Jim Stern Coaching


With over sixty colleges/universities in the greater Boston area, representing over 250,000 college students, you can only imagine how many college kids I engage with every year. When people meet me, they often ask what is the one issue that people bring up to me the most. I often reply that people want to talk about their careers, their limiting beliefs (like Imposter Syndrome) or finding purpose in their lives… but those are not the most commonly discussed issues. To be honest, the issues that come up the most are centered around relationships.

Often, when I’m talking with young people about their particular relationship, they will always ask me what the one piece of advice I would offer around having a successful relationship is. Now, as a life coach, I don’t usually offer advice, my process is about navigating a person to find the answers that lie within. However, my feeling is if you are asking me for advice, then I am happy to offer my opinion.


I have to stress, this is only my opinion, and although I was married for twenty-five years, most of that relationship was great… until it wasn’t. Yes, life happens, and I’ve thought about this subject a lot over the years. I have three kids; one is married with two kids, one is about to be married, and one has the subject on her mind. Relationships are great, but they do take hard work. It’s not like Great, I’m in a relationship and I can just sit back and let it happen.

I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already understand; however, I feel that there are four distinctive core components (at a minimum) that must be applied for any relationship to be successful.


The order here does not matter in importance.  The four core C components for a successful couple relationship include: commitment, communication, compromise, and care.

Commitment: It seems obvious, right? But many relationships don’t work out, often because someone just didn’t care enough about the concept of partnership and trust. Being genuinely committed to the partnership is vital. Stay focused and don’t be distracted from being part of a team.

Communication: How many times have you been out and about and you’ve noticed a couple not talking or distracted by their cell phones?  You wonder if this is just a one off or is it a pattern in the relationship?. Communicating is essential because when absent it can lead to relationship ruin. Typically, when one person in the relationship does something that upsets the other, it needs to be communicated as soon as possible. Keeping the issue bottled up will only lead to an eventual imploding or exploding moment. Talking things out at the appropriate time relieves the pressure valve; like one of my venting sessions, which I describe as getting the poison out. Once it’s out, now you can deal with the particulars of the issue. Staying calm, under control, and open minded during these moments is essential. And let’s not forget that good communication also means being an active listener as well.

Compromise: When you bring people together, in most cases you may not have the same opinions on goals, decisions, or priorities, among other aspects of life and partnership. To get anything accomplished on any issue you are trying to resolve, you probably will need to give up a little. Compromise is an interesting process, and although it may not be exactly what you wanted initially, it’s probably not too far off, and perhaps it even brought some harmony to your relationship.

Care: Caring about your relationship is where the effort is applied! It’s that simple; you can’t say you care if you’re not putting in a hundred percent in effort. What are you doing to add to the relationship? Do things that are not asked of you—the expected and not expected. Adding fun, romance, kindness, and extra effort shows how much you actually care and that you don’t take anything for granted.


There is an interesting perspective to the four Core C Components that applies to having a happy, working, romantic relationship. I mean, think about it… although people seem to be interested in what works, they are always thinking about their own personal romantic perspective. However, in the world we live in, these four components apply equally to all relationships. I’m talking about friends, relatives, co-workers, politics, and religion. Sometimes, a few of the components are in sync and working, but perhaps one is misfiring and needs to be focused on. Just look at our current government—if only congress could work on applying these four components; how much smoother things could be. Remember, it’s not a perfect world out there; everyone, and I mean everyone, has issues on their mind that might be affecting their daily lives. However, whatever the relationship issue is, applying the four C Components of Commitment, Communication, Compromise and Caring can make for a healthier and happier outcome for all involved.

© Jim Stern Coaching 2024. All Rights Reserved.


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