglect and turn away from them; we can choose to put our partner or spouse first or to look only to our own interests; we can choose to clarify any apparent misunderstanding or to stubbornly refuse to talk it through. We can choose to get help, or we can choose to try and work it out ourselves.


Any relationship, however good, has the potential to fall apart and go wrong. It takes determination and commitment to make it work. I am not advocating that partners totally subjugate themselves to one another so that they completely lose their identity. There has to be a healthy self-care if one is to have the energy to give of one’s self. But there should also be a healthy give and take in the ebb and flow of relating.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me, without obligation.

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