My best friend and my youngest son Wesley are amazing together. There is something between them that makes for wonderful, caring and extremely close interactions. When they are together they have the energy that most couples would give anything for. Being that creating close and loving relationships are my greatest passion, I've studied them and reflected on what it is that makes them so close. I'm sure there are many other factors, but the one that I see the most between them is understanding. They just "get" each other. It doesn't matter that Wesley is a little boy or that Shannon is a college student.
One definition can be found here, but in summary it tells us that understanding is the ability to comprehend and appreciate. The synonyms of understand are: accept, be aware, be conscious of, be with it, catch on, figure out, find out, follow, fathom, get the hang of, get the idea, get the picture, get the point, get, have knowledge of, identify with, infer, interpret, know, learn, make out, make sense of, master, note, penetrate, perceive, realize, recognize, see, sense, sympathize, take in and take meaning.
According to this source, understanding is to be sympathetically aware of other people's feelings: tolerant and forgiving. Having insight and good judgment. An informal or unspoken agreement. The synonyms it gives are: agreement and sympathetic.
Understanding between two people is one main component that builds a strong foundation of friendship in any relationship. Without understanding there are two separate people who aren't connecting in any way. With understanding the two people now are connected, there is a happy, invisible bond between them. The difference between understanding and misunderstanding in a relationship is the difference between a joyful, easy relationship and a distant one filled with conflict.
To understand the other in your relationship is a goal worthy of your best energy. I like to use models and I believe that Shannon and Wesley are perfect models for creating understanding. If a six year old boy and a grown woman can understand each other completely, anyone can.
To take some lessons from Shannon and Wesley and increase the level of understanding in your relationship, try following the advice of the dictionary.