Maintaining and Enhancing
Relationships: Concluding Commentary
University of British Columbia
At present, it seems fair to conclude that human beings are fundamentally and pervasively motivated by a need to belong, that is, by a strong desire to form and maintain enduring interpersonal attachments.
—Baumeister and Leary (1995, p. 522)
As some readers already know, three journal editorships and a dozen books later, I have spent a good deal of my time during the past quarter century as an editor. One of my beliefs about editing is that anthologies such as the present volume benefit from having strong introductory, interstitial, and concluding material. I feel editorial elements in anthologies help make the whole more than the sum of the parts. I am also fascinated with the topic of the maintenance and enhancement of relationships. As several authors in this volume indicate or imply (e.g., Mills & Clark, chap. 1; Gable & Reis, chap. 9; Karney, McNulty, & Frye, chap. 10; Jones, Doss, & Christensen, chap. 16), intimate relationship frequently start on very positive notes but decline thereafter, and yet, as the Sarasons' contribution (chap. 14, this volume) testifies, relationships are so important to our well-being. Thus, when John Harvey and Amy Wenzel asked me to do these concluding reflections, I looked at the excellent cast of contributors they had assembled and was delighted to agree.
Although each set of edited papers is unique, there are nonetheless some common tasks that editorial materials frequently achieve. These include reflecting on the chapters by placing them collectively in their intel-