Falling in love is one of the great gifts of life. When you finally find that special someone that completes your life, it can be overwhelming and all-encompassing. It can also bring a level of happiness and joy that’s rarely matched by anything else you may experience in life. In fact, the good things in life become better when you have that special someone to share it with. Ultimately, love heals and the world could certainly use a little more love than most of what’s spewed out in society, even at the present moment.
But love is also conditional on one’s ability to understand that unlike the Beetles’ song, you do, in fact, need much more than love. This is one of those times where I should throw up a quick sentence or two explaining that I’m not an expert in relationships and my advice should be taken with grain of salt. Especially since I’ve had enough failed relationships in my younger years to write a digest. But failure in name isn’t always failure in fact. And these failed relationships have taught what’s necessary in order to make a relationship work. But since this post has been flagged as my “opinion,” we should be good to go.
A good, strong relationship takes much more than love. It takes patience, communication, understanding and just enough similarities to mesh well, together while having enough difference to challenge and help each other grow. There are a bunch of other things that are necessary, as well. But what am I, a couple’s therapist? Definitely not. Like many people in modern society, I’ve been married more than once. It’s not something that I talk about much, but that failed marriage taught me the important aspects that I carried over into future relationships and ultimately into the relationship that will last me well into my next life. Let’s examine a few of these aspects in greater detail…
Patience is the biggest one and the first in my list. Without patience, there can be nothing else. The reasoning behind this is quite simple. No matter how much you love someone and how much you may or may not have in common, patience is needed in order to pave the way for the other relationship virtues I named above. If one is not patient with one’s partner, it can leave the relationship open to unnecessary conflict and hostility, which is never healthy for any relationship. I know many sources will say that it’s good to occasionally open the spigot and let the pent-up aggression out and that it can actually help make the relationship stronger. Maybe. But that’s a BIG maybe. I prefer to think that if one communicates properly, one can avoid the trappings of aggression and conflict, which leads me to the next virtuous aspect…
Communication is an integral part of living among a population of people, whether you happen to be involved with them intimately or not. Those who find themselves unable or unwilling to communicate effectively will usually face a host of issues with the other parties involved and this is no different with personal and intimate relationships. You need to be able to talk things out, discuss important topics and be willing to compromise and concede the point. You can love the other person with every fibre in your soul but if you can’t communicate, the relationship will inevitably falter.
And to be clear, good communication doesn’t just mean telling the other party what you want/feel and expecting them to accommodate you. It also involves hearing what the other person is saying and be willing to compromise on key points. For example, what’s their stance on finances? Do they want children? Even political positions can have a bearing and consequences on how well and how long the relationship may last. But if you have open and willing communication between two people and they’re willing to compromise and meet in the middle on key issues, it will make life and love all the easier and smoother.
Lastly, understanding is the result of patience and good communication. Sensei used to tell me that I was born with two ears and only one mouth, which means I should listen twice as much as I talk. granted, I think that saying was coined elsewhere but the lesson is sound. Understanding is part of the foundation of a solid relationship. It isn’t enough to listen and HEAR something from your partner. you need to understand the message they’re trying to impart, bearing in mind that you deserve all these same things, as well.
Loving someone is an important part of a relationship. You should never tether yourself to another person is love isn’t there. But love isn’t enough. You need to be able to communicate with that person effectively. You need to be understanding and not make demands of that person, nor should they be demanding things of you. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Love is patient, love is kind…” But you and your partner are the ones who need to be patient with each other. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with each other, talk to each other and compromise on key points. Contrary to what you may have read, don’t be afraid to go to bed angry. If nothing else, you’ll both have the opportunity to cool off and think things through before saying something that you’ll both regret. There’s my two cents on relationships. Food for thought… ☯️