Relationship fundamentals

Although I have previously written on the top of the pillars of a healthy relationship, I still get a lot of questions around the key ingredients needed to build a successful one. Successful relationships are built beyond the human eye. I believe that below the surface of every bond, the following key components must exist. These components are honesty, trust, intimacy, and communication. These 4 mainstays serve as the necessary support for all the other components needed for success and are the fundamentals for all relationships.

First, all successful relationships need honesty at its core. Honesty is the desire and ability to tell the truth without any intentions to deceive. This does not mean that a person has to tell everything that they know. Telling everything is a sign of immaturity. Children tattle tale, but mature adults only tell those things, good or bad, that are for the growth and development of the relationship. Honesty requires discretion. In all cases, words that come out of a person’s mouth must be the truth. The desire to be honest must run deep into the core of all those involved. Without honesty at its core, the relationship will become unstable and eventually it will fall.

Secondly, all successful relationship must have trust. Like honesty, trust is fundamental in nature. If honesty is what we say, then trust is what we do. The actions that a person takes will work for or against trust. This is a hard pill for some to swallow. No one should ever be encouraged to trust a person that is not trustworthy, and the one that has broken the trust has to be the one that takes the responsibility for rebuilding it. The way a person rebuilds trust is by doing what they say. Your actions must line up with your words. We all have in us the ability to be trustworthy, but we have to value the relationship enough to allow it to come forth.

Thirdly, all successful relationships must have intimacy. This is one of the most important of all the fundamentals. Intimacy goes beyond to physical act of sex and includes hand holding, hugging, cuddling, and kisses on the forehead or cheek. These types of interactions prevent any person in the relationship from feeling like an object and more like a respected member. Touch is the most powerful of all the senses. The human body has over 30 thousand touch sensors located from the head to toe. These sensors are connected to nerves that are sensitive to even the slightest touch. Understanding the right use of intimate touches is vital and fundamental to relationship development.

Finally, the fourth and final fundamental of a successful relationship is meaningful communication. This is more than just talking to each other. Meaningful communication involves sharing dreams, goals and ambitions, hopes and aspirations, success, failures, and likes and dislikes. Meaningful communication can be oral or written, but it cannot be measured in the volume of words or by the length of the conversation. When meaningful communications exist, then the ability to resolve complex issues exist as well.

When you talk about the issue, agree to keep communicating until you come up with a solution that you both can agree on. Meaningful communication exists when the words, thoughts, and ideas of both parties are respectfully received.

Like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are the fundamental components of math, honesty, trust, intimacy, and meaningful communication are the fundamental components of a successful relationship. Without a thorough understanding of these, you will not be able to support the needed complexity that is sure to follow. Go back to the basic and build the type of relationship success that will stand the test of time.

Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. To get copies of his books, for questions, comments or more information, go to

June 27, 2013
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