I recently had a discussion with a very insightful woman about what she feels are the four relationship building blocks, all of which must be in place for the relationship to work.
Think of these as four quarters you attempt to trade in for a dollar — without all four, you don’t get what you want.
These are the most important aspects of any successful relationship. How many do you and your partner have?
Here are the 4 essential pieces all great relationships must have to work:
1. Initial attraction
Basic and simple, but essential.
Without some sort of physical attraction, the relationship will not get far enough to meet any of the other criteria in the first place. There isn’t much to explain at this point, just the necessity to be attracted enough to someone to desire to pursue something more with them.
Beyond just looking at someone and seeing physical attractiveness, is the deep desire for them we have as feelings increase. Anyone who’s felt a deep yearning to be physically close to someone else understands this point.
This happens when you don’t realize you love this person because you’re deeply attracted to him or her, but when you realize you’re deeply attracted to each other, it’s because you’re in love.
Without this intensity between two people, they’ll eventually become less physically (and emotionally) intimate with each other, and drift apart.
Chemistry isn’t just about physical attraction — it goes far beyond that into the realm of emotional connection. Chemistry is what makes you want to put the effort in for someone.
It makes you want to see them happy. It’s the spark that links you together like two electrified magnets. It’s the ability to laugh together, to cry together, to feel together. And, most of all, the willingness to do so.
Related: Is It Love or Sexual Attraction
3. Shared values
This may seem simple, but many people coast along in relationships for a while before they really identify if their core values match up.
If someone wants to raise children in the city, but their significant other wants to raise them in the country, this will cause conflict.
If you want kids but the other person doesn’t, this will cause conflict.
And ff you never picture yourself getting married but the person you’re with is ready to settle down, this will cause conflict.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of two people moving forward together in life is that they want to move in the same direction.
As the saying goes, timing is everything in life. But this is even more true in relationships.
It doesn’t matter how perfect you are for someone, how much work you’ve done on yourself, or how much you love him or her; none of it matters if they aren’t ready for you.
Timing is likely the most important key to a lasting relationship, and maybe also the most frustrating because it cannot be controlled. You can’t change when someone comes into your life. Also you can’t change the phase that either of you is in when your paths cross.
You can’t change the past you’ve chosen, no matter how much you wish the stars of the present were aligned better than they are. Timing is apathetic to your wants and needs. It just… is.
I’ve gone through many phases of life where I knew I wasn’t ready or willing to enter a relationship. Some people are ready at 20; some are ready at 30; but some are ready, go through a life change, and need to work on becoming ready again.
The bottom line is, if two people aren’t ready to be with each other, none of the other three quarters make a difference. You’ll only have 75 cents, and 75 cents will never get you a dollar.
James Michael Sama is a relationship expert who writes about dating and relationships. He speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness, and has been featured in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.
This article originally appeared on YourTango