Q: I’m starting a new relationship, and after several failed ones, I want to get this one just right. Where can I find the model for the perfect relationship?

A: I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no one-size-fits-all model for relationships. Each one is as individual as the people in them. What works for one couple may not work for another. You say you have had failed relationships—look at them and figure out what went wrong. People tend to jump into relationships without considering the important aspects of that commitment. A successful relationship cannot be one-sided.

Long-term relationships are built on mutual love, trust, and respect. Those are key ingredients that cannot be overlooked. Another aspect of a relationship is friendship. Do you like this person? Sure, you might love them, but do their little habits drive you insane? You may be able to ignore them for some time, but eventually, those are the things that remain, and they are the things that will tear your relationship apart. Sex is an important aspect of any relationship, but it can’t be the glue that keeps you together. It won’t last forever. Relationships, especially those that end in marriage, take a lot of hard work and compromise. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, remember that.

~ Susanne Matthews, author of Fire Angel and In Plain Sight