1. They are challenging.
I remember when my professor started this lecture and she named this as the first characteristic. I don’t think any of us were expecting this characteristic to show up so soon on the list, but the reaction from the class when she said this was a, “oh yes,” with lots of head nods and mmhmm’s equally escaping the lips of boys and girls.
This characteristic is the foundation of all relationships. It is the given factor in any relationship that quite honestly, a lot of people do not want to admit. Whenever we enter a relationship, whether that’s a friendship, working relationship, a dating relationship, or even just acquaintance, each person is “putting their best foot forward.” Whether both parties are doing subconciously or consciously, whether they like it or not, people are always, always on their best behavior in the beginning of a relationship. A person may not know that the other tends to lie a lot, or that the person doesn’t do well under stress, or that they are difficult to get along with if things don’t go their way. Why? No one would dare let a new relationship be ruined or spoiled by their not-so-compatible qualities. So of course the relationship can appear to be perfect. Both people involved can be thinking, “we’ll never fight,” or “we get along so well.” To think that way in a new relationship is normal, but it is absolutely one of the most unreal expectations someone could ever have for a relationship.
There is not a single person in this world that will never experience a negative emotion in their life. There are also no perfect people in the world. Everyone has their flaws, everyone has things about them that will annoy someone else. No two people are the same. And when two people are put into a relationship (no matter the level of intimacy), they will face challenges together. They will annoy each other. They will be challenged. Their relationship’s core will be shaken at one point or another. And that’s when it becomes so important to have that strong foundation that isn’t based on superficially believing the other person is perfect, or basing your relationship on material objects or obsession. Having a relationship that has a firm foundation is what allows for it to stand the tests that these challenges will give the relationship.
And if there’s one thing I’m sure of: if you’re in a relationship with someone and you’re not facing a challenge right now, just wait. Because one is coming.