What comes to mind when you think about relationships? You probably think about love and happiness. However, if you talk to couples who have been married for decades, you will probably find that they have a different view of relationships. There are different reasons love is not enough for a relationship, and some important things to consider to determine if you and your partner are compatible.
Falling in Love
Falling in love is probably one of the most intense and overwhelming things you can experience. However, falling in love with someone and building a long-term relationship with them are two different things.
When you fall in love, the reward center of your brain becomes active. It will release norepinephrine and other chemicals whenever you are near the other person. It’s the same chemical involved in the fight or flight response, which is why falling in love is an intense experience.
Your sex hormone levels will go up, and your dopamine levels will increase. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that make you happy. This chemical is the reason why you are on cloud nine when you fall in love.
Falling in love can also cause your cortisol levels to increase. It’s a hormone that your brain releases when you feel stressed. High levels of cortisol can make romantic feelings feel overwhelming at first, and you might feel anxiety when you’re around the person you love.
As your cortisol levels increase, your serotonin levels decrease. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating your thoughts and emotions. Low levels of serotonin make you more likely to make rash decisions and can reduce your inhibitions.
Your brain will also release oxytocin and vasopressin. Those chemicals help you form bonds with other people and will strengthen your relationship. They help you develop an attachment to the people you love.
A Return to Normalcy
Falling in love causes you to experience intense emotions for a while. Most couples describe the first months of their relationship as passionate.
Being in love causes your brain chemistry to change drastically. The people you know will probably notice that you are acting differently, and some might even guess that there is someone special in your life responsible for those changes.
However, your brain chemistry will go back to normal after a while. It typically takes a year or two for your hormone and chemical levels to go back to normal. Your brain can’t sustain the increased levels of dopamine and sex hormones in the long-term.
You will still be in love with your significant other and will probably see your relationship as happy and fulfilling. However, the chemicals and hormones responsible for your intense and passionate feelings will no longer be there.
Oxytocin and vasopressin levels will remain elevated. These chemicals foster bonding with your partner, and their levels can remain high throughout your entire life if you develop a great relationship.
One of the reasons love is not enough for a relationship is that the nature of your love will change with time. Things can feel intense and overwhelming at first, and you will probably feel that you have met the one and want to spend the rest of your life with your partner. However, once your brain chemistry goes back to normal, and attachment replaces passion, you might feel differently about the relationship.
Is Love Necessary for a Relationship?
The answer is yes. You wouldn’t consider dating someone or moving in with them if you didn’t feel love for them.
However, it’s crucial to understand that there are different ways to love a person. If you have been in more than one serious relationship, you probably noticed that your feelings and experiences were different with each partner.
Some relationships begin with an amazing friendship that turns into something romantic. Others start with a strong physical attraction that grows into a passionate relationship. You might develop strong bonds with a partner and find that there is no attachment present once the passion dies out with another.
The idea that you should be in love with the person you marry is relatively recent. In the past, people would get married for financial or social reasons rather than love. Their families would choose suitors based on their financial or social status, and the spouses didn’t always have a say in the matter.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to image a marriage or relationship without love. We all agree that a relationship without love or at least a strong friendship wouldn’t be a happy one.
However, we often associate the idea of love with romance and passion. There are other ways of loving, and it’s something you should keep in mind as you build a relationship with your significant other. You can choose to cultivate unconditional love in your relationship, experience affection, and attachment, build a friendship, or experience familiar or enduring love.
Is Love Enough for a Relationship?
The answer is no. Love is a strong basis for a relationship, but it’s not always enough. The passion and strong feelings you feel in the beginning of a relationship will not last forever.
It’s essential to develop a bond with your partner. Attachment or familiar love will replace the passion of the first weeks or months of the relationships.
The truth is that happy and fulfilling relationships take work. You and your partner have to be ready to commit to each other and willing to put in the work and efforts required to build a fulfilling relationship. You will hit some rough patches and might go through times when your relationship isn’t as happy as it used to be.
Here are some other reasons love is not enough for a relationship:
- Timing can be a problem. You can meet someone at the wrong time in your life and not be able to build a relationship because you aren’t ready to commit.
- Personal issues can damage a relationship. You might meet someone who is perfect for you and fail to build a great relationship because you or your partner have a fear of commitment or lacks self-love.
