February 22, 2022

Have C.A.R., Will Travel—the 3 Most Important Elements for a Solid Relationship.

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had their share of difficulty in relationships.

In fact, I’d like to meet the person who claims that there’s nothing to fight or bicker about when you’re living with someone else.

The sign of a healthy relationship starts when two completely different personalities come together and continuously make efforts to compromise and accept each other as they are.  

My father, Peter, was a sage fellow full of incredible wisdom. Sadly, I lost him to cancer this year.

Some of his long-time pals and acquaintances used to call him “Dr. Love” because he was so astute when it came to matters of the heart. The way my dad connected with other people was incredibly profound; I used to act like a fly on the wall and simply listen to his brilliant words.

The following adage was, by far, the best piece of down-to-earth relationship advice that he imparted on me. It’s something I will never forget and always hold dear:

Have C.A.R., will travel.

C.A.R. is the acronym my dad developed that can be applied to any relationship, regardless of status:

C: Communicate

A: Accommodate

R: Respect

Brilliant, isn’t it? These three elements are the foundation of any solid relationship. And when I think about it, this acronym is absolutely bang-on fantastic.

I believe that if these three things exist in your union, you’ve truly got it made. After all, without these things, the relationship is doomed from the start.

What happens when you don’t have these three elements?

It probably goes without saying, but in the absence of proper, honest, open communication, things can go sideways pretty quickly. I know that for me, discussing topics like finances, family, and intimacy aren’t always comfortable. My tendency is to avoid discomfort at all costs, so I typically shut down my feelings and often keep silent. My dad always used to say to me, “Sh*t or get off the pot”—and he’s right. If you let things fester, it can only spell disaster in the long run.

You have to open your mouth and speak your truth.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t compromise and accommodate your mate in a relationship, then why be in one in the first place?

The hardest thing to do when two personalities come together is to try and make your lives gel cohesively. I can admit that my mate has preferences and interests that aren’t always my cup of tea, and vice versa. Over time though, one has to learn how to compromise. When two people can meet each other halfway, it ultimately creates a happy living environment and mutual respect is gained.

Which brings us to respect, the most vital piece of all.

What is the success rate of a relationship without respect? Zero.

I was with a fellow for a few years who was always respectful to me and my family. Over time though, things started to dwindle between us.  He was so incredibly unhappy in his own life that it spilled over into our relationship, and inevitably, I felt the true heaviness of it all.

It exhausted me, wore away at my self-esteem, and left me feeling neglected. As time went on, he simply “checked out” of our relationship. His inability to honestly communicate, accommodate, and respect me resulted in our eventual breakup. I remember how sad I was at the time, and now in retrospect, I believe that I saved myself from a horrible relationship disaster, straight across the board.

Regardless of what kind of relationship you’re in, practice keeping this adage in mind: Have C.A.R., will travel.

Not only does it contain the three keys to a healthy and well-balanced connection with another person, but it will always take you where you want to go.


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