Listen to this episode with Dr. Charles (Chuck) T. Hill to learn the four factors that predict relationship satisfaction and commitment. Use them to strengthen your relationships.
You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.
I am a Professor of Psychology at Whittier College, and I have a PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University. I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. I have written Intimate Relationships Across Cultures: A Comparative Study (2019) in collaboration with 40 colleagues around the world, based on a survey online in 20 languages at https://cf2.whittier.edu/chill/ir. I have also written Prejudice: Identity and Well-Being: Voices of Diversity Among College Students (2022), based on a survey online at https://cf2.whittier.edu/chill/miq.
We recorded this episode on June 25, 2022.
Four Factors for Satisfaction and Commitment in Romantic Relationships
In Chuck’s research, he found four comprehensive factors that predict relationship satisfaction or commitment. The image below shows these factors and their subcomponents.
Out of all the factors that Chuck studied, some of them affected marriage satisfaction only, some marriage commitment only, and some both. In the screenshot above, you can see a plus wherever the factor positively predicts and a minus wherever the factor negatively predicts satisfaction and/or commitment.
Three Costs in Relationships
Chuck and I discussed direct costs and investment costs. Chuck mentioned three costs, and the one we missed chatting about was opportunity costs. Chuck was nice enough to explain by email (Thanks Chuck!):
Ten Components of Attractiveness
As we talked about in the interview, what each person considers attractive depends on a number of factors, and what goes into attractiveness is also broad. There are 10 elements, which we mentioned but they may not be clear from our conversation.
The Ten Components of Attractiveness are physical, emotional, sexual, sensory, intellectual, behavioral, observer, situation, reciprocity, and time.
More on the Boston Couples Study
The following explanation was from Chuck in the interview:
Before, people thought of love as an attitude, but we really don’t know how to measure emotions very well. You know, you hook electrodes up to people, and it doesn’t work very well.
So, Rubin said, well, let’s think of love as an attitude, and attitudes have three components: beliefs about the person, feelings about the person and behaviors towards the person. Well, certainly love fits that. And the advantage of calling love an attitude is that we think we know how to measure attitudes.
We measure attitudes by asking people to agree or disagree with attitude statements. And so we did. He came up with a bunch of statements that might reflect love, and asked people to agree or disagree with them. And then he tested his love scale by bringing couples together in a room facing each other.
Behind each couple was a one way mirror and somebody with stopwatches for each time one is looking at the other, and a third stopwatch when they were looking at each other at the same time.
What Rubin found was his paper and pencil attitude measure of love predicted mutual eye gazing. People with higher love scale scores spent more time gazing at each other at the same time. And so the national science foundation gave him a grant to study love, and Anne Peplau and I were his graduate students.
We recruited dating couples from four colleges in the Boston area. We followed them over time, both members of 231 couples, initially two years to see who stayed together and who broke up. And then I did a 15-year followup and a 25-year follow-up. And what I found was that we had three measures of attractiveness for each person: their self ratings, their ratings by their dating partner, and we took their photograph and had four undergraduates who didn’t know them rate their photo as well.– Charles T. Hill (Chuck)
Listen to the audio of the podcast or read the transcript to find out what they learned.
All these rituals [of marriage] have the same purpose to commit the two people to stay together. – Charles T. Hill (Chuck)Tweet
Timeline of the Chat
[00:14] Intimate Relationships Across Cultures
[01:15] Satisfaction and Commitment in a Relationship
[02:22] Partner Suitability
[05:08] Measuring Love
[12:28] Intimacy Dimensions
[15:15] Exchange processes
[18:00] The Costs of a Relationship
[19:33] Conflict Resolution
[21:39] The Role of Marriage
Enjoyed this episode? Please click this link to rate the podcast.
You love them [people] because of how they treat you, their personality, how they relate to you, your relationship. That’s what matters. – Charles T. Hill (Chuck)Tweet
- Take the survey at Intimate Relationships: A Cross-Cultural Study
- Take the Multiple Identities Questionnaire
Those who felt invested in the relationship were more committed to the relationship. – Charles T. Hill (Chuck)Tweet
Transcript of the Episode
[00:14] Intimate Relationships Across Cultures
[00:14] Damianne President: You studied intimate relationships across different cultures. What surprised you that you found in that research?
[00:23] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: What was surprising was that the factors that influence satisfaction and commitment are basically the same; the same factors matter. Now maybe some of the average levels may vary, but they don’t vary very much, whereas when people look at different marriages, different relationships in different cultures, they’re talking about the rituals and how they all differ, but all these rituals have the same purpose to commit the two people to stay together.
