It’s a common term in our culture, usually referring to someone with whom we are involved but not married to. It’s sort of a politically correct “catch-all” term when we don’t know what else to call someone.

But what is it really? If we break it down, “other” is always “someone else” or “different” from us. The word “significant” refers to someone or something having significance, or importance.  It has “meaning.”  They “matter.”

So if someone is a “significant other,” they are both different and important.

So who are the “significant others” in your life?

In a new book by Dr Henry Cloud called “The Power of the Other” he addresses this concept in great detail and points out just how important “the other” people in our lives really are, especially when they are the right kind of “other.” Significant others are not always romantic partners.  They really are anyone whose life, whose input, whose “otherness” impacts our lives in a significant way.

If you define a “significant other” as one who KNOW you for who you really are, LOVES you as you REALLY are, CARES about who you are daily becoming, and is WISE enough to recognize the truth and courageous enough to share it, I think you truly “get it.”

But there is a catch: for anyone to be a truly “significant other” it’s best if it’s a two way street.

Truly “significant others” are difficult to come by. It can’t happen unless both are willing.  You can’t demand that someone be a “significant other” for you.

So who are your “significant others”? And just as importantly, are you truly a significant other for anyone else?  If not, why not?