Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they're trying to find someone who's going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.
The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the Personality Ethic) rather than from our own inner core (the Character Ethic), others will sense that duplicity. We simply won't be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence.
The biggest lesson from Africa was that life's joys come mostly from relationships and friendships, not from material things. I saw time and again how much fun Africans had with their families and friends and on the sports fields; they laughed all the time.
In the twentieth century one of the most personal relationships to have developed is that of the person and the state. It's become a fact of life that governments have become very intimate with people, most always to their detriment.
Ultimately it boils down to the same thing all relationships boil down to -- eating humble pie. I sometimes eat quite a lot. But, however bitter it might taste, it's the best pie. It's on the menu constantly for both parties.
It seems to me that the best relationships-- the ones that last-- are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.