As social beings, we humans are wired to connect. Our relationships build foundations, impart morals and create meanings. We long for these connections in moments of bliss, simplicity, loneliness, and grief.
Without these support systems, we would simply feel a lack of connection to even ourselves.
In the Beginning of a Relationship
Being in a relationship, particularly intimate ones, can help us blossom into better versions of ourselves.
Intimacy directs our attention to the needs of the other person. We want to do everything in our power to make them happy, perhaps to express how alive we feel around them. With their presence, the world becomes more beautiful. We simply want life to begin and explore it, at ease with feeling that it can’t possibly tire, age, or end.
When we are first starting our relationships, our first instinct is to keep talking in an attempt to know the other person and be known in return. We rack our brains for possible topics of conversation, digging for compatibilities and comparisons—anything to connect us to each other. We mostly find silences awkward and uncomfortable, so we find ways to avoid it at all costs.
But once we’ve gotten the first phase out of the way, we run out of things to say then we realize that that’s okay. There is no awkwardness or boredom even when we have nothing to say to each other. In fact, there’s something very natural and comforting in the silences because we feel safe and secure by simply being in the same space with them.
Two Persons, One Feeling
That is, a great relationship is one that makes us feel one with the other person, as if we are just one soul inhabiting two bodies.
Most movies depict relationships as the longing gaze into each other’s eyes. But that is just the surface. The most intimate relationships are not just reciprocation of acts. They also form a synergy that goes beyond an exchange of looks. More than looking at each other, we also gaze into the same directions.
Relationships essentially breed love, which in itself makes life happier, less frightening, and more forgiving. A life filled with love can accommodate not just ourselves; it also makes space for other people and those people’s worlds as well.
Brick by brick, we are constantly building connections, eventually creating a network of compassion and support.
Relationships as a Choice
Relationships, then, are choices that we make. They are not simply born out of luck. Rather, they are planted and maintained. With self-care and self-awareness, the parties involved choose to keep their relationship healthy.
Because of these choices, relationships are also a constant compromise and negotiation. This can either be a source of strength or cause friction. After all, whatever we choose to do affects the people within our circle. When making decisions, we are no longer just thinking about ourselves.
As with all kinds of love, relationships are not perfect. They naturally ebb and flow with both joyful and sad experiences. Whenever things don’t go so well, people in great relationships know when to step out and give each other space and bit of time. Sometimes, this may entail letting go of those relationships and rebuilding them when time permits.
Building and Rebuilding Relationships
It can be disheartening when a once intimate relationship falls apart. But then again, love gives us a choice. Most of our deepest connections are worth re-building once again, even if takes much longer. It can neither be rushed nor forced, and as we mentioned earlier, it must be a compromise between all parties involved.
There’s no way of knowing how long relationships take to rebuild. Some don’t get rebuilt at all, and that’s okay. The world is big enough for new connections. While they are not meant to replace our previous relationships, they are still essential in changing our world views and providing invaluable opportunities to grow as a person.
Whether your relationship right now is at its peak or at its lowest, consider it special because of the person with whom you are sharing the experience. Indeed, the deepest relationships are difficult or even impossible to express in words. But we know that they are the connections that have a lasting effect on our lifetimes.
Here are some pearls of wisdom to inspire your relationship, keep the fire burning, or reignite the sparks.
- “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Gustav Jung
- “A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another, they will fall for each other…Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever” – Dave Matthews Band
- “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.” – Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss
- “Man may have discovered fire, but women discovered how to play with it.” – Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
- “I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?” – Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song
- “The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.” – Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women
- “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” – Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
- “Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.” – Mae West
- “There is greatness in doing something you hate for the sake of someone you love.” – Shmuley Boteach
- “Come sleep with me: We won’t make Love, Love will make us.” – Julio Cortázar
- “Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.” – Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
- “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed
- “I’ve been fighting to be who I am all my life. What’s the point of being who I am, if I can’t have the person who was worth all the fighting for?” – Stephanie Lennox, I Don’t Remember You
- “I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me.” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
- “I suffer from girlnextdooritis where the guy is friends with you and that’s it.” – Taylor Swift
- “Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.” – Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- “Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” – David Richo
- “Relationships dont always make sense. Especially from the outside” – Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride
- “I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.” – Albert Camus, The Fall
- “Women cannot complain about men anymore until they start getting better taste in them.” – Bill Maher
- “What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else.” – Stephanie Klein, Straight Up and Dirty
- “I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
- “A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement” – Jess C Scott
- “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” – Jane Austen, Emma
- “Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “We have to recognize that there cannot be relationships unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is love, patience, persistence.” – Cornel West, Breaking Bread
- “Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake & help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman
- “Only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
- “You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed
- “When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.” – Bell Hooks, All About Love
- “If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.” – Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
- “Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you’re in the wrong house, that’s what it means.” – Henny Youngman
