Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

The Relationship Factor – 'How’s that workin' for you?'


For those of us who are married, have been married, or are married again, I thought I would share some insight into the relationship equation. Why are we attracted to another individual beyond the sexual or physical quotient that may result in marriage? Is it their personality, wit, self-confidence, intelligence, and/or charisma? Maybe it is a belief, as portrayed in the film Jerry Mcquire, that “You….You complete me.”, or “You had me at hello.”. Gag me! In any relationship the other may compliment who you are and your character traits, but the only person who completes you is you. A solid understanding of your core values and the implementation of those values are the foundations for a complete sense of self.

In regard to whom we marry, you will discover the majority of people who marry young tend to marry an opposite. The primary reason is not they complete us, but a subconscious belief they can fill voids in our self-perceived character flaws. Where do these perceived flaws originate? Welcome into the equation, our parents. The primary reason we marry an opposite is because growing up we are usually told everything we are what? NOT. Why don’t you study more? How come you are not more creative? Why can’t you be more extroverted? Why don’t you like the outdoors? Why aren’t you more like your brother? So by the time you leave the house and venture out on your own, you have a pretty good idea of everything you are NOT. The question is, do we embrace that knowledge and grow from it, or allow it to negatively impact our self-respect and self-worth? Most young adults are too immature to understand that a lack of certain parental dictated positive characteristics is not a fault of who they are as potential valuable human beings. It is perceived however, that if someone comes into one’s life that fills the voids in their self-perceived weaknesses, that person will make them whole. As a result, when we meet someone who is everything we are not, we believe this is the perfect match. I don’t study, you do. I am not creative, you are. You are extraverted and I’m introverted. I hate the outdoors, you love to camp. You are just like my brother. This is a match made in heaven. Well, maybe not.

Enter another relationship “danger zone”, when as an individual we mature and with time become more accepting of who we are, rather than who we are not. Subsequently, everything we are may become more attractive than everything we are not. Bye! However, the desire to be attached to someone like you can also have negative ramifications. You may have much in common, but if the value base of the relationship is not in alignment, it will hinder the longevity of the relationship. Why? Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who does not reinforce the core values you believe to be important?

The key to maintaining any relationship, whether one compliments who you are or fills the gaps in what you think you are not, is a unified and congruent understanding of the core values of the parties involved. Our priorities for our children, how we view the world, how we communicate our decisions, our faith, and what principles we collectively honor are a few common values that solidify a relationship. All relationships go through trials, tribulations, and transitions, but it is and will be the synergy and strength of commitment to a couple’s core values that will help them persevere through the tuff times. It is my recommendation that the beginning of any new relationship begin with a discussion of those values that are important to both individuals. Core values are the framework, trust is the glue, and mutual respect is the end product of a healthy relationship. By the way, have fun as well.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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