Remember how you felt when you first fell in love? Like the world revolved around that other person and that all you needed was love?
New couples rarely think about the other ingredients to sustaining a successful, long-term relationship, because those overpowering emotions feel like they will last forever. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to believe that love will get you through anything. But it also takes some other key ingredients to make a relationship last.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, you know that there are at least 4 things you need in addition to love:
- Communication never stops being an important ingredient of a relationship. When we stop communicating our desires, needs and/or feelings, distance grows. We also need to take the time to communicate about the practical matters of doing life together. Often my husband and I get so busy with our separate work lives that we don’t want to fill each other in. But because work is such an important part of both of our lives, we need to make sure we plan time together each week to communicate intentionally. For us, it doesn’t just happen naturally.
- Mutual respect and understanding helps us see our partner’s perspective and value it. In any relationship, there are two different people who value different things, which is guaranteed to bring disagreements. However, we can determine in our hearts that just because they see things differently does not mean they are wrong. Watch out for criticism and contempt, and instead try to foster respect and understanding.
- In the first few years of our marriage, my husband I were not very good at forgiveness. So the distance grew and grew between us until we finally realized we needed a major breakthrough. Which came through forgiving one another and letting each other off the hook, so we could start fresh. Without forgiveness, a relationship cannot last. Everyone has flaws, and everyone needs forgiveness. You are not exempt. Realizing your own need for forgiveness will help you give it more freely to your partner.
- Compromise and reciprocity are other crucial elements besides love in a relationship. Both people need to feel empowered and that the other one is willing to compromise. The nature of love is reciprocal, not one-sided.
What are some other things you need for a relationship to thrive?