Five C’s of bulletproof relationships

I have this pet framework I’m going to call “the five Cs of bulletproof relationships”.

The more of these five that you possess or invest on building together, the more fulfilling your relationships will be. This checklist is applicable beyond romantic relationships.

  1. commitment
  2. communication
  3. compatibility
  4. character
  5. chemistry

I put commitment at the top the because you can sustain a relationship purely by commitment — whether it’s instrinsically or extrinsically enforced.

You can commit your way out of all the odds. What does it mean to commit to someone? It could mean committing to choose each other, to show up for each other, to care for each other’s wellbeing, to put the other person as part of yourselves, to staying curious about each other, or to use the relationship as part of a larger mission. What are you promising to them? What future are you committing to strive for? Who are you committing to becoming?

You can make or break your relationship by how you communicate. Communicating doesn’t only mean you commit to sharing and broadcasting all the things (yikes). Communicating also means developing the capacity to hold space for each other’s experience, digesting, and integrating them into your being. AKA, listening.

You can communicate your way out of incompatibilities.

You can compatibilize your way out of good and bad characters. (Yes, that’s a real word apparently.)

You can try to to ignite chemistry when you have some of the other ingredients.

Commitment without the rest is a contract.

Character and compatibility are the dance of compromises and give & takes.

Communication is most of the “work”.

Chemistry without the rest is a sprint. If you want to finish the marathon, then remember to refuel and don’t burn out.

Chemistry starts, commitment binds. The rest keeps the flame alive.

What are some other ingredients do you think fit in the checklist?

Note: I am generally suspicious of alliterations as teaching tools because it’s very tempting to force concepts that don’t fit or use words that aren’t exactly precise, but I am happy with all the words in the list and conveniently they all start with the letter ‘C’.

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