In every fairytale, true love usually wins out. Most of us are hopeless romantics, and we like to believe that love has the power to conquer everything. Perhaps, that’s why the divorce rates are constantly rising: we’re just fooling ourselves.
Love is a big deal, but on its own, it isn’t enough to keep up the momentum in relationships. Love, just like a flower, can’t thrive on its own. It needs to be nurtured if it is to continue to blossom. If you neglect it, it’s going to wither and die.
Here are five other important things you need in a relationship, besides love:
Two people sharing a life together is an incredible leap of faith. There’s no partnership more intimate than a romantic relationship in which someone shares their entire life with you. Lovers need to be trustworthy—honest, reliable and true to their word. They also need to be trusting—to have faith that their partner will never deliberately hurt, deceive, or cheat. Without trust, you’ll never have a happy relationship, as you’ll fill your mind with only doubt and suspicion.
Respect shows the value you put on your partner. How valuable are you to them? What do they think you are worth? Talk is cheap; the true, most accurate measure of how your lover values you is how they treat you (and the most accurate measure of how you value your lover is by how you treat them in return). Continually disrespecting your partner creates a toxic environment, sure to kill love.
3) Common values
Love has transcended differences in age, class, education, culture, religion— there are even cat people and dog people who have discovered a way to make it work! Happy couples don’t need to agree on everything, but they do need to have common values. That doesn’t mean sharing every hobby or opinion. Still, partners do have to come to agreements on several critical life issues— how they want to live, how they should handle finances or whether they plan to have children. Couples need to agree what they call non-negotiable principles. They also need to agree on priorities, what is best for a family, and where lines should get drawn.
4) Common goals
True love is not about just looking at each other but about looking out together in the same direction. If two people aren’t working towards common goals and they don’t share plans about the direction they want their lives to take, then the relationship is going to fail. After a while, compromises get harder until you both realize you have reached a stalemate.
Communication is one of the most important things in relationships. Partners need to talk to each other about every issue that’s on their mind, but they should also listen to what the other person has to say. That means that to have communication in your relationship, you and your partner need to exercise to become able to express yourselves but also to become better listeners.