- Lack of communication. Some couples meet and fall in love but slowly drift apart because they never learn to communicate and talk about their feelings.
Every couple will encounter challenges they have to overcome in their relationship. Being in love with each other will give you strength and help you value the relationship. However, love isn’t sufficient.
You will have to learn to make compromises, work on common goals, find balance and equality in your relationship, and overcome financial or health struggles. Love will help you get through those challenges, but it won’t solve those problems.
You should discuss the idea of love and whether it’s enough for a relationship with your significant other. Their answer will give you a better idea of what they value most in a relationship.
Love and Friendship
One of the secrets of a successful marriage is to develop a strong friendship with your spouse. You can get through rough patches and find happiness in your marriage if you become each other’s best friend.
Nurturing that friendship will help you build a strong connection with your significant other. That connection can last a lifetime and will outlast any other kind of love.
Developing a friendship will help you share similar interests, celebrate good news together, and go on adventures with your significant other. You will want to try new things as a couple, and those activities will keep the relationship exciting.
Becoming each other’s best friend will help you value your significant other, and it will be easier to create a dynamic where you are equal.
Your friendship will become a strong foundation for your long-term relationship if passion fades. You will be able to laugh and have fun together, embrace the silly side of your relationship, and spend plenty of quality time together.
Building and nurturing a friendship with your significant other is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy relationship. No matter what happens, you will always be able to count on the other person and enjoy the time you spend together.
Respect is one of the key elements of a healthy relationship. It can be difficult to find happiness in a relationship that lacks respect because you won’t be able to fight fair.
You might hide things from each other and even put each other down. It can be difficult to acknowledge or accept the feelings of the other person without respect.
Couples who don’t have respect for each other tend to avoid addressing their issues and usually don’t feel valued in the relationship.
Here is how you can cultivate respect in your relationship:
- Build a relationship where you are equal. Make decisions together, respect each other’s opinions, and share responsibilities.
- Validation is important. Listen and support each other. Acknowledge how the other person feels, and pay attention when they bring up an issue.
- Fighting isn’t about winning. You should try figuring out who is right when you disagree about something. Focus on finding the solution that’s best for the relationship.
- Value the other person. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you don’t enjoy spending time with each other or want to learn more about each other. You should be curious to find out more about your significant other’s feelings and opinions.
- Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. You can build a healthy and fulfilling relationship if you get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and find ways to complement each other to create a team.
Does Compatibility Matter?
It depends on how you define compatibility. Sharing hobbies or having a similar background doesn’t matter.
Being different can bring richness to a relationship. Your relationship will be more fulfilling if your significant other helps you discover new things and exposes you to a different way of seeing the world.
However, you should be compatible in terms of goals and values. You should also have similar ideas about what love and relationships mean to you and how you want to commit to each other. There should be a willingness to get to know the other person and adapt to them.
You can build a great relationship with a person who is different from you. Introverts and extroverts can form happy couples, and you can build a healthy relationship with someone who has a different way of communicating or showing affection if you get to know them.
Compatibility isn’t important, but you need to embrace who your partner is and turn your differences into things that can make the relationship grow.
Trust and Commitment
You can fall in love and have a passionate relationship, but things won’t last if you aren’t ready to commit to each other or if you can’t establish trust in the relationship.
Trust goes hand in hand with the idea of respect we discussed above. It’s crucial to think about what commitment means to you and your significant other.
Things won’t always be perfect in your relationship. Your passion will become less intense with time, and you might encounter relationship problems. You have to be willing to remain each other’s best friend, work on the relationship, and cultivate unconditional love and acceptance.
Commitment is about making plans together, agreeing on how you define the relationship, and spending time together. Couples who commit to each other will do small things to show how much they value the other person, make decisions together, and are willing to go out of their way for the other person.
Here are some strategies you can use to develop trust in your relationship:
- Give each other some space and respect each other’s privacy.
- You should be honest when you communicate.
- Listen to the other person, and don’t dismiss what they say.
- There shouldn’t be any judgment in the relationship.
- Be vulnerable around each other.
- Always be supportive.
Goals and Values
Having different goals and values can become a deal-breaker. You can love each other, but building a future together can be difficult if you don’t want the same things.
