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Why do you want a lasting relationship? Why do people expect that relationships advance to higher levels of commitment with time? Isn’t community enough, why do some people seek a deeper personal connection?

This article was not inspired by the season, but we are less than a week from Valentines Day. The reason behind the holiday speaks to our desire for lasting relationships. Few people commemorate the day as a historical celebration. It is my opinion that we are celebrating connections, personal enduring connections of meaning.

 We will spead this topic over three articles.  You find the links at the end of this post.

Lasting Relationships

One thing we all experience with age is loss. We have heard it said it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. When we look at aged people who have loved and lost, that side of the picture alone might persuade us the old saying is wrong. What we don’t have in that comparison is the person who never had the joy of that engaged love.

More than Nurture

Perhaps it would help if we diverge a moment and look at what people call a healthy vs. an unhealthy childhood. We come into this world totally dependent on others. It would be awesome if the desire to be great at parenting were the difference between achievement and failure. When a child grows up with love and proper provision, they have a foundation the child who didn’t grow up with love or proper provision does not.

The passage of time for a child tends to lead to a change in that relationship. When a child stays at home, one that is not handicapped in some way, and does not contribute or build a path and or provisions to and for independence, we view this as unhealthy. So we start out moving towards a reduced relationship. The irony is that statistically, those who move out are more stable if the home they grew up in is what we call a nuclear home. That is a home with a set of healthy parents in a lasting relationship. Somehow, people who grew up in homes with less-than-ideal relationships between their parents still naturally crave what their parents did not achieve.

Lonely Together

We may be in a relationship or in a community we actively take part in and still feel lonely. It is more than the feeling of belonging. It is a feeling of unique importance. It cannot be filled by simply giving someone a valuable task and motivating them to complete it. When we say relationship, we are not referring to objective titles like boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or any other objective title. We are talking about the unique reason we adopted the titles.

When we find that connection, we hope for it to be mutual. We hope to make it endure. In fact, it tends to bring something new into our lives. We become satisfied with that one connection in ways that relax our quest for connections outside that relationship.

Some people even fear that closeness will destroy other relationships and walk in fear of things like marriage. It is the opposite side of the pursuit of relationships. There is a clinging to familiar routines where we may feel too personal a relationship will cause us to neglect something we hold dearly. It may. A group of friends committed to something like this help soothe the lonely together feeling.

Forged in Fire

When soldiers fight side by side in a war, watching each other’s backs, there is a deep connection. It is a mix of survival, shared memories, and gratitude for being there in support of each other along the journey. Any personal relationship that spans time will share those forged in fire connections.

We see older couples that seem to be energized by the presence of their life mates. They may have struggled with finances and health. They have lived through the ebb and flow of political turmoil. They have survived weather and changing times. Getting through life is a season of familiarity followed by a change to another season and then another cycle. Knowing that person was the one consistent reality along the journey might be the greatest gift of their life.

So, when a person is grieved because they lost someone and has a hard time moving on, it is because that friend was for them a gift beyond price. While they do need to learn to eventually move on, how great that they had such an awesome relationship.

That was what we have for part one of three in the series, The Pursuit of Lasting Relationships.