We are all familiar with relationships – and, we have many in our lives.  There are relationships between people, relationships between people and their pets, relationships between people and their belongings, relationships between people and the food they eat, and, relationships between all of us and our environment.  Each of us, even, has a relationship with our self.  The bottom line is that everyone is involved in multiple relationships at any given time.

By definition, a Relationship is a link between two entities – or, energies – where both parties serve a purpose and benefit from each other.  Whether you know it or not, or like it or not, you are in a relationship because you have something to gain from that relationship.  Once you have nothing to gain, the relationship will cease, as well.

With this article, I will focus on relationships between people, and more specifically, on relationships between couples.  In that regard, I’m happy to share with you my recent understanding of what a person needs in order to turn a short-term relationship into a long-term relationship.

In my personal opinion, a relationship between couples is like a pot of boiling water.  First, you need a fire to warm up the water, and then you must keep adding more water to the pot in order to keep it boiling.  Steam is the result of the relationship between fire and water, in the same way that passion is the result of the relationship between love and commitment.  In order to maintain a lasting relationship between couples, they will need strong love, long-term commitment, and lots of passion.  And, each one of those things exists contingent upon and dependent upon the others.

Interestingly enough, some relationships last and some don’t.  When they don’t, it’s either because the flames have been doused or the water has boiled over, consequently, killing the steam.

Now the question is, why do some relationships last, but others do not?  In order to answer that question, I invite you to take a look at the ultimate pinnacle of a relationship:  Marriage.

Whether you are a married couple or have simply witnessed others getting married, most of you are familiar with the wedding vows.  The couple look into each other’s eyes and, for better or worse, commit to love one another until death parts them.  Tears pour down their cheeks, his voice and hers are trembling, their feelings are running wild.  It’s a dream come true in the name of love.  It’s a magical moment in time.

Now, let’s fast-forward five years.  All of a sudden, that same couple who swore that they’d stand by each other through better or worse, now decides to throw in the towel and move on.  You may be wondering whether their vows were truthful, or not?  On their wedding day, was that true love, or not?

Did the couple who so lovingly gazed into each other’s eyes and committed to stand beside one another through good times and bad simply change their minds?  Or, was “the bad” too bad, or “the good” too little?

At that moment in time, their vows were truthful, and that was true love.  From my own personal experience, I can say that without a doubt.  But, just as there are different stoves and different pot sizes, there are also different levels of love and commitment.  Each person has a reservoir – or, a tank of love.  The more love you have in the tank, the more you can give.  The same holds true for commitment.

In a relationship, if things go south, it is not necessarily because one partner doesn’t have the ability to commit, or because he/she doesn’t love their partner anymore.  It’s all about how much we have in the tank versus how much we need to overcome the obstacles we’re facing.  Please allow me to expand.

Let’s look at Commitment as the ladder, and Love as the strength required to climb over the obstacles that come with long-term relationships.  Relationships dissolve and couples break up either because the ladder isn’t tall enough, or because we don’t have enough strength to overcome the obstacles.

Although every partner comes equipped with a ladder and a certain amount of strength, often, we may be unaware of the obstacles that come with committing to a particular relationship.  Therefore, it is not about whether or not the vows were truthful, or whether or not the love was real.  It’s about how much we have in the tank, and about how tall the ladder is compared to the size of the obstacles we’re facing.

I’m presuming that anyone who has gone through a break-up is trying to justify their position by deciding which side of the fence they are on – whether the obstacle in their own relationship was too big or the love too scarce.  I’m going to kill your momentum by saying that there’s no such a thing as “good and bad” or “right and wrong” in a relationship.  There are only just two different points of view.  We label things as either good or bad when we’re not happy with something that differs from what we, personally, may want or need.  However, this is a very subjective approach.  In the event of a break-up, no partner wants to think that they are walking away from something great.  Again, it comes down to the size of the obstacles in our path.  “Blame” is the game we play with ourselves in order to alleviate guilt, for, in fact, we are the ONLY ones who decide the size of the obstacles facing us.  Over time, the obstacles grow in size as interest in the relationship dissipates, and vice-versa.  The size of the obstacles becomes directly proportionate to the value of the relationship.

In order to fill up your tank with fuel and increase the length of your ladder, you need to STOP making the obstacles bigger and your tools smaller.  When things don’t go your way, instead of rushing to label them as good or bad, right or wrong, I would instead recommend trying to understand what caused the flames to cool and the water to boil over.  That self-awareness will provide you with insight and, eventually, help you to turn a short-term relationship into a long-term relationship.

Thank you and God Bless.

Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.