You should have similar goals in terms of the lifestyle you want. Some of the important things to discuss include whether or not you would like to have children in the future, where you want to live, and what kind of work-life balance you want to have.
You and your significant other will change with time. The relationship will help you grow, and you might find that your goals for future change. You can also make some compromises and find a middle ground that makes you and your significant other happy.
However, you need to share some fundamental goals and values for the relationship to work. You and your partner will have to make plans for major purchases and budgeting. Having a compatible way of managing finances and spending money will be a strength.
You should have compatible goals and values in terms of health, lifestyle, and parenting to avoid conflicts.
You need healthy communication skills to make a relationship work. It’s something you can work on with your significant other.
You need to learn to fight fair and find solutions that work. Remember that respect and honesty are crucial for communicating.
You should be able to talk about the things that bother you and to have conversations about the relationship on a regular basis. You could talk about how you feel about the relationship, assess how you’ve been progressing toward your goals, or establish some new goals. Have those conversations in person rather than doing it over text!
Here are a few tips to improve communication in your relationship:
- Don’t avoid conversations that you feel are important.
- Listen to how the other person feels.
- Look for a solution that will make you and your significant other happy.
- Focus on the issue at hand when you talk.
- Listen carefully, ask your partner to rephrase things, or ask questions to make sure you understand everything.
- Consider the other person’s point of view.
- Use empathy to resolve conflicts.
- Acknowledge mistakes and apologize.
- Be honest and open about the situation.
- Explain how the situation makes you feel, and state what kind of resolution you would like to see.
Don’t hesitate to take breaks when you work on resolving issues. You won’t find a productive solution if you get tired or feel that negative emotions are taking over. Don’t let your conflicts impact other areas of the relationship. You can continue to love and respect each other as you discuss important relationship issues.
Ask for help from friends or relatives if you need to. You should also consider counseling if you can’t resolve some issues on your own or find that you always fight about the same things.
Small Things Matter
If you ask older couples who have a successful marriage what is important in their relationship, they will probably list different small things. The truth is that couples often fall into a daily routine, and the best way to make a relationship special is to build a happy and satisfying life together by focusing on the small things.
Look for ways to make the other person feel special by paying attention to them. Celebrate achievements, including small victories.
Saying I love you, touching, and hugging the other person will help you feel closer. Those small things will help preserve intimacy in your relationship.
Take a few minutes to ask how your significant other’s day was. It’s a great way to maintain communication in your relationship and to check up on your partner.
Small gifts, compliments, and surprises can make your significant other feel special. Those small attentions will remind the other person of how much you value them.
Show interest in your significant other. Find out about their hobbies and interests, talk about the things they are passionate about, and always look for ways to learn new things about them.
Your Life Outside of the Relationship Matters
Your relationship or marriage is a key aspect of your life, but it will be easier to find happiness and bring new things to your relationship if you have a fulfilling life outside of it.
If you don’t have balance in your life, you will rely on your significant other for happiness. The person you love should make you happy, but relying on your partner as your unique source of happiness can put a lot of pressure on the relationship.
It’s healthy to develop a group of friends you can see once in a while to catch up, have fun, and vent. Socializing with a group of friends will expose you to new ideas and help you get the social interactions that you need. Your group of friends can turn into a powerful support network when you experience stress or need help with something.
A fulfilling career can turn you into a happier person. It’s essential to find a healthy balance between your career, your relationship, and other areas of your life. However, you will find that it’s easier to find happiness and fulfillment in your relationship and other areas of your life if your work feels meaningful.
Personal development is something you should pursue. Working on yourself can help you bring more to the relationship. You might need to work on yourself to improve your communication skills, become a more loving partner, or learn to love yourself. Those things would be beneficial for your relationship.
You should also pursue hobbies and interests. Sharing some activities and interests with your significant other will help you build a strong relationship, but you should have some hobbies and interests you can pursue during your alone time.
Even though love is a strong foundation for a happy relationship, it’s usually not enough to make things work. You and your partner should talk about how you feel about the relationship, what you expect from it, and the things you feel you need to work on. It’s possible to turn a passionate romance into an amazing relationship if you focus on communication, respect, friendship, and commitment.