Back in the old days, when I was much more a relationship-focused kind of guy than a seduction-focused kind of guy, I built this model for relationships, since I hadn’t seen any good concrete models out there and I thought it could be useful. The idea didn’t get a whole lot of interest from folks at the time, so I didn’t bother to do a lot of writing on it or really lay the model out anywhere, but it was called GISS, and the “G” in GISS was the central point the others connected to, and it stood for “Growth.” Growth was the keystone of a relationship that supported the other three pillars and was the key defining aspect of what made a solid, successful partnership.
I’m recalled to this today by a fascinating article I just read in the New York Times titled “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me’ Marriage”, which could just as easily be about long-term relationships in general as it could marriages specifically. The central element of the ‘me’ in the title of the article is, as it turns out, all about shared personal growth in one’s relationship. The title might perhaps have been a bit more suiting were it worded “The Happy Relationship is the ‘We’ Relationship”, but the point is it’s about that keystone element that’s so essential to the proper running of a long-term relationship.