There are many things that help a relationship thrive.
Most obviously there is how you treat yourself and how you treat your partner, which has many layers to it. There is creating time and space for the relationship and spending quality time together. There is the sexual connection. And many other things.
The importance of the group of people or the community around the relationship is one thing that usually goes unacknowledged. I saw this great quote, something like, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around.” Which, when I thought about that I got really happy because I adore/admire the 5 people I spend most of my time interacting with. But if you take that to the level of a relationship, it means that the people that you spend time around as a couple affect the quality of your relationship!
Because my life’s work is devoted to people having incredible relationship lives, I am blessed to be around great people all the time. Last Saturday, for example, I got to be with an incredible team of people assisting at our Introduction to Extended Orgasm 1-day course.
Saturday morning, heading over to The Loft with Erwan, kinda tired, having dealt with logistics around our sitter and our son, etc. etc., the feeling walking into the Loft and seeing these shining smiling faces of people that were there for themselves and therefore their relationship lives was inspiring to US, for OUR relationship as well as for all of the participants.
The people Erwan and I spend the most time around work-wise, our students, hold us to a particular standard of relationship, which we have set as a possibility, and now are responsible for upholding and living. And it is not always easy. We can be slobs in the relationship, just like everyone can- we are not immune to the human condition! I can be petty, defensive, fearful and deceptive. There are many habits I have that, when I am not paying attention, can decrease the quality of my relationship in very little time!
Having put myself in a situation where there are amazing people around me holding me to a standard of handling and working through these things is a huge gift. (and I am not saying I am expected to be perfect! How boring would that be! I am sure half the value my students get from me are my (hopefully funny) stories about my foibles in our relationship)!
So community. We know people and community are important for our own growth and happiness, but also are so important for the health of a romantic relationship!