Diamonds shatter, steel breaks

When we think of strength and resiliency, two substances usually come to mind: diamonds and steel. Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring mineral, transforming from carbon undergoing tremendous pressure and heat for millions of years. Steel is an affordable metal alloy that when properly forged can support heavy loads without torsioning into a pile of scrap metal. Like everything in this existence, even the strongest substances fail: diamonds shatter, steel breaks.

Nothing in nature is perfect. Naturally occurring diamonds have impurities which affect the crystal’s strength. Imperfect humans make steel. Steel strength varies by ingredients and forging temperature. A slight variation results in the steel being too brittle or too ductile.

Our closest interpersonal relationships are much like diamonds and steel. Spouses and best friends are the two closest relationships a person has. Each relationship exists because of absolute trust, absolute openness, and a willingness to sacrifice for the other person. Yet the most important thing, the thing that seems to be a deep secret in any successful relationship, is open, honest, and frequent communication. We all face adversities, we all have bad days, and sometimes, bad things happen to good people. People in close relationships may seem psychically connected to the point of finishing each other’s sentences and anticipating what the other person may say. It does not mean the other person may understand what is occurring. Shutting down, bottling up, or deflecting adds unnecessary pressure to the relationship. Remember what happens when pressure becomes too great: diamonds shatter, steel breaks.

There is an old saying that a marriage (or other close relationship) is a 50%/50% proposition. It is actually a 100%/100% proposition. Each party must fully commit to keep the relationship healthy. There will be times when one party is giving 105% and the other gives 95%. Relationships are fluid and evolving because the people entering into the relationship are fluid and evolving. The important thing is to keep striving for 100%, to trust the other party, to find a way to work together through adversity, to forgive imperfections, to not hold on to transgressions, to believe in the other person even when that person does not believe in herself or himself. It is not an easy job, but it is easily the most fulfilling job in the world.

Keep your lines of communication open. Be honest, be forthcoming, be compassionate, but most of all, be supportive.

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