“All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need”
(Listen to The Beatles' song by clicking here!)
It’s the quest for love that makes us want to be in a relationship. Once we've sealed the deal, we hope that love will take care of everything.
And it does not.
If love is necessary, it’s unfortunately not sufficient to keep a relationship happy and healthy in the long-term.
After years of observing happy and unhappy relationships - including my own - I realized that four essential elements must be present for a relationship to be happy, healthy, and long-lasting.
A relationship is kind of like a chair, it has to rest on four legs. If one leg is missing, the relationship collapses.
Duh, right? A relationship indeed needs love! Doing love, not just feeling love.
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Both partners must share similar values because values are what guide important decisions. Same values = smooth decision-making. Being compatible in life goals and lifestyles is also essential to continue to look - and walk - in the same direction day after day, year after year.
3. Character & Relationship Skills
Both partners must have a good character. Integrity, truthfulness, loyalty, kindness, open-mindedness, (a lot of) patience, and as little defensiveness as possible. Any mental illness must have been diagnosed, disclosed, and stabilized with adequate self-care, personal and professional support, and medication when necessary. Both partners must be able to listen with attention, speak up respectfully, and be skilled at addressing and resolving conflicts effectively.
4. Ability & Willingness to Make a Commitment
Making a commitment is promising to stick to a decision even when the going gets tough. It sure is challenging to continue to show up in a relationship when we'd rather run the other way. Both partners must have demonstrated the ability and willingness to stay committed to something (anything) in the long haul, even when it got a little uncomfortable. Rough patches will happen, even in a happy and healthy relationship. Because it's not a "if" but a "when", both partners must be prepared accordingly and equally value the ups and downs of a long-term commitment.
Love is necessary, yet not sufficient. Make sure that the other three elements are present in your relationship if you would like it to be happy, healthy, and long-lasting!