So oftentimes there are religious documents, there may be legal documents. People have their friends and relatives there. It is all for the same purpose, whatever they do when they’re together. It’s to commit the people to cuz they start out with a private commitment, but it’s the public one that makes them make the relationship work.
[01:15] Satisfaction and Commitment in a Relationship
[01:15] Damianne President: The other thing I was wondering is what’s the relationship between satisfaction and commitment in a relationship.
[01:22] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Well, satisfaction is one of the biggest predictors of commitment, but there are other factors too. And this is interesting because these factors that I’ve studied, they predict satisfaction, which in turn predicts commitment, but then some of these things predict commitment independent of satisfaction; you’re committed even though you’re not satisfied.
[01:46] Damianne President: You shared before that there are four categories of factors, which predict commitment. They could predict satisfaction or they can predict the two of them together..
[01:57] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: So these various factors in these four categories, they consistently predict across all nine cultural regions and also eight relationship types. And they predict satisfaction, which in turn predicts commitment. But some of these factors also predict commitment, independent of satisfaction.
[02:18] Damianne President: So let’s go through them one by one and talk about what have you learned.
[02:22] Partner Suitability
[02:22] Damianne President: So if we start with partner suitability, well, first of all, let’s define that. I think I could guess that one. It’s how well suited or how compatible you are with your partner, but what do you mean when you talk about partner suitability.
[02:39] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Well under partner suitability, most important thing is personality. It’s interesting evolutionary psychologists they’ve said that well, what men are looking for is attractive women who are fertile and what women are looking for is men of high status who can support them and their kids. But when I looked at the research that that supports that, I find that, oh, even in their research, those things are only moderately important and the gender differences are real, but they’re very small.
And in my own research, I ask people, what are you looking for? And I had a whole list of things what’s important in a partner. And it turns out that number one is personality; that’s most important. And physical attractiveness, well, that’s moderately important for both men and women. And social status is moderately important for both men and women, even if there’s a small gender difference.
But the point is physical attractiveness is one thing among many other things that you notice in initial attraction. And maybe it’s very important at initial meeting, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter much.
[03:57] Damianne President: I think that’s interesting to think about that initial meeting versus the long run, because especially with dating nowadays, so much of it being online and being in that format where you swipe right or you swipe left. What you’re seeing, what takes up the majority of the screen is what the person looks like.
[04:16] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: And so what you’re missing out on are many of the nonverbal cues. If it’s live, you can see some of the person’s behavior, but when you meet the person in person, there’s so much more information you have to make that judgment. And when people talk about well I have this feeling, I got this vibe, oftentimes they’re responding to subtle nonverbal cues in the person, maybe the tone of voice, maybe little things that they do, the glances away, the glances at them, all those subtle things we pick up on and we get this vibe. Most of the time, we’re not even aware that we’re doing this and a lot of that you miss out when you’re online. Some of it you get, of course.
[04:59] Damianne President: So if we think about partner suitability, I guess it’s more important for the people who are dating to consider. Well maybe not.
[05:08] Measuring Love
[05:08] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Before I did this cross cultural study, I was involved in another study 50 years ago, worked with Zick Rubin. He was the first one to come up with a love scale, a measure of love. Together we did a study called the Boston couple study.
And it turns out that ratings of partners, ratings by judges do not predict staying together. However, there was one measure that did predict, and that was that women who rated themselves low in attractiveness were more likely to hang onto their college partner, presumably because they felt less confident that they could find somebody else, but they weren’t rated low by their partners and they weren’t rated low by the judges. It was their own lack of confidence that mattered. And that’s the only way that physically attractiveness mattered in the long run in that study.
We spend too much time worrying about attractiveness. Think about all your friends and relatives, people you care about, some people you love deeply. And they come in all shapes and sizes, right? And you love them. Is it because they look like the models? No, you love them because of how they treat you, their personality, how they relate to you, your relationship. That’s what matters.
There are all kinds of things that go into considering a person desirable, how intelligent, how witty, their sense of humor, all kinds of things. Then another factor parents and others approve of the partner, because if they approve of the partner, that makes it easier to have a satisfying relationship and if they don’t approve, wow, that can make it rough.
[07:00] Damianne President: It’s a lot of stress on the relationship, right?
[07:03] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Huge stress. You might be able to make it work, yes. But it it’s gonna be a lot harder to make it work.
[07:10] Damianne President: What should people be considering if they want a committed relationship when it comes to partner suitability?