- “Statistically speaking, there is a 65 percent chance that the love of your life is having an affair. Be very suspicious.” – Scott Dikkers, You Are Worthless
- “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown
- “Can officially confirm that the way to a man’s heart these days is not through beauty, food, sex, or alluringness of character, but merely the ability to seem not very interested in him.” – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
- “The best relationships in our lives are the best not because they have been the happiest ones, they are that way because they have stayed strong through the most tormentful of storms.” – Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
- “When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself.” – Deepak Chopra
- “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” – Amy Poehler
- “People die, I think, but your relationship with them doesn’t. It continues and is ever-changing.” – Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun
- “He loved her for almost everything she was & she decided that was enough to let him stay for a very long time.” – Brian Andreas
- “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- “When what you hear and what you see don’t match, trust your eyes.” – Dale Renton
- “We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” – Tim McGraw
- “When God knows you’re ready for the responsibility of commitment, He’ll reveal the right person under the right circumstances.” – Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye
- “Don’t worry about hurting me, if that’s what you’re afraid of. I want to get hurt. At least I´ll feel something for a change.” – Katie Kacvinsky, Awaken
- “You know someone’s right for you when the things they don’t have to say are even more important than the things they do.” – Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home
- “Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.” – William P. Young
- “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen R. Covey
- “That night when you kissed me, I left a poem in your mouth, and you can hear some of the lines every time you breathe out.” – Andrea Gibson
- “You know that when I hate you, it is because I love you to a point of passion that unhinges my soul.” – Julie de Lespinasse
- “I just…I just miss him. And I hate being so alone.” – Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
- “Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect.” – Paul Young, The Shack
- “Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.” – Alain de Botton
- “Have you ever noticed how parents can go from the most wonderful people in the world to totally embarrassing in three seconds?” – Rick Riordan, The Red Pyramid
- “Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?” – Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
- “Learn to deal with the fact that you are not a perfect person but you are a person that deserves respect and honesty.” – Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
- “I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.” – Wm. Paul Young, The Shack
- “I would rather a romantic relationship turn into contempt than turn into apathy. The passion in the extremities make it appear as though it once meant something. We grow from hot or cold, but lukewarm is the biggest insult.” – Criss Jami, Killosophy
- “Love cannot live where there is no trust.” – Edith Hamilton, Mythology
- “Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.” – Flavia Weedn
- “Caring about someone isn’t complicated. It isn’t easy. But it isn’t complicated, either. Kinda like lifting the engine block out of a car.” – Jim Butcher, Small Favor
- “Your absence has not taught me to be alone, it merely has shown that when together we cast a single shadow on the wall.” – Doug Fetherling
- “It’s hard to communicate anything exactly and that’s why perfect relationships between people are difficult to find.” – Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education
- “Being single doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means that you’re strong enough to wait for the right person.” – Niall Horan
- “Right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment.” – Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
- “Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation, and conversation must have a common basis, and between two people of widely different culture the only common basis possible is the lowest level.” – Oscar Wilde
- “A man is lucky if he is the first love of a woman. A woman is lucky if she is the last love of a man.” – Charles Dickens
- “He knew me in all the ways that truly mattered: the shape of my fears, the contours of my dreams.” – Justina Chen Headley
- “I miss you in waves and tonight I’m drowning. You left me fending for my life and it feels like you’re the only one who can bring me back to the shore alive.” – Denice Envall
- “The true measure of a man is how he treats you when others are not looking.” – Alessandra Torre
- “The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone who is capable of significant change; that sort of person exists only in our imaginations.” – Scott Adams, God’s Debris
- “Find a woman who makes you feel more alive. She won’t make life perfect but she’ll make it infinitely more interesting. And then love her with all that’s in you.” – Gayle G. Roper, Shadows on the Sand
- “Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future – and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.” – Albert Camus
- “People will walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
- “The best kind of humans are the ones who stay.” – Robert M Drake
- “So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.” – Wm. Paul Young, The Shack
- “We walked to meet each other up at the time of our love and then we have been irresistibly drifting in different directions, and there’s no altering that.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
- “People generally didn’t cheat in good relationships.” – Emily Giffin, Something Blue
- “I had a dream about you last night. The champagne was non-alcoholic. You didn’t notice, and laughed at my jokes anyway.” – Michael Summers, I Had a Dream About You
- “I’m done. I don’t need anything more out of life. I have you, and that’s enough.” – Alessandra Torre
- “I know I’m not going to be in your head all the time. But once you know me, I’ll be forever in your heart.” – Crystal Woods
- “Trust and faith bring joy to life and help relationships grow to their maximum potential.” – Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind
- “The heart is like a woman, and the head is like a man, and although man is the head of woman, woman is the heart of man, and she turns man’s head because she turns his heart.” – Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock
- “So I learned two things that night, and the next day, from him: the perfection of a moment, and the fleeting nature of it.” – Margaret George, The Memoirs of Cleopatra
- “There is no mystery– that’s the beauty of it. We are entirely explicable to each other, and yet we stay. What a miracle that is.” – Kamila Shamsie, Broken Verses
- “I think of how each person in a marriage owes it to the other to find individual happiness, even in a shared life. That this is the only way to grow together, instead of apart.” – Emily Giffin, Heart of the Matter
- “Love is giving up control. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.” – Rob Bell, Sex God
- “I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
- “We’ve lost a lot of years, but you can’t lose love. Not real love. It stays locked inside you, ready for whenever you are strong enough to find it again.” – Martina Boone, Compulsion