Photo: Matt Andrews Photography
“All you need is LOVE” … right? Not so much. Many of us grow up being taught that when we grow up, we'll fall in love and everything will end in a blissful, fairy tale ending. Except, they forgot about the rough, tough, and downright impossible spots along the way. We were never prepared for the real side of life that challenges, even the best of relationships.
The idea that love is really all we need is just a childhood dream — not an adult's reality. Love needs love to survive — and then some. These four ingredients — along with love — are needed in the recipe for a REAL, successful relationship:
1. Good, natural communication.
Partners who can communicate effectively are a match made in heaven. Good communication should essentially be clear, calm and direct. A partner who can openly discuss their feelings — and who can handle disagreements without a huge conflict — is a clear keeper. If there is defensiveness, criticism, or an unwillingness to listen to each other, it becomes impossible to navigate the struggles of life that will inevitably arise over time. Love is easily suffocated when there is poor communication.
2. Ultimate trust.
Trust is essential. If you don't have trust, it becomes impossible to grow into a committed relationship. Dependability and consistency are characteristics of a trustworthy person, and their actions should match their words. If someone talks a good talk, but doesn't walk the walk, it is a sign that they aren't worth trusting. Trust comes from taking a risk with someone and then learning that it was safe to take that risk.
3. Plain old compatibility.
If your differences are so great that you can't spend time together or share mutual interests and passions, your future together will be tested over time. Things initially may seem acceptable because you're “in love” with someone, but once the initial excitement wears off and you're trying to maintain a relationship for the long haul, these differences can create disconnection.
4. TOTAL respect.
Respect is critical in the foundation of a healthy relationship. You may get annoyed with little things here and there, but a love killer is disrespecting and devaluing your partner. It's important to be with someone who you admire and feel a sense of positive regard for. If you start off with someone you don't respect, love won't be enough to sustain your relationship over time.
Without these essential ingredients, the flames of your love will die out. Always start with love, but make sure it's a relationship filled with everything it needs to survive and thrive.