[07:17] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Okay, here are 10 components. One is physical and this includes, you know, facial features, body shape, things like that. Some are aesthetic features like symmetric features, average features called pretty or good looking. Some are neonatal or baby features- those are features that we call cute. And then sexual maturity features, you know, breasts and muscles and facial hair and things like that. Whether people are overweight or physically fit, those are things that enter into our calculus too.
But then there are emotional things, their positive feelings, such as love, affection, liking, respect, admiration, or negative feelings, prejudice, fear, stigma, disgust, hatred, those kinds of factors on the negative side as we’re judging people.
We know that it interacts with the emotional, we know that oxytocin is released during orgasm that promotes emotional bonding. There are people that we love without having sex or people that you have sex without necessarily loving them. But those things contribute to each other. And then there’s the sensory things, visual things, auditory, your tone of voice, laughter touching, hugging, kissing, caressing, olfactory features, sweat, perfume, cologne. Intelligence, how witty they are, their sense of humor, how smart they are, those kinds of things makes people appealing or not appealing. And then behaviors. There are all kinds of attractiveness enhancing behaviors that people do, the grooming and the clothing and all these things, but also the possessions they have and their emotional expressions, nonverbal behaviors.
And then there are observer features. What are you looking for in the relationships? And then how many of these cues can we learn about. And then the situation, where do you meet the person. You have expectations of who’s there. Why are they there? Why are you there? What are you looking for in that situation, which overlaps with the observer.
What are you there for? Friendship, relationship, whatever. And then reciprocity, in general, we like those who like us unless we feel they’re ingratiating or somebody’s hitting on you that’s not, not welcome. And time. Where are you in your stage of life? What are you ready for? What are you looking for as opposed to where you are in terms of finishing school, getting a career? When are you ready to settle down? When are you ready to make commitments? So these are different factors that enter into what we call attractiveness.
It’s not just the physical, it’s all those other things in interaction with the physical and interaction with each other that go into what makes a person desirable?
[10:18] Damianne President: And what’s so interesting is that when you think about all of these different components, then it can be very different for each person.
[10:24] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes. Exactly.
[10:27] Damianne President: One of the activities that dating experts might give to people is to think about the kind of partner that you want. And then there are all of these dimensions that a listener could think about. When you consider partners suitability, it may help to have some idea of what it is that’s important to you, what is it that you’re looking for?
I was talking to a friend this weekend about this, and she was saying that sometimes it’s very different in terms of what we say we want, what we say are requirements or non-negotiables and what we’ll actually accept.
[11:02] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes.
[11:02] Damianne President: I guess the theoretical and the physical do not always align.
[11:08] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah, well, we would call this the extrinsic and the intrinsic.
[11:12] Damianne President: Right? Exactly. Yeah.
[11:15] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: We have all these extrinsic things that we think we’re looking for, but then there may be some subtle attitudes that we’re not even aware of, or maybe we’re not willing to admit that we have some of these attitudes.
[11:27] Damianne President: And I guess the second part of that is that often people discover those intrinsic versus extrinsic from relationships. Like you can’t really do it in isolation.
[11:38] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah. That’s why it’s important for a young person to enter into friendships, to have some dating experiences, not having necessarily commitment in mind, but hopefully from these high school relationships, from these college relationships, you learn things about what you’re looking for, what kind of relationship, what kind of person, and when you’re ready for it. And in college, the Boston couples study found that half the couples broke up within two years, so it’s very common for high school and college relationships to end and even ones where you think you’re kind of serious, it’s very common to go through a couple of breakups. And these should be learning experiences where you learn what you want, what you’re looking for and what works in the relationship.
[12:28] Intimacy Dimensions
[12:28] Damianne President: And, okay, so this is partner suitability, which is much more of an individual thing. And now if we go to intimacy dimensions, that seems to be much more about the we component.
[12:37] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Very much, very much, emotional closeness, saying you’re both in love. Zick Rubin came up with one love scale, and then others came up with other love scales. And what I found was a couple of dimensions from Rubin’s scale, caring- I care about the person and attachment- I’m attached to the person and then Sternberg and others talk about passion and intimacy. And it turns out that those four together work across the nine cultural regions and the eight relationship types and. And these eight relationship types I’m talking about, this study included both men and women in opposite sex or in same sex relationships, unmarried people and married people.
