Relationship Analysis Essay, Research Paper
?Intimacy, a unique bond created by two people through some combination of highly interdependent actions, individualized rules, and personal disclosures, and viewed by both parties as relatively affectionate, intrinsically rewarding, and irreplaceable? (Trenholm Jensen 293). This definition would definitely describe the relationship I have with my current boyfriend, Lance Robert LeMarie. I would describe our relationship as a private, close, and personal relationship. We share just about everything that goes on in our lives and can read each other like a book. We are so close; that rarely do we tell each other what we are feeling before the other already knows. We can tell each other?s state of mind and mood by the kinds of nonverbal codes we are sending out. He always notices when I am nervous or anxious because I bite on my bottom lip, and I can tell when he is aggravated because he rolls his eyes like a little girl. In this paper, I will give a brief analysis this relationship and the stages that we have and are currently going through. As a guideline, I will use Knapp?s stages for an intimate relationship, and the concepts of verbal and nonverbal competence as stated in chapter?s three and four of our textbook.
There are countless reasons why people are attracted to each other and form some relationship. Some of these reasons are personality, physical looks, intellectual stimulation, common interest, and differences. Lance and I developed our relationship at a young age. We first caught each other?s eye in the school office, our freshmen year of high school.
According to Knapp?s theory the development of relationships and stages of intimacy, have some very definitive and distinctive steps. The first step is initiating in which both parties follow scripts, there is a high amount of self-monitoring, and we are making judgments. This stage consists of making contact with the other person and showing that you are the kind of person worth talking to. Our relationship was initiated as soon as we held our first conversation, and facilitated by the fact that we sat next to each other in most of our classes. The first time we met was our first day of school at Catholic High School; we were both new students that had transferred from other schools. Physical appearance plays a major role in this step; I remember thinking that he had the most gorgeous facial features and adorable dimples. From the start, I could tell that he had an outgoing personality by the way he talked back to any authority figure without blinking an eye. Sure, it sounds bad, but at that age, we thought it was cute and funny.
The next step is experimenting, this is when you reduce uncertainty and identify with the others similarities. Though we were both physically attracted to each other from the moment we met, our relationship began as just friends. I was dating one of his best friends. Since we were not dating each other we were not trying to impress one another, we were just being ourselves. We would talk on the phone for hours at a time about anything and everything that crossed our teenage minds. In this stage, we formed a bond and a trust for each other that we now know is irreplaceable.
During this time, his friend and I decided to see other people. Therefore, Lance and I decided to give our feeling a chance. Since our relationship went through the first steps, we just skipped them in the romantic since and jumped right into intensifying.
Intensifying is when the expressions of feelings become more common. In the beginning of this phase, we were faced with many ?tests.? The most intense was the ?endurance test, when the costs associated with the relationship are increased to see if the other is willing to remain?(310). He had to decide if our relationship was worth losing a best friend. After many months of crying, fighting, and thinking, we finally decided to follow our hearts and go for it.
I would describe what I was going through as a giant whirlpool of emotions. I was so confused about everything, life, relationships, friendships, and family. We broke up and got back together numerous times, and fought about stupid things that before would have never caused a problem. At times, I noticed that we did not know what to say to the other as if we were strangers meeting for the first time. This stage of our relationship was difficult but feasible. Mostly because as a teenager it is hard to ignore what other, people are saying and thinking about you and your actions. After a long discussion one school night, we both decided that if our relationship was going to work we needed to ignore rumors and other peoples? opinion. We needed to do what made us happy. This brought us right into integrating.
Integrating, ?partners in romantic couples begin to organize their everyday lives around each other, interdependence becomes more visible to others?(312). We still had the occasional healthy fights, but now we were viewed and known to others as a couple. We were developing a ?love/intimate relationship, hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm contact, more bodies leaning against one another, and more touching in general?(71). Often times I would go places without him and people would ask, where he was and why he was not with me. We spent most of our free time doing things together, like going to see a movie or playing Nintendo at my house.
In just about every school there is a couple that everyone thinks is so cute and perfect, well we were that ideal couple. The couple that everyone thinks will go to college together and have this perfect life. We very voted the most popular couple at our senior prom. I guess our classmates did not realize all the problems we had and were about to have.
Although we had some rough patches in our relationship before, we were definitely not ready for what was about to happen. But then again I do not think that any relationship is ready for this. In February of 2000, Lance was arrested in Houston, Texas for possession of a controlled substance. He was in the car with his ?friends? when they got pulled over, even though the drugs were not his; he was still guilty by association. He was sentenced to sixty days in the Harris County Jail, and then would be sent to Harris County Boot Camp for 190 days. This is a feeling I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I felt as if my whole world was crumbling at my feet, and the worst part was that I could do nothing about it. It was time to play all or nothing with our feelings and our relationship. We both agreed on all.
You might think that something like this would ruin a relationship, but in our case, it made our feelings and our trust for one another one hundred percent stronger. I guess we figured that if we could make it through this then we could make it through anything. It is true what they say; absence does make the heart grow fonder. We both learned that the hard way. I knew he truly loved me when I received a letter from boot camp with a poem that he wrote in it.
Not only did our relationship grow stronger, but my relationship with his family also flourished. In a sense, I am now a part of his family and he is a part of mine. Brittany, his younger sister, calls me for advice on topics in her teenage life. Brittany and are as close as sisters, she always jokes and calls me her sister-in-law. I call his mother to cry or just to have someone to talk to as if she was my mother. Since his return from boot camp my father treats him like a son, if my dad needs help with something he will call Lance to go help him. I think now our parents realize that we are really in love and nothing can break us apart.
Bonding is the last step. ?When two people?s lives have become intertwined to their mutual satisfaction, private commitments are often formalized?(312-313). We are currently in this phase. Often times we have ?covenant talk, two people working out what they believe and what they hope for each other?(313). I have four and a half semesters left in college, and Lance is currently working offshore so that he can save money for our future. After graduating with a bachelors of science in Business Administration, I will start law school and we plan to be married. He is starting college next spring and is planning to major in business. At that time, he plans to move to Baton Rouge, where I already have a three-bedroom house, which is paid for. I know we will be one of the relationships that remain together. While writing this analysis using Knapp?s stages and the concepts in chapters three and four, I discovered many new things about our relationship. I always knew how much Lance meant to me, but after writing this analysis I now know that he means the world to me. Before writing this paper, I would hear people talk about special places and nicknames they have for their significant other and laugh at how cheesy they were. After carefully reading, studying, and applying these concepts and methods to my own relationship I realized that I have all of the silly little meaningful things in my relationship, I just never thought about them in that way. For instance our first ?real date? was Valentines Day our freshman year of high school. Until writing, this paper I had forgot all about that night. My symbolic thing would have to be the diamond tennis bracelet that he bought for me this past Valentines Day; I guess that would be our 6th anniversary. He also does the most annoying thing before we go to bed that I absolutely despised before, but now I do not mind. He talks real soft in my ear until my entire body is covered with chills, and does not stop until I am out of breath from laughing so much.
I never realized how much we actually do for each other without noticing it, especially little things which mean a lot to me. Like when I come home from school or work and the yard is cut, the garbage is at the road, and he will be in the kitchen cooking supper. I never ask him to do any of this but he always knows the right time to do it. He usually does it when I am having a horrible week at work, I am cramming for tests, and my homework is pilled up to the ceiling. I guess up until now I took things like this for granted. Now I realize how special he is and that no matter what the future holds he will always have a special place in my heart.
Trenholm, Sarah., and Jensen, Arthur. Interpersonal Communication. 4th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2000.