Weaving the fabric of a lasting relationship

Any human relationship is, for better or worse, the sum of its interactions – some making the relationship stronger and some weaker.

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Building a lasting relationship could therefore in many ways be likened to weaving a fabric, where each thread is a positive interaction. Just like a beautiful fabric has threads of many different colours, a strong relationship is built on many different kinds of interactions.

Spending time together doing things that both enjoy, having interesting discussions, being curious and acquiring a deeper understanding of the other’s beliefs and values, helping out in difficult situations, sharing burdens, being intimate in a love relationship, taking an active interest in what happens to the other person, working towards a common goal, are all different-coloured threads in the fabric, and the more variety of colours the more beautiful the fabric will be

But the fabric of a lasting relationship needs not only to be beautiful, it also needs to be strong. The strength of the fabric comes from its many threads. Every time you interact with the other person in a positive way, adding a new thread, the stronger the fabric will be. Just like a Persian carpet could be judged by the number of its knots, a relationship could be judged by its many-fold threads from spending time together doing mutually meaningful things.

But all threads are not equally strong. We all know that the bonds we have made as children often are the strongest. Also, after many years of being away from each other it’s easy to catch up where things last ended. Relationships later in life takes more effort to build, and therefore need more threads to acquire the same strength.

But there are also forces working against the fabric. Each time we do or say something hurtful to the other person (intentional or not), threads in the fabric are cut. And just as a pair of scissors is a blunt instrument working with fabrics, hurtful acts and words could make a lot of damage to a relationship. A wise person said, that to neutralise one single negative word, you would need to say ten positive ones and mean them all.

But also in relationships with no quarrels, arguments or bad words or deeds, we cannot live on memories alone. And as with any fabric, each thread will eventually wither and dissolve by itself, as well as any relationship will eventually die out if not being nourished.

Weaving the fabric of a lasting relationship is therefore the work of a lifetime, where the old threads in the fabric constantly need to be replaced with new ones as the old ones slowly disintegrate.

svensk_flagga   Detta blogginlägg på svenska

Author: Karl Ekdahl

International public health leader and creativity blogger.

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