The same factors are important across all those things. And then Eros, feeling we’re made for each other. Trusting the partner not to lie, that’s important. Openness, disclosure’s important, but it’s that you can trust the person. If it’s a sexual relationship, the satisfaction with that; that captures all of the other stuff, frequency of sex and everything else about sex, all is captured in that one idea. And then anxious attachment that some people are just anxious about being in a relationship. All of this uncertainty and anxiety they have, that interferes with the satisfaction.
So if you consider this person as a real desirable person to have as a partner, even if you’re not very happy, you may stay in that relationship, hoping you can make it work. And then feeling that you’re madly in love with this person even if it’s not a very satisfying relationship, you often feel committed to that thing.
[14:33] Damianne President: You’re listening to Changes Big and Small with Damianne president Big and Small will help you take action in your life with intention and purpose. In each episode, I invite you to accept unexpected challenges that will help you take action to live the life that you want.
[14:52] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: And then exchange processes. I mean, of course, feeling you’re getting something out of the relationship. If you’re getting nothing out of it, why stay in it? You’re not satisfied.
[15:02] Damianne President: So to wrap up intimacy dimensions, basically that involves the emotional and the sexual components of the relationship.
[15:12] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes, that’s right. If it’s a sexual relationship.
[15:15] Exchange processes
[15:15] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: And then on exchange processes, it’s not just gaining benefits, but being equally involved in the relationship. In the Boston couple study, this was one of the best predictors of who stayed together during the first two years and who eventually married their partner and who stayed married over the 15 years of the study.
We ask them who’s more involved in the relationship, your partner, much more, your partner somewhat more, it’s equal, I somewhat more, I much more. And those that said there were equal involved were likely to stay together. And then in this study, again, it’s one of the predictors of having a satisfying relationship, because if you’re not equally involved, the person who’s less involved can more easily walk away. And to keep that person from walking away, the other person tends to give into that person’s wishes, their demands. And pretty soon you end up with a power imbalance. That can last for a while, but eventually the person being dominated, may get tired of being dominated or the person that’s in the dominant position gets pressured to become more committed to the relationship. And so this is an important factor.
[16:36] Damianne President: It’s interesting because I was just talking to somebody about this in terms of equal power in the relationship. We were talking about how sometimes we can see similar sorts of relationships where there is no power imbalance, even though people may not have equal opportunity or they may not have an equal salary, like there are all of those different evaluations of worth that we sometimes put in relationships and they could be financial, or they could be class-based, for example. But perception seems to be a big part of the satisfaction or commitment elements.
[17:18] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah. I’ve known couples that broke up because she felt he wasn’t pulling his weight cuz she had higher salary than he did, that kinda thing.
[17:26] Damianne President: And then on the other hand, sometimes we see relationships fall apart, or people break up and you might say, well, what changed in the relationship that caused this to break up to happen? And sometimes there hasn’t been a change. The behaviors are the same, but the tolerance for the behaviors have changed.
[17:50] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes. You feel that what you’re getting out of it, is it worth the cost?
[17:56] Damianne President: And that changes, I guess, at different stages of a =relationship.
[18:00] The Costs of a Relationship
[18:00] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes. And there are three kinds of costs involved. One is a direct cost. What does it cost to me right now? But another cost is the investment cost. How much time and effort or money have I put into this relationship? And am I willing to give that up? And oftentimes when people feel more invested in the relationship, they feel more committed. And in fact, that’s another thing that I found, those who felt invested in the relationship were more committed to the relationship. And then they’re more likely to try to make it work, hopefully, maybe talk to the person, get counseling, whatever, or other times, just allows relationship where they’re not satisfied at all.
[18:44] Damianne President: And what are some of those things? Well, I know sometimes children come into the picture
[18:50] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Absolutely.
[18:51] Damianne President: if you have a mortgage or a house together, there are the possessions well.
[18:56] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah. Those are investments. Yes. And this is sometimes why college students along with the other stresses they have as they’re adjusting to being an adult on their own, their parents break up. Their parents split. Well, they’ve been hanging on to raise the kids. And then finally, when the kids are adults, they figure, well, they could go their separate ways.
If there’s been a lot of conflict in the relationship, probably would’ve been better for them to split earlier. That’d be better for the kids than having the kids have to cope with an awful lot of conflict in the marriage. So it depends. . Yeah.
[19:33] Conflict Resolution
[19:33] Damianne President: So the last of the four is conflict resolution.
