All you need is love. Love is the answer. Love is all you need. Love makes the world go ’round. But does it, really?
Love is an incredibly important part of any relationship, whether it be family, friends, or significant others. Love is seen as the cornerstone, the very binding fiber that brings and keeps people together. But what if I told you…it doesn’t really work that way?
I used to hear people say things like “I love them even on days that I don’t like them” and had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept as I was younger. Today though, I can appreciate the love one may have for a family member, or even a pet, who may bring aggravation at times but you would still do anything for them.
I think that when it comes to relationships, we put a lot of weight on love. So much weight, that it is very difficult to tip the scale in the other direction. People seem to need tons upon tons of disappointment, arguments, or incompatibility to make the “love weight” budge. For this reason, they tend to ignore a lot of the bad things because they still have that one good thing.
Love is not all you need. You need mutual respect, compromise, sacrifice, understanding, the willingness to work at it and stand by him or her when times get rough. You need to be willing to be by their side not only during the bright days but also during the dark ones. To encourage them to become the best version of themselves, but also to love and accept them as they are today.
And, there are things you need to be okay with and willing to accept in order for a relationship to succeed:
1. You need to be okay with your partner not being perfect.
Nobody is – we all have our flaws, we all make mistakes, but when you love someone you accept all of them. Good or bad.
2. You need to be okay with their apology.
When genuine, honest mistakes are made, anyone worth their salt who truly cares about you will take responsibility for their actions and apologize to you. If you are unable to accept their apology, it will extend the conflict and not allow you to move past it.
3. You need to be okay with their past.
We are all adults and we all have a past. Unless you are each other’s first love, you are with a man or woman who has had previous relationships. Some part(s) of their past may still be present with them in one capacity or another – and you have to be okay with that in order to accept them in the way we discussed in point #1.
4. You need to be okay with communicating to them.
Nobody can fix a problem that they don’t know is a problem in the first place. If something they do (or don’t do) bothers you, but you don’t communicate the issue, they will never know to change it. Communication is a fundamental key to the success of any relationship – intimate or otherwise.
5. You need to be okay with them communicating to you.
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason: To listen more than you speak. Relationships and communication need to be a two-way street, and if you are vocal about your concerns but become defensive when your partner tells you about theirs, it will never work.
6. You need to be okay with being wrong sometimes.
Remember point number 1, about nobody being perfect? That applies to both people in a relationship. Just as they have flaws and will be wrong at times, so will you. Accepting being wrong is the key to learning and growing as a person and as a partner. Nobody ever learned something new by being right all the time.
7. You need to be okay with good and bad times.
When you commit to someone, you are not just committing to standing beside them on the sunny days. You are committing to being the person who holds the umbrella over their head during the stormy days. To stand by them through life’s challenges. To be their friend, their teammate, and their partner.
Be affectionate, be romantic, be intimate, build a strong bond with the person you love. Any good relationship will have (many) more of these times than the bad times, but life isn’t rainbows and butterflies all the time – and you have to be okay with that.
8. You need to be okay with how they feel love.
Everyone feels love differently. I really need to get my hands on “The Five Love Languages,” because I have heard great things about how the book describes the five different ways that people feel love.
The reason why this is so important is that if you and your partner have two different languages, you may express love to them in your way, but they do not feel it because it is not how they communicate. It is easy to see how these types of fundamental miscommunications can cause tension without anyone intending for it to happen.
I think it is worth a conversation with the person you love to figure out which love language they best relate to – and put in the effort to communicate to them in that way, as they do the same for you.
9. You need to be okay with different not meaning wrong.
We were all raised differently, have different outlooks on the world, and approach life’s situations in our own ways. As long as progress is made, problems are solved, and things get done – someone doing it differently from you does not make them better, worse, wrong, or right. It just makes them them, and you need to be okay with that.
10. You need to be okay with yourself.
Love is about acceptance, but not just of the person you are with – also of all the circumstances that surround a relationship. Acceptance of the realities of life, acceptance of responsibilities and priorities. Even acceptance of yourself.
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. If that one isn’t healthy, none of your others will be.
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