2 Key Things About Relationships: Context is Critical

One of the worst things about growing up on planet earth is, there’s no great training uniformly available for how to make relationships work. Here are two things you may not know about relationships.

Note: this information is just as useful in professional relationships as in romantic relationships.

It seems a bit random that some of us are born into families where relationships seem to work, while others are born into families where “dysfunction” is the declared norm. Many businesses and other organizations are described similarly.

Furthermore, it seems clear that most families, even those where relationships seem to work, are not without their special brand of crazy.

Relationships are complicated, and the dynamics can sometimes be invisible, or, at least, difficult to see.

In case you (like me) weren’t blessed with amazing relationship training, I’ll share two things that may save you learning “the hard way”, like I did.

Here are:

2 key things to know about relationships and families:

1. Relationships are More Complex Than We Realize

An important area many people miss when considering relationships: there is more to any relationship than just 2 people. In fact, there are at least 3 forces at play.

Perhaps the most important thing missed when considering relationships, is the relationship itself. The relationship is like a dance between 2 people: it has a life of its own, and it must be considered independent of the people in it.

Without consideration for the relationship, it’s easy for relationships to become power struggles between two participants. This is especially so in relationships between and among first-born children and only children, each of whom may expect to get their own way.

With the relationship as a barometer, and, more importantly, a higher power to reference, there’s an external force partners can appeal to in the midst of conflict or uncertainty.

(Read more about the value of appealing to a higher power — like “our relationship” — in the book linked below.)

2. Social Context is Critical

In addition to the “3 forces” of relationships, named above, it’s critical to recognize that relationships, and the people in them, are subject to outside social and family forces. Often, it’s these forces that lead to conflict in the couple.

Consider the social context early and often, and respect it as another participant in the relationship.

Many relationships have fallen apart (or been destroyed) under constant attack from friends and family who were not fans of:

  • the spouse,
  • the union,
  • circumstances in which the relationship formed,
  • the in-laws,
  • the social status of the spouse or in-laws,
  • 101 other things about the union or the people associated with it.

What To Take Away

When you have an undesirable experience in relationship, consider what are the forces at play in that relationship.

  1. Clearly identifying all the forces can give you more options for action.
  2. Likely, doing so will also reveal more resources for support.

For More Information

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Hi, I’m Dylan Cornelius.
I was passed over for promotions four times in three years, every time passed over by a peer. My marriage was a wreck. I was obese and my doctor threatened to medicate me if I didn’t lose weight.
When I calculated the per-hour value of my overtime at work, the additional money in my bonus didn’t justify the costs to my health, relationships, and personal satisfaction.
After five years of hearing me complain, my brother told me to stop complaining or do something about it. I was stunned that it had been so long.
After a long and expensive search, I realized the quality of my relationships was poor and I wasn’t taking care of other people or myself.
When I committed to creating fantastic relationships and high-performing teams in every area of my life that mattered, my life transformed.
I was promoted. Now I’m picked to lead teams and frequently thanked for my contribution.
While my marriage didn’t survive, I met an amazing woman who trained me for my first two marathons, and now I do triathlons for fun. I lost 50 pounds and controlled my diet, allergies, and autoimmunity.
Now my “Honey Bunny” and I tour for weeks at a time on a tandem bike. Soon, we’ll cross countries and continents.
I created a Team Acceleration Blueprint based on my personal development journey and decades of education and experience building and leading teams at some of the best universities and companies on the planet.
I believe the world can work for everyone. It starts with clarity of purpose, fantastic relationships, and high-performing teams. I intend to help 10,000 people create an unfair advantage and achieve results they didn’t believe were possible too.

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