[19:36] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah. Well, all relationships have conflict, but some have a lot more than others. There’s certain ones that are common. But if they’re extra high, that makes it much harder to deal with. But for the normal amounts of conflict in relationship, what matters is not the conflict, but how you deal with it, how do you cope with it. And the positive responses scale, this is things like you talk about it or maybe the other person blows up. Do you blow up? That would be a negative response. Or do you figure, oh wow, you must really be stressed. And instead of blowing up back at the person, you say, gee, did you have a rough day today, you really seem very stressed, to recognize if their response is way out of proportion there’s probably something else going on cuz acute stress accumulates.
It’s that kind of approach working together to work it out. That’s what matters as opposed to feeling, eh, I can always leave if I don’t like it. Tough. I don’t have to make it work, that kind of kind of thing. So those who are more likely to say, well, I could leave if I’m not satisfied; they’re less committed to the relationship.
[20:51] Damianne President: So you already explained that in this research, it didn’t matter if people were married or unmarried
[20:57] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: It’s the same factors that are important but the mean levels are higher. For example, well, the married couples obviously much more committed, and much more intimate, much more dealing with all of these things; the amount varies of these things. The average level can vary, but the importance of it, which things are important, they’re still important. They make similar predictions if you’re not married and if you are married.
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[21:39] The Role of Marriage
[21:39] Damianne President: It’s interesting because there is so much conversation nowadays and they might be misaligned as to how important they think marriage is.
And a lot of people nowadays say, well, we don’t really need to be married to be committed. It’s just paperwork. But it sounds like there is something about this paperwork that changes things for people.
[22:01] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Well, it’s a public commitment. That’s the difference. I mean, it’s one thing to be committed to you as an individual but the marriage license, this is a legal thing. You have legal obligations, and if you decide to break up, there are financial and legal implications for that.
If it’s in the church, then that affects all of the expectations of the religion, and how you feel about it and the guilt you feel, all those kinds of things. And then of course, all your friends and relatives treating you as a couple, which commits you together.
So it’s a legal commitment, a public commitment, social commitment, and maybe religious, depending on the ceremony. But all those other things come to play. And they have implications for the commitment. So it’s a level of commitment that’s much higher than just saying, oh, I love you, let’s live together.
[23:00] Damianne President: I was going to ask, where does living together fit then? Is it somewhere in between we’re dating but not living together and we are married, with all of the legal implications of that.
[23:11] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah. Well, back when I was working with Zick and on the Boston couple study, it was back in the seventies and there were increasing concerns by people about, well, a lot of people are living together without being married. Does this mean marriage is doomed. And we realized that in most cases, not all, but in most case, it’s kind of a trial marriage. It serves that purpose and we found that among the couples we studied, those who lived together, they weren’t more likely to marry or break up, but they were more likely to make that decision sooner.
[23:46] Damianne President: Oh interesting.
[23:47] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: So they either got married sooner or they broke up sooner but they learned living together involves a lot more than just dating,
[23:55] Damianne President: Much more negotiation.
[23:57] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Absolutely. Yeah. And greater levels of intimacy are possible. Greater levels of conflict are possible. All of these things. It is kind of a trial marriage in a sense without the legal and social commitments, but it requires the personal commitment to make the relationship work.
And the best divorce is the one you do before you get married instead of after. And that concerned that purpose, but then of course you have all kinds of attitudes about whether or not you’re engaging in sex; if you’re living together, that usually is the case. And is this something that is consistent with your values, consistent with your religion beliefs, if you have them.
[24:40] Damianne President: And family expectations as well.
[24:42] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Oh yes. Yeah. Approval of parents and friends. Do they approve of this partner? Do they approve of this relationship, apart from who is it with. All those things enter into that satisfaction.
[24:55] Damianne President: What are the practical implications that you found of your research. Does your work extend into any kind of actions or suggestions that listeners could use to increase their relationship satisfaction?
[25:09] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Well, I haven’t explicitly done that, but in the Boston couples study, we kept asking people did being in the study have any impact on your relationship. And when we ask what effect did it have, none a little bit, a lot, they said, nah. But then we ask him, well, did you talk about the study? Then it came out that filling out the questionnaire got people thinking. They figured, well, if we ask it, it must be important. Well, we were trying to find out what was important, but we put in there the things we thought might be. Well, it turned out they were, but it got people thinking about it. We got people talking about it.
I remember one 1 woman asked your boyfriend, well, how did you answer the question about whether we’ll become closer or less close to the next six months? And he said, oh, less close. She was shocked. And he said, yeah, I figured we’d break up this summer. Well, they broke up then
[26:04] Damianne President: Wow.
