How Strong is Your Relationship?
I sometimes watch ‘The Real Housewives’ series and like to observe the couple’s relationships in these shows. You can predict the one’s that aren’t going to make it and the one’s that will.
Having a separate identity is essential to any relationship, but in opposition, when you are on TV the ability to come together and form a strong ‘unit’ is crucial to survive the pressures of Reality TV.
A weak unit leads to separation, divorce, and even suicide. Of course, these crises make for good TV, but when a suicide happens after a break down in a relationship it raises ethical warning bells. Entering such a show should come with a caution: ‘couples proceed at your own risk’.
A weak couple ‘unit’ usually consists of some sort of imbalance in the relationship which is not yet obvious to the untrained eye: one half is overly adjusting to the other, one partner is less responsive than the other, one partner is trying to be something they are not, one half expects things to be a certain way or one half is simply less invested in the relationship.
The unit contains unaddressed weaknesses, a ticking time bomb. In life, these can go unnoticed but on TV these are pushed to the fore, are harder to cover up, resulting in the unit becoming threatened to the point that any situation can turn into a bigger crisis.
Observe the relationships that actually ‘Work’ on the Housewives show, they consist of:
1. Teamwork – the unit works well together, overcoming things as a team, deals with things as and when they arise (not left unresolved). They may be shaken by a situation/crisis, but not fractured by it.
2. Communication – the unit has good communication skills. They have regular discussions and talks, they debrief things at the right time and for the right length of time. They listen to each other’s opinions with openness, respect and understanding (rather than simply obeying, complying, or agreeing with the other for the sake of peace; or trying to minimise/ignore an issue; or trying to convince the other to think the same they do).
3. Expression of Feelings – they have unconditional love for each other, despite differences. There is emotional support as well as mental and physical support.
4. Qualities – Maturity, Confidence, Playfulness and Equality.
5. Own Self-Management – They are aware of their own areas for development, own weaknesses and fallibilities, therefore able to critique themselves when necessary, taking ownership of their part in something.
6. Resilience – they are proactive about nurturing and caring for the relationship as a whole and they find various ways to make sure this is met.
The above can be used to assess any relationship. Rate each point from 0-10 and use the lower scores as a gauge of what areas need improvement, if any!