So many people try to build a relationship with little or no foundation. Just because you think someone is handsome or beautiful doesn’t make it a good basis for a relationship. Looks are fleeting.
Just because they might have money doesn’t make them a good catch. Fortunes are won and lost every day.
Great kissing, the ability to make you laugh, or a great pair of arms to hold you are all wonderful, but without a firm foundation on which to build, your relationship will crumble like a house of cards in the wind.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared the importance of being emotionally healthy and being crystal clear about what you want in your next relationship.
Today I want to talk about the foundation of your next relationship, The Four Cornerstones of all Great Relationships.
Every great relationship is built on a solid foundation. That foundation consists of four cornerstones. Each cornerstone is equally important and without any one of them your relationship will be unstable.
The Four Cornerstones consist of an Intellectual Connection, Emotional Connection, Spiritual Connection, and Physical Connection.
Let’s take these one at a time and discuss the importance and interconnectedness to each one.
The Intellectual Cornerstone
Developing your intellectual connection with someone takes a little time.
The intellectual connection is not necessarily about education. It can be, but it’s so much more than that. It’s more about thinking along the same lines politically, financially, and socially.
Does this mean you need to like exactly the same things? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that you can have great conversations about very difficult subjects or just talk about mundane, everyday things and be on the same page.
It also allows you to have great communication. There’s a respect for each other’s intellect, for each other’s experience, and for each other’s opinions. You are supportive of each other’s hobbies and interests.
Have you ever met someone that just seems to get you right from the beginning?
You get each other’s jokes and sense of humor. You understand and may even share similar backgrounds or interests. From time to time, as you get older, you’ll cross paths with people like this.
When you discover this connection with someone in conjunction with the other three cornerstones, you have the potential for the foundation of an extraordinary relationship.
When you have this connection with your soul mate, it elevates your relationship to a whole new level…one that you will marvel at. You’re both individuals, but together you become so much more.
The intellectual cornerstone allows you to look at your mate and instinctively understand where they’re coming from and there doesn’t have to be much of an explanation.
You know what they’re thinking or where they are going with their thoughts. This will, in turn, heighten the emotional bond.
You’re not carbon copies of each other, but unique individuals who are different and connected in an extraordinary way. In my book Dating Backward, we describe this connection in a math formula; 1+1=110.
This means that you’re capable of doing so much more together as a couple than you can individually.
The Emotional Cornerstone
This is the connection that makes you want to come home each night. This connection is the love connection.
The emotional connection can create amazing energy. It’s the one connection that is most often misunderstood and, like the other cornerstones, it cannot stand alone to make an extraordinary relationship.
This cornerstone is subject to your physical and mental health and hormones. This connection is the energy and binding strength of a relationship that is intertwined through the other three cornerstones.
You can choose to be emotionally connected or not. That’s why you may have heard that love is a choice.
The Physical Cornerstone, which I’ll talk about shortly, is tied to your Emotional Cornerstone. Hormones are released as you look upon your mate and they trigger a response in which your heart can beat more quickly.
You may feel butterflies in your stomach or a general overall excitement just to be near them.
In the early stages of a relationship, these feelings are more attributed to infatuation. It’s the feeling you both get when you spot the other walking into a room. It’s what makes your heart skip a beat or beat faster in anticipation of the next time you get to see each other.
This emotional connection can cause your hands to sweat and your knees to shake when you look at or think about your mate.
It’s also the feeling you have after the infatuation wears off and you can’t wait to get home to share your day with your mate. It’s the excitement and pleasure you get when you hold hands, are in a long embrace or snuggle up on the couch watching a movie.
It’s an energy that can be seen.
I used to think it couldn’t be seen, but I was wrong. Just look at those special couples that have found their soul mates. There is a look about them that is different from every other couple.
How does the emotional connection provide the glue for spiritual and intellectual connections?
You share feelings of excitement, joy, and happiness with each other and for each other. This emotional connection is what brings you joy for your mate and their growth and accomplishments.
