The Two “Pillars” of Love… I came across the concept of The Sound Relationship House (picture below) a while back reading a Gottman blog post. Today we are looking at a small part of the house, the “pillars” (or walls). There are other aspects of the concept and if there is an interest in it, I will explore the other aspects in later blog posts.

Without further ado, here are the two “pillars”:

  • Commitment
  • Trust

The point was that if you do not have both, you cannot build a robust and lasting relationship. That is why they were called “Pillars“. Hopefully, the diagram below makes it clear enough!pillars

Commitment

Being in a relationship might be easy for a little while, but in the long run, it requires to be invested. It requires to chose the other, every day. It requires patience, care, attention and intention. You might have been in or know a couple who is in a relationship that has been “left for itself”. In such relationships, often, there is no intention to make it work no matter what. Poor communication is a high way to fights, and the partners are turning outside for compassion, love and acceptance. It often works for a while, sometimes longer if the partners are choosing comfort over happiness and many of us do. A few months turn into a few years, a few years into 30 years of an unhappy marriage.

You cannot commit alone, or at least, not for long. It would be a sad place to be! If you can commit in the long-term but your partner isn’t, then it is likely called codependency and it’s a state of emotional dependence. Which is different from commitment. Committing is a choice and for a choice to be available, being independent is needed (see Independence and interdependence).

pillars

Trust

Trust is an interesting one to me. I have learned a lot about trust in the recent years, whether through work, the relationship with my wife and learning from wise people. Trust used to be a black and white thing. Whether I trust or whether I do not. And that is often the way it’s painted in society. It is a coin with two faces and there is no in between.

Some would say that’s fair as when trust is broken, it feels that way. But can trust be more complex than that?

I believe it is. I see trust in different areas and different layers. Let’s pick some examples:

  • Can you trust your partner to take the trash out?
  • Can you trust your partner to buy the groceries on the way home?
  • Can you trust your partner to listen to you?
  • Can you trust your partner to love you no matter what, with an unconditional love?
  • Can you trust your partner to pick up the kids after school?

The above questions highlight some of the different areas. You could trust your partner to take care of your children, but maybe not to love you unconditionally.

Trust can also have depth (different layers). Trust is slowly built or damaged over time, it is like a needle moving to the right or the left, for each action that one’s partner is doing. Out of 100 times, you share personal worries and fears with your partner, how often would they truly listen? How often would that truly care and hold space? Most of us, are not in a black and white relationship in terms of Trust and it’s good to be reminded at times!

To that note on Trust, I remember a podcast I was listening to a year ago. It is a weekly Management podcast I like to listen to and they were discussing the topic of working with someone you do not trust. That person made a few actions to break the trust and no action to re-build it. The whole point was not to trust the whole person. The point was to trust the person to do the task X or the task Y and from there, task after task (or areas after areas), slowly rebuild the trust.

To Go Further

The Gottman’s Institute Website created 17 articles around the concept of The Sound Relationship House. I would suggest to look around and see which one make sense for your relationship!

 

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