Ask almost anyone what the ingredients for a happy enduring relationship are and they will put romantic love at the top of the list. Along with it will come a laundry list of cultural expectations; constraints that distract from perceiving what love is and how to be it.
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Awareness and realistic expectations
Relationships are mutual giving to get agreements and love is an action word. No one else is on this planet to make you happy and you are not here to make them happy. Happiness comes from within.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi
Respect, Trust and Open Communication
Respect and trust are fundamental to commitment and without communication there can be no relationship. Without the ability to trust your partner you won’t be able to treat them with respect and equality and be a supportive friend.
Trust provides a basis for communication, cooperation and the confidence to disagree without becoming disagreeable. Open communication means you feel safe enough to say openly and honestly exactly what you think and feel. It also means listening to your partner without judgment.
Trust means a healthy disagreement is an opportunity to share your ideas and feelings and look for a decision you’re both happy with. Trust binds and respectful decision-making can bring you closer together.
Support and Understanding
Like life itself, relationships are dynamic because we are ever changing. Provided open communication, support and understanding are the status quo, two people with different personalities and interests can be in a deeply loving and fulfilling relationship Sometimes change can be painful but resilient couples learn to accept, to adapt and to support each other through rough transitions.
When you love yourself you can enjoy being with another person for the joy they bring to your life, not because you feel you need them to survive or you think you are incomplete without them. In a balanced relationship of equals you grant your partner the freedom to be themselves, to stretch and grow or to wither and stagnate and they do the same in return because that is the ultimate result of love–unconditional love. The stronger you are as a friend the stronger, more equal and enduring your relationship will be.
It’s romantic to talk about love and realistic to acknowledge that romantic feelings are emotions that wax and wane in intensity. Touching is a vital human need. Every couple’s sex life may have dry period but our need for physical affection never changes. When affection is mutual, it endures. If you are best friends who enjoy being together and share the same dreams then love won’t be far away.
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