You’re happy when they are happy. You feel sorrow when they feel sorrow. You feel their pride in their successes and accomplishments. You know and feel their emotions as if they were your own.
You share and feel the love they have for God and others, and it’s as if you are one. When you experience this type of connection, you’ll recognize that it goes beyond infatuation and is extraordinary in how it brings a fullness and expanded awareness to your life.
I don’t want to create the impression that there won’t be any emotional roller-coaster rides. In a true soul mate relationship, there will always be obstacles that get in your way.
Life happens and there’s nothing any of us can do to change that. But, with a strong, loving, emotional bond, the two of you will weather life’s upsets much more gracefully together than apart.
The Spiritual Connection
The strongest relationships have a common spiritual belief.
This means that you need to have the same fundamental belief in religion, God, and the afterlife. For example, soul mates will have the same or similar beliefs, whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, or whatever else you may believe spiritually.
You don’t necessarily need to be in the same place in your spiritual journey at the same time, but you should have similar beliefs and be moving in the same direction.
The Bible speaks of being equally yoked.
This means having similar views and working to grow your knowledge and wisdom in the same direction.
Growth and change that moves you as a couple in different directions spiritually only separates you and doesn’t hold the relationship together.
If you don’t believe in God or are agnostic, you need to search out someone who holds similar views. I believe that not being on the same page spiritually is a critical mistake. Your spiritual connection is foundational to a strong loving relationship.
To be clear, I believe the strongest relationships have Christianity as its foundation.
Some of the greatest divisiveness in a relationship comes from a lack of common spiritual values.
Even the best of relationships will struggle from time to time. It just doesn’t make sense to have to try to overcome such a significant hurdle every day.
The Physical Cornerstone
There are two components or parts to the Physical Cornerstone. Most of us immediately think of physical intimacy: touching, kissing, fondling, and making love. While this is a major part of an extraordinary relationship, there’s more.
In a healthy relationship, the first part of the connection is physical attraction. This is a key component to any physical connection.
If there is a physical attraction, it is usually almost instantaneous…but not always. You’re either attracted to someone or you’re not.
There are cases though, where there wasn’t any significant physical attraction in the beginning. Yet, they found that through developing the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional connection they started to see the other person in a different way.
Their inner beauty started to shine through. You start to see them in a way you never did before and you may be surprised to find that your soul mate didn’t come in the package you were expecting.
In general, though, if you’re not attracted to someone, there is little likelihood that any serious relationship will develop. In most cases, it’s the initial physical impression that lasts.
The physical connection also includes nonsexual touch such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing. It’s thought that touch stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin and strengthens the emotional connection with your soul mate.
Energy is shared; connections are established and maintained through non intimate touch which also enhances the emotional connection.
Studies consistently show…
The longer you wait to have sex, the stronger your relationship will be. Why? Because the focus of your relationship is on getting to know each other and developing deeper intellectual, spiritual, and emotional connections.
When God said, “Go forth and multiply.” I don’t think He meant to just hop into bed with anyone whenever the feeling strikes you. Sadly, most couples end up in bed on or before the 8th date. This barely gives you any time to get to know each other much less develop any kind of connection beyond infatuation.
In addition, to compound the problem even further, the new relationship becomes more about sex than learning about the person you’re sleeping with beyond a very superficial level.
As the infatuation of your new relationship starts to wear off, you start to recognize that there’s not much foundation to your relationship.
Regret starts to sink in when you find yourself waking up next to someone you barely even know. You think to yourself. “I should have waited. He (or she) isn’t the person I thought they were.”
If any one of these four parts is missing, you won’t have and extraordinary relationship.
Don’t rush any aspect of developing your new relationship. Take time to get to know each other and develop each of the Four Cornerstones intentionally.
Next week I’ll share my thoughts on the importance of understanding your personal love language and those of your mate.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to make healthier dating and relationship decisions. I’ll see you next week. Until then, have a great and blessed day.