Necessity Vs Sufficiency: How You Can Apply This Law Concept To Relationships

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If you have lawyer friends in your circle (or have studied law yourself), you may have heard the terms "necessity" and "sufficiency" being used together. 

In the simplest sense, these legal — and often philosophical — words draw a distinction between something that exists as a pre-condition for an event to occur and something that actually makes the event happen. Take, for example, the basic concept of doing an online course. Paying the course fees is a necessary condition in order for you to graduate from the course but it is not the only condition you'll have to meet. You'd also have to make sure you do the sufficient stuff — like attend the virtual classes, take notes, study, pass exams, and get good grades. 

According to @sistalkswithsahar, it is possible to apply this basic law concept to love and relationships too. "Very early on in law school, you learn the difference between something being necessary and something being sufficient. Just because something's necessary, doesn't mean it's sufficient," she shared. What does this mean for love exactly? It might actually be the difference between why most relationships fail after the first few dates and why some last. 

Make sure you're covering both necessity and sufficiency when it comes to relationships

Too often in life, we settle for some fundamental and/or universal character traits that we think we want in a partner. As time goes by, though, we realize those traits are just the basic necessities you'd want in a significant other. They're not sufficient to actually make a successful relationship. More often than not, this is because the necessary stuff doesn't take into account your particular relationship needs. 

Composer and musician Edward Carr shared in a post on LinkedIn, "An orchestra with a great brass section but no string section is not going to get very far. It's necessary to play the right notes, but if you don't also play the correct rhythms its going to sound a mess!" The same can be said of love. If you think loving someone is enough to make a relationship work, you might want to think again. As Carr noted, "You can love someone completely and totally, but if there is a serious flaw in the relationship, like say, alcoholism, then love will not be sufficient to make that relationship work."

The entire premise behind applying the necessity vs. sufficiency law concept to relationships is to understand what truly matters to you and not be afraid to voice it. Cooking together might be the secret ingredient you think your relationship needs, but what is that without loyalty? 

How to arrive at both necessary and sufficient character traits when dating

Lists are a good place to start. Ask yourself what your basic necessity is in a partner and then see if those are actually enough to make a relationship work. More often than not, you'll realize that there are more things you need. 

Author of "The Love List: A Guide to Getting Who You Want," Elena Murzello shared with NBC News that the interesting thing about lists is that they can change as we evolve. Murzello interviewed more than 100 single, married, and divorced people for her book, and found that knowing yourself is the first step. She explained, "When people who don't know themselves get together, you either have to grow together or you grow apart and that's what I found; a lot of these couples were growing apart because they just didn't know what they wanted and who they were." 

Dating is the first phase of a relationship and it's important to be exact about what you want here. Do you want your partner to be kind and have a good sense of humor? That's great. But those alone aren't going to make a long-term relationship work. List down very specific needs that you have too — for example, I want them to be respectful of my family and friends. Ultimately, knowing exactly what you want is better than settling for something basic.