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By Kyle Atwater

Part of being a human means having relationships. When you are with a group of friends, relationships will always occupy some portion of the conversation, if not the majority. Because of that, relationships have the ability to bring the greatest joys of life or the greatest hurts. The reason I wanted to write this blog post was not because I know everything there is to know about dating, but rather to share what has worked for me and what I have seen in successful, healthy relationships. I’ve seen first hand relationships fail. My parents were married for almost 30 years and recently divorced. Because of that I have watched successful relationships, sought wisdom and come up with 3 crucial components a relationship must do well in order to be healthy. Hopefully by sharing these, it will help to eliminate some of the heartache, anger, and strife that come from broken relationships.

1. Gentleness

Where gentleness is void a relationship crumbles. There is a difference between being close to someone and being close by someone. Being close to someone includes sharing the depth of your dreams, feelings, and fears where being close by someone revolves around duty and responsibility. If there is gentleness, it lays a foundation that sets the other person up for success. Each person will seek affection and gentleness no matter what, so you would rather it come from you than a co-worker, friend, or someone outside the relationship. Ultimately, gentleness leads to a deeper intimacy with one another.

2. Selflessness

In a relationship there has to be a “we” mentality, not an “I” mentality. Healthy relationships are more concerned with the other instead of yourself. For example, if you are more concerned with winning an argument than growing the relationship, then you might have a lot of wins under your belt but a very dissatisfied and frustrated partner. Being selfless means you treat the other lovingly no matter how they react or respond to you. Love is not contingent upon circumstance or emotion.

3. Sex

Sex is designed for marriage. This takes a lot of patience and self-control to implement but if you don’t have patience you will harm a healthy relationship or prolong an unhealthy one. Sex before marriage teaches couples to communicate on a surface level. Instead of talking and sharing intimately through words, sex teaches you to communicate without words. What happens when she is not attractive? What happens when he gets deployed? What happens when there is anger present? Sex is not meant to be the first step of communication, but rather the follow through of affection and love.