We all know the famous Beatles song “All You Need Is Love,” but how true is this? Is love all we need to make a successful, fulfilling relationship? Or is there more to it?
Everyone has their own definition of what love is. Take a moment and think about what your definition is? What does love feel like to you? How do you show it and how is it shown to you? Think about your current and past relationships. Some were probably more meaningful that others. Which ones do you wish worked out? Why didn’t they?
When it comes to relationships, two of the most important things to realize are 1) what phase of your life you are in and 2) what kind of relationship are you looking for. In my early twenties I so desperately wanted to settle down and get married. I thought that is what you should do right after college. After all thats what my parents did, and that what some of my friends were doing. But looking back, I had no business being in a serious relationship. I was still trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. Could I really be in a serious relationship without knowing myself? Furthermore, could I be a true partner to someone without knowing myself? A good friend of mine recently ended a relationship with someone that could have been the love of her life. They were compatible in every way except that he was significantly younger, and still needed to figure out who he was. He couldn’t be the partner that she needed, nor could she give him the freedom to find out who he was outside of the relationship.
Obviously, not all love relationships are the “life partner” kind. Its important to recognize and be okay with that. We can learn so much from both past and present relationships. Often one of the most important things we learn is what we don’t want.
We all have had or know of someone that has had that relationship that was filled with intense passion and more drama than a soap opera. You think to yourself, if I can feel this high in a relationship then this must be the one! Why don’t we also think the opposite? If I feel this low when I am with this person maybe they are not the one and I should move on?
I think the goal to finding your life partner is knowing yourself and knowing what you need. Note that there is a difference in knowing what you need and what you want. We all want someone who looks good, who makes us laugh, has a great paying job, etc. I think we all need someone who supports us in what we do, who is loyal to us, who respects us, and who trusts us. Before we can find that person, we need to be that person. We also need to love ourselves. Loving yourself starts when you accept yourself, for who you are. That includes accepting your faults and shortcomings. We are human and that is all we can be, nothing more, nothing less. Do you show the world the real you or is it a mask? Loving yourself means doing good things for your body, mind, spirit. This includes eating healthy, exercise, limiting that amount of alcohol you consume, stop smoking, learn something new, challenge yourself mentally and physically, connect with the world around you. The list of positive things is endless. Doing good things for yourself includes respecting yourself. Are you able to love yourself? If not how can you start?
Another thing one must consider when starting a relationship is not only if you know yourself but does your partner? If not, can you find yourselves while being together. Can you support and grow with each other?
Picture your relationship as a house. Personally, I see love as the mortar that holds the “bricks” of a relationship/house together. You can have all the mortar in the world, but a house cannot be built of mortar alone. The bricks are the essential building blocks of a relationship such as respect, loyalty, friendship, admiration, and trust. A healthy relationship must consist of two individuals who respect, admire, and trust each other. Loyalty and friendship are built off of those three things, you cannot have these without them. The foundation consists of values and beliefs, “how you see the world”. Do you and your partner see the world in similar ways? If not can you accept and understand the differences between your views and those of your partner. This is what a true life partner/marriage relationship can be built on.
What does the rest of the relationship house consist of? The doors are entryways. Do you allow others to enter into your relationship or are your doors closed off. The windows allow a view inside your relationship. Who is allowed to see inside? Inside are the memories, events, and actions that build the relationship. Love needs a solid foundation, its needs structure. A house is a basic structure, the more love and nurturance you put into it is what makes it a home.
Relationships can be the hardest things in the world to be in because we can never control someone else’s thoughts and feelings. Reflect upon yourself and either what it is you have in your current relationship or what you are looking for in your future relationship.