“What’s love, but a second hand emotion!” – Tina Turner
To be quite honest with you, I’m really not sure the point Tina Turner is trying to make in her song here but it was quite a thriller back in the 1980’s. I think it was more along the lines of not falling in love to avoid being heartbroken.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about!
Numerous studies have shown throughout the years that the average person will fall in love 2-7 times before finally meeting and settling down with the one. This is really a hard number to gauge as I think many of us have different interpretations of love.
Love can be that feeling of wholeness.
Love can be that feeling of unity or togetherness.
Love can be pizza. Or money. Or sex or puppies or video games or half price after 9.
Love can be so many different things and in speaking of love of another person, it can be the reason that we stay in relationships for the long term. We stick it out. We push forward with another person. For better or for worse.
And, unfortunately, it can be the reason these relationships can end so badly. It can be the reason we waste time with someone who doesn’t deserve it. It can be the reason we miss our chance with the people who really do.
That is why: Love is not the most important factor in a relationship.
Gasp! Say it ain’t so!
Oh it be so. Love is like that chocolate ice cream emoji. It can be used as chocolate ice cream or it can be used as poop.
Love can be misleading. It can be blind. It can hide the real issues in a relationship that are driving it towards the cliff. Before you know it, you’re relationship is the equivalent of a pimple waiting to be popped!
The age old adage that “Love is all you need” or that “If two people love each other, they will find a way” is sadly not always the case. Yes, love can be strong and it can be resilient, but it does not surpass the necessity of these 5 relationship factors, or characteristics, that truly create healthy, meaningful, long lasting relationships.
I mean, this is a no-brainer in my book because if there isn’t any trust than there really isn’t much in a relationship. There needs to be trust when I say that I’m going to pick up the kids from soccer practice I’m not going to forget about them and go fishing instead. Or when the other party is hung-over and they need pizza and a Gatorade on the double, there needs to be trust that I won’t be able to drive just 55 in order to provide this for them.
Without question, Trust is a Must!
Look, I get it, there are other beautiful, attractive people out in the world. We might see one when we go to the grocery store or god forbid we may have to even see one at work every day. That’s how the cookie crumbles and, honestly, that’s OK. But we got to stay loyal to our partner even more so than we need to love them. Loyalty is a foundation that can blossom a relationship from a slow moving snail into a majestic, action packed adventure film. It’s what separates Kings and Queens from jesters and peasants. Make our relationships a bond consisting of 100% loyalty and our relationships will shoot to the stars.
Honest Abe never did tell a lie and look where that tall, bearded, long hat wearing bastard ended up. President. Of ‘Merica. And if you think Honest Abe just got there by himself, well you’re sorrier than Tom Hanks loving a beach volleyball. Abe needed relationships to get there and by being truthful and gaining respect, he achieved success.
Relationships of love require just the same. Honesty allows the other party to believe in us and builds the trust aforementioned as numeral uno. To be able to tell our significant others exactly how we’re feeling and exactly what we think about different situations will help to avoid World War 4 from erupting in the kitchen (there’s a bomb in the lasagna!)
- Gratitude (Or Acceptance)
Showing gratitude on a daily basis is really just a great way to go through life. Our brains are not hardwired to stop trying to achieve and our whole lives are spent chasing goals and dreams, which is quite OK. However, unhappiness builds when we keep telling ourselves that we won’t be happy until we achieve those goals and dreams where in actuality, it is healthier to look back at what we already do have and have achieved to remind ourselves that we can be happy with or without our future aspirations.
The same thing goes for relationships. Unless us and our significant others can wake up and be happy just to have each other, period, then the relationship will falter. Do we really need that big boat or that perfect dress? Do we really need window shattering sex every night and wild vacations in the Bahamas? Do we really need to be able to perform dance moves like Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing? I mean, they wouldn’t hurt, but unless we can be happy with what we already have in our relationships, nothing will ever be enough.
I think commitment is a very serious issue in the world of dating and relationships today. A lot of commitment issues comes from wanting more than what we already have (i.e. not enough gratitude, i.e. this cake is good but DAMN look at that friggen cake!). I also think a lot of commitment issues come from selfishness and lack of respect for other people (yikes, that was aggressive). But whether we’re in a long term relationship or just getting our feet wet, staying committed is incredibly important in relationship success.
Both parties have to know that if there’s an DEFCON 2 level fight erupting in the house that both sides are going to stick it out after it’s all over and keep the relationship together. Both parties have to know that if the house goes up in flames and ninjas take all the money out of your bank account, that you’re going to work it out together. Commitment to the relationship is going to work out all of problems if both sides refuse to quit. Refuse to give up. Commitment is the basis of what an epic, life long relationship is built upon.
I understand that I’m going against the river when I say this, but I truly feel that these 5 factors are more important to a relationship than love. Sure, love is crucial and is most likely number 6, but these 5 will truly carry a relationship as far as it can go way more than love ever could.
With that being said, love is awesome and no relationship should be without it!