Relationships gain depth in leaps and bounds and rarely (if ever) is this process gradual. Yes, your effort in understanding a relationship and your investment of time and labour is everyday, but this is simply preparation for the big tests that life throws at you.
Bonding does not happen under ordinary circumstances.
A good example could be strangers thrown into a difficult situation, say a train wreck. All the years spent learning and understanding concepts of team work is simply preparation for the fight to survive this tragedy. And it is well-known that people and families who were complete strangers before a tragedy, become life long friends afterwards. So, what makes this happen?
I think tragedies and difficult times reveal our true identities and force the untainted human to step out of our everyday protective shells. We reset our priorities to the very basic needs, and since these needs are more or less similar across humans, everyone’s priorities get aligned. One can learn from this and bring the same joy of growing together in daily lives. By creating more situations where you have some if not all priorities aligned. Say going on a survival trek. Or playing a game of tennis. But these are by design. The big challenge and big rewards is learning to survive together the unplanned battles. From the ‘ordinary’, like the arguments that start from the kitchen or living room and always end up in the bed room to the ‘extraordinary’, like the loss of a child.
An amazing thing that can happen inside the conflict bubble is the act of placing the other before oneself. This is the magic moment. In a relationship between honest individuals, the act of giving up reigns supreme in creating a bond. When we give up, we expose a vulnerability even while the act itself is that of strength. I think Nature designed goodness to be recognizable. When you give up, you put your goodness on the table, where it gets identified, and that is what creates the bond. This act of extending yourself unconditionally is also known as love.
Relationships are journeys of the heart. To go far all you have to do is keep your love, and keep walking.