When I was in Utah, I was with some friends who were building a fire. They used some newspaper, a few sticks and a log. The fire started out blazing, but it quickly burned out because they didn’t know to create a teepee of smaller kindling and gradually add larger and larger pieces of kindling and wood until the fire was prepared to handle a big log.
When their attempt failed, I said, “Here, let me help.” I instructed everyone to gather small twigs, and we built a small tee pee and started the fire in the center of it. The fire took hold, and we gradually added larger and larger pieces until it was time to add a bigger log.
There’s a point at which you know a fire is going to last. It’s well before you’ve put the big log on the fire. It’s way back at the beginning when the teepee catches fire and you’re adding more fuel.
I believe creating loving relationships is like building a fire. It doesn’t take much longer to create a lasting fire than one that will fizzle fast. You just have to have certain elements in place and put them on the fire in the right order.
Through trial and error, I have identified the following elements to a long-lasting intimate relationship. While the first 8 can come in any order, one should never risk flipping the order on 9 and 10. Think of #10 as the larger fuel that will smother your fire if you put it on before the other elements have given your fire a good start.
- Shared Values
- Caring and Kindness
- Love & Affection
- Commitment / Investment
A great relationship comes when two people are willing to invest in each other and in the relationship.
I love this quote by David A. Bednar:
“The word love is both a verb and a noun. I think sometimes we think, ‘Well, I have to have the feeling (the noun) before I can start doing love (the verb).’ It works both ways. Now, I don’t want this to sound unromantic, but love (the feeling) follows love (the verb).
We find young people all over the world who think, ‘I have to find the one, the true, the only; and more correctly, you have to become the one, the true and the only through what you do and what you become. You don’t just sit around and wait to fall in love. You engage in love (the verb) and then love (the noun – the emotion and the feeling) is just remarkable. So I think you create it. You don’t find it.”
This principle applies not only to dating, but also to life and business. Taking your time to build solid foundations and systems, allows for future growth and expansion that is sustainable.