What is essential in a relationship? Is it the man, or is it the woman? Or the love between them?
Two people and the love between them indeed make a relationship, but is that enough to have a lasting relationship? Well, not really, because other aspects are equally cardinal in a relationship. These make the foundations of a relationship. Without them, the connection will start to wither at the smallest of troubles.
So, what are these “other” important things in a relationship, and why are they essential? In this post, MomJunction tells you about the 15 essential elements in a relationship and why they are vital.
If love is what makes a relationship exciting, trust is what keeps it going strong. When there is trust, peace prevails in the relationship. But if the partners do not trust each other enough, they spend their whole life doubting the other’s every action. No one deserves a love that needs them to keep tabs or constantly worry about what the partner might be doing behind their back.
Trust cannot be gained overnight. It is a goal and will get better with time. When you have nothing to hide from your partner, your partner has no reason to doubt whenever you are with others.
When you and your partner have agreed on a monogamous relationship, then loyalty becomes a key aspect. But what is loyalty?
It is the resistance to unhealthy thoughts about a beautiful colleague; it is refusing to flirt back with an old flame. Love with loyalty is probably more important than just love. So when your partner cannot stay loyal but says ‘I love you,’ will you be able to believe those words?
Probably not. Love, combined with loyalty, is pure and long-lasting. Your partner may not be as attractive as your colleague, or as soft-spoken as your old flame, but you chose them each time. And when you are loyal to the one you love, that is one thing you would not change for the rest of your life.
You may not always be happy in a relationship, but when you look back, the happy times must outweigh the sad ones. Happiness is an essential ingredient for a lasting relationship, so how do you be happy? Is it your partner’s job? No! Your happiness should be in your hands; you cannot expect your partner to be the keeper of your happiness.
The health of the relationship depends on both partners. If you are happy and content with yourself, you will be able to enjoy being in a relationship. Also, you can bring in positive vibes into the relationship. So, always make yourself a priority and do things which can make you happy. This will surely resonate into your relationship.
Respect is as important as love in a relationship. When you truly love someone, you love them for who they are. And such love automatically brings in respect for your partner. Also, a relationship is a bond between two adults with different opinions and views. Respecting each other is the basic foundation you need for a healthy relationship.
Appreciating your partner for who they are, choosing words carefully, maintaining boundaries, and refraining from doing things that can hurt your partner is how you show respect.
5. Emotional support
A relationship can take you on a roller coaster of emotions. But what makes it worthy is having your partner right next to you, holding your hand, through all that. In a loving relationship, you’d want that. When you hear happy news, you long to share it with your partner. And when you are feeling down and depressed, you’d want your partner to hold you and tell you that it’ll be okay.
Partners who are there for each other emotionally stick together as a team, dealing with whatever life throws at them. They create a safe place in their relationship where one partner can be vulnerable without the fear of being judged by the other. And when necessary, they are always there to lend a shoulder to cry on for the partner.
Everyday life can get your relationship in a slump, so a little fun and excitement are vital to keeping things exciting. If you and your partner can laugh in the face of a problem, then dealing with it head-on is going to be less difficult.
Once in a while, ditch all your inhibitions, pack all your worries and have fun like kids. Do something silly, watch a comedy movie or go to a stand-up event. Humor is a way to keep things light, and those who can laugh together can live together in happiness. Laughter is one thing that can bring you and your partner closer to each other.
When you love someone, you will not think twice before giving up something you like to make them happy. In a relationship, both the partners should give and take to keep the love alive. A healthy relationship is one where you do not mind letting go of your needs to accommodate those of your partner.
But it must be mutual. If only one partner ends up compromising all the time, negativity could brew in the relationship and drift you apart.
8. Freedom/ independence
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself. Individual freedom is essential for the relationship to thrive. A healthy relationship will help you become the best version of yourself. It gives you the needed space to think and express your thoughts and take your decisions in life.
Although you can include your partner in your decisions, you don’t have to let them take them for you. Life won’t be the same when you are in a relationship, but you do not have to change who you are for your partner. Retain your unique personality to keep the relationship exciting.
No amount of love can quantify abuse! If you cannot feel safe in your relationship, then no matter how much love you have, the relationship will not work. The feeling of being safe in your partner’s arms is vital in a relationship, as a committed relationship works on vows to protect and love each other forever.
Love is not always enough to stop the abuse, especially if it is one partner’s way of expressing love towards the other. No one deserves to live in a relationship where they constantly fear harm.
This is probably the most underrated, yet one of the important things in a relationship. Blessed are those couples who can be partners as well as best friends. Friendship is said to be one of the characteristics of a happy and lasting marriage. When you are friends with your partner, you will have shared interests that enhance your time together.
Friendship also helps in building an emotional connection between people, who then feel safe enough to be more open with each other. It also is a faster way to get to know each other. When you can see a friend in your spouse, you will be able to treat each other equally.
It feels good when your partner trusts you, right? Well then to establish trust in your relationship, all you have to do is be honest with your partner. White lies and deception can fetch you short-term happiness, but if you are looking for a lasting and strong relationship, then try to be honest with your partner. The truth could hurt your partner for a while, but dishonesty could break their trust and your relationship too.
No matter how hard it may get, try to always be honest in your relationship. If you do mess up, sincerely accept your mistake and apologize. Your partner might get mad, but they may appreciate your honesty.
If you are in a relationship, then the first and foremost fact to understand is that no one is perfect. You could have a foot-long list of ideal partner qualities, but at the end of the day, we are all humans and make mistakes. You need to have the ability to forgive and forget (if the apology is sincere).
There could be unforgivable things (cheating) in a relationship, which you might not wish to forget. But there could be a few genuine mistakes that your partner regrets making, and needs you to forgive and forget.
If there is one thing that can make all the above things possible in a relationship, it is communication. The ability to talk in a language that your partner understands is golden. Be it happiness, anger, or grief, the right words can carry your intentions straight to your partner’s heart. Not being able to speak your heart or share your thoughts openly can be a killer in a relationship.
When communication goes wrong, everything tumbles because suppressing your desires, thoughts, and dreams can lead to regret and remorse that could eventually end the relationship.
14. Quality time
How does a couple move on from being strangers to being inseparable? Well, the answer is simple: they make their relationship a priority and spend quality time together. When you spend time with each other, you can know your partner better and understand who they are.
Quality time together will also improve your communication, thus helping in building trust and friendship between the couple. Be it going to a movie or walking in the park, spend some time with your significant other. It will do good to your relationship.
Relationships are not always about sunshine and rainbows. There will be dark times too. What is essential is how much you value your love to navigate through those dark times and create more positive experiences. While love and sex are essential, they alone cannot do the job. You need to have these “15 other things” if you and your partner want to grow old together.
What is the most important thing in your relationship? Let us know in the comments section below.