What do you mean by Successful?
In the final sentence of the introduction, I stated, “The degree of
success, of course, ultimately varies based on the desired goals for the
relationship and willingness to try to make it successful. Thus, before
anyone goes further reading this book, we must establish a definition as
to what is successful. This is not an easy question to answer as the
definition changes from individual to individual and also changes from
factors including but not limited to the following:
• Type of relationship
• Context in which relationship is taking place
• Personality of people involved in relationship
• Cultural / religious norms
• Level of intimacy desired
• Amount of actual in-person contact desired
• Many more factors
Furthermore, it is easily recognizable that one person’s definition
can be different from someone else’s and to them be absolutely
acceptable and correct!
For the purposes of this book, when I use the word successful,
successful will be the ability to be able to get along in positive,
nonviolent, productive, on-going interactions that are in person (not
just online) without a permanent breakdown. Feel free to shorten that if
you want for you but all of those key points should be included. Some
additional factors to consider for this book:
1) OF COURSE there can be OTHER things in addition to the “seven
things” that will be explained and should be. Some of these other
things will be examined at other points. However, I contest, these other
things are dependent on the individual’s and relationship’s needs,
and that the “7 things”, are essential at some level for ANY
relationship to be successful and in the order I present them.
2) This information is originally intended for high school age students
to use as they build relationships with their peers, parents, and
“significant others.” It is entirely feasible for the information in
this book to be adapted for middle school age students in grades six to
eight (ages twelve to fourteen) as well as applied to young adults in
college (ages nineteen to twenty-five) or even adults over twenty-five
to adapt the teachings in this book for their own relationship
3) There is a growing population of same-sex intimate relationships.
These seven things can also apply to these relationships. However, when
speaking of dating relationships or marriages in this book, I will
almost always be referring to opposite gender couples (male/female).
4) There may be unmentioned factors that personally influence your
relationships not mentioned here, and that will supersede suggestions in
this book. As with all health topics, please self-reflect and make the
best decisions based on your needs and the needs of the relationship.
5) What if there is a “required” relationship like a parent/child,
and one-half of the relationship does not want the seven things? In my
definitions and explanations, then the relationship CANNOT be
successful. For example, if a teenage child is rebellious (some examples
later), they DO NOT WANT their relationship to develop and grow with
their parent(s). What they want is a relationship to meet ONLY THEIR
needs! Not only is this a source of constant or near constant conflict,
but also a serious threat to crash the house down forever.
CHAPTER 5: A RELATIONSHIP IS LIKE A HOUSE…
Regardless of the kind of relationship or type of relationship, for any
relationship to be successful, they need to have elements of seven
things and must follow this set of rules. If it does not have these
things, I contest, it will not truly be successful. However, as
previously noted, the degree to which each relationship has each thing
will vary and could still be considered successful, BUT it has elements
of all “seven things.”
First and foremost, like a house, a relationship needs to be built from
the ground up. We do not live in the world of make believe where we can
rub a magical lamp and tell a genie you wish for a new house; then all
of a sudden, POOF! a new house automatically appears. No, you have to
build the house, and you have to build relationships. Ideally, you want
the foundation to be laid then built up. You can’t put a roof on
before the walls, and the walls cannot be put up without the foundation.
However, when speaking of relationships, we often do just that. We try
putting a roof on without walls or walls without a solid foundation.
Again, it’s like building a house, and you NEED seven things in order
to build your relationship. It’s good to have other things, but you
NEED seven things, and it has to be put together in this order:
The most important part of a house is building the foundation. A lot of
people want to place the walls and roof up first, but you need a solid
foundation. In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus tells a parable
about two guys who each wanted to build a house. Not directly quoted,
the story goes like this: one guy decided to build his house on sand and
the other on rocks. Both houses were right near a river. They both built
their houses. The man with the rock took a long time to prepare his
foundation so his walls and roof weren’t so nice. The man on the sand
did not spend as much time on the foundation, so his walls and roof were
really beautiful. His house “looked” great. One day, rains came, and
the river rose. Eventually, it got higher than the banks of the river.
The man whose house was on the sand saw water come into his home and
wash the sand out from underneath the house…that caused the house to
collapse and fall into the river. He lost everything. I bet he didn’t
have homeowners insurance either. But the man whose house was on the
rock…YAY! He had a few leaky walls and roof, but his house stayed
standing because his foundation was strong.
Such is the need for a solid rock-hard cement foundation to be placed
for relationships to be built on. The three things I suggest you need
are honesty, communication, and friendship. Each of these will be
explained in separate chapters forthcoming.
Along with these items, you need bricklike walls. Taking the popular
child’s tale of the three little pigs into consideration: when the big
bad wolf huffed and puffed, he blew down the house made of straw, and he
blew down the house made of sticks. However, the brick house he could
not blow down. Everyone has a big bad wolf in their life and so too does
every relationship. The question is, is your house you made sturdy
enough to withstand the big bad wolf or not? For our house, the walls
are made from trust and loyalty.
Finally, a roof. A roof is meant to provide shelter from the sun and
rain. It covers you and your entire house. It culminates everything
you’ve built up and allows for complete closure and meeting of the
walls. Some roofs are flat, but they tend to allow rain to settle and
can leak easier. Our relationship house has an apex roof, and the items
that make the roof are respect and love.
Each of the next seven chapters, some shorter than others, will explain
these seven things more in depth, and my hope is that you will
self-reflect as to your own relationships. Are you putting into the
relationship what you need to in order to make it successful? Is the
person you are in a relationship with working on it? If the answer to
either is no, then the hard part comes. Be fair…but ask these
• Are you expecting too much?
• Are they asking too much?
• Does it even matter?
Self-reflection is essential!
Excerpted from "Seven Essential Things Needed for Relationships to Succeed" by Todd Corabi. Copyright © 2016 by Todd Corabi. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.