[26:07] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Or another one. And she asked him, well, how did you answer the question what’s the probability you might eventually marry this person. And he said, oh, 80%. She didn’t think marriage was something he considered; they got married. So it served as a form of couples counseling, filling out the questionnaire, thinking about it, discussing the questions.
So I wrote this up in the book, and my hope is that people reading the book will think about these factors and they can also answer the questionnaire. The questionnaire is online.
[26:41] Damianne President: And your book is Intimate Relationships Across Cultures: A Comparative Study.
[26:47] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: That’s the title by Cambridge University Press.
And the questionnaire, it’s in 20 different languages. And again, it asks about all of these things that went into these four categories and many, many other questions. It’s possible to look at the questionnaire without answering it but I think it’s much more valuable to think about and actually answer the questions and it’ll get you to do this assessment of what you’re looking for. And if you’re in a relationship, evaluate the person, evaluate the relationship and see, wow, does this make sense?
[27:22] Damianne President: Wonderful. I will include that link in the show notes and I have visited the page, but I have not done that yet. So that’s going to also be an invitation for myself to participate in that.
[27:33] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: That would help them think about it. I mean, it’s one thing to look through. Oh yeah.
[27:37] Damianne President: Absolutely. Yeah.
[27:39] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: And your initial question about what was surprising, well, if you look at all of these things, none of these things are surprising that they matter. But what was surprising is that yeah, it’s the same things that matter everywhere, different kinds of relationships, different cultural regions, those things, all of them matter, not just one of them.
[28:02] Damianne President: Yeah. And I think this type of questionnaire is really good for people. I mentioned earlier a conversation I was having this weekend and we were talking about the fact that a lot of people may share that they’re no longer intimate in their long term relationships. And there is dissatisfaction there on the part of both parties, but they may not do anything about it. And part of the reason that happens is because they’re not used to talking about issues. There is no template, there is no process, there is no system that they’ve ever implemented about talking to each other.
[28:37] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: The other thing that’s important is that people now have such high expectations of marriage. People tend to think that this person is their best friend. They’re getting all their needs met in this one relationship, whereas in the past, people realize that, well, you’re part of a network of relationships. You have other family members, you have colleagues at work, you have neighbors and friends, and you get different needs met in these different relationships. And I think nowadays people place too much on one relationship trying to get all their needs met and not having this other, what we call a circle of support, of all kinds of people that are supporting you and all the issues you’re dealing with and everything else. And then the other thing is, it’s so easy to end a relationship. It was hard to get divorced; you had to try to make it work. And now it’s easy to just quit. And with about half of the marriages ending, that suggests that, well, we need to do a better job of forming a relationship, finding a suitable partner, and a better job of learning how to make it work, how to deal with conflict, how to create the conversations that we can address the problems, those kinds of things.
[29:56] Damianne President: It was interesting because one of the things that she brought up was this romantic ideal of they will know what you need and they’ll be able to provide what you need. And I’m like, well, how, mind reading, which is one of the pitfalls that we fall into, where we have expectations that we do not communicate.
[30:15] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yeah, well, it’s kind of thing that you don’t get a parent manual when you have a kid, but you learn from looking at your parents and movies and stuff. And the same with forming relationships, where do we get our ideas? Oh, from the fairy tales and the movies and, you know, all of the romantic, the snow white and all that stuff. Now some movies show more realistic stuff. But still, our parents and our friends sort of become the model, so we’re more likely to look to. But again, there’s a lot of trial and error.
[30:51] Damianne President: Yeah, because we don’t get the full picture from looking at our parents and our friends either.
[30:56] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: yeah,
[30:58] Damianne President: the scenes stuff of what makes it work or not work.
[31:01] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Exactly. Exactly. So the more we can learn about what matters and learn how to think about those things and discuss those things, my hope is that that will make for better relationship.
[31:14] Damianne President: Thank you very much, Chuck. And again, listeners are invited go and visit the questionnaire. And if you wanna get some value from it, do it on your own. If you wanna get even more value from it, discuss it with your partner, if you’re in a relationship.
[31:28] Charles T Hill “Chuck”: Yes exactly. Well, this is a thing about couples counseling. It doesn’t do any good to send one person; you need both of them there.
[31:38] Damianne President: Right. Unless you can find something to change in yourself that might have an impact, but yes, ideally, there’s more success when both people are committed to that process.
We need to do a better job of forming a relationship, finding a suitable partner, and a better job of learning how to make it work, how to deal with conflict, how to create the conversations that we can address the problems, those kinds of things. – Charles T. Hill (Chuck)Tweet
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