In my last post I used a term-REALationship-that defines the difference between a relationship and an association. Knowing of someone is not a REALationship, knowing them is.
So how do you get to know someone?
It takes an investment of yourself. You are required to spend of yourself, and sometimes spend yourself, in order to make the commitment necessary to build the trust needed to have a REALationship. That defines a REALationship-commitment and trust.
Commitment is not a difficult thing to understand. It is often difficult to live. Commitment requires strength of will and mind. Commitment requires mercy and grace. Commitment is making the decision that regardless of the situation or the outcome, you will hang in there, you will be available. Commitment means enduring all that can and does come.
Trust is probably the most fragile aspect of a REALationship. Trust is often the last component of a REALationship added, and the first to fail. However, REALationships cannot exist without it. Trust requires that we put faith in someone. It is somewhat blind faith, at least in the beginning. Trust has to be earned, certainly; but it also has to be granted in order for it to grow. Like a muscle in the body, trust has to be regularly exercised and stretched or it atrophies, growing weaker and weaker until it fails.
Trust can fail and be rebuilt time and time again-as long as the commitment is maintained. Trust is the aspect of a REALationship that usually causes pain when it fails or is weakened. Commitment is the aspect of a REALationship that is its strength, that bears the load and works to heal the pain, which allows restoration of the REALationship and trust to be established again.
Commitment is the brick, and trust the mortar, that makes up any REALationship building. Just as with a masonry building, trust can crumble and be removed, repaired, and replaced while the rest of the building still stands, as long as those bricks of commitment are good and strong.
You'll notice I have not mentioned love at all. Love is certainly critical in a REALationship but not necessarily vital. To love before commitment and trust is there, is to not really love at all. It is infatuation; desire; attraction. This is why many PSEUDOlationships fail; they are built on something fleeting, something highly conditional. Commitment to a REALationship normally results in love. Love infrequently results in commitment. Love is indeed the icing on the cake in a REALationship, but commitment is everything neccesary in the process to get the cake to a place where it can be iced. Everyone wants the icing. Those who truly enjoy cake, want it all.
REALationships are truly life changing. When you have someone in your life that you are committing to; when that commitment grows into trust, enabling you to care more for their well being than your own; when you are at a point where they begin to consume your thoughts before you think of yourself; then you are at the doorstep of a REALationship.