When it comes to finding love, our minds almost immediately zoom in on physical attraction. This is more prominent than ever these days with the buffet of dating apps at our disposal.
But there is so much more to love than looks, money, and material things! In fact, we’d venture to say that the most important aspects of any couple’s relationship come from all the other parts. Here are 10 things that are more necessary than physical attraction when it comes to love.
1. Conflict resolution.
The topic of conflict is, of course, important — but even more important than the issue itself is the way it’s handled.
Sometimes a couple is automatically aligned in the way they deal with confrontation, but sometimes they have to work to find a happy medium. Pay attention and learn from each other, not so you can “win” an argument, but rather so you can turn the dial down on your pride. Only then can you work together to iron out disagreements in a way that makes both sides feel heard, respected, and validated.
Most of all, learn how to forgive. It really will make you stronger together in the aftermath.
2. A sense of humor.
“A shared sense of humor is vital in relationships,” Connell Barrett, a New York City-based relationship expert and dating coach, told Elite Daily. “We want to laugh with our partner. It’s human nature. Laughing together is a powerful way to affirm our romantic bond.”
It’s not so much having the same sense of humor that is the key, but rather having the communal experience of laughing together. Granted, having the same sense of humor makes this easier, but for many couples, it’s about finding their shared comedic ground, whether it be comedy shows, amusing films, or other experiences that bond them on a lighthearted, playful level.
3. Shared values.
When your core values aren’t aligned, it makes everything more difficult from the get-go. If you’re hoping for a long life with your partner, then you want to be on the same page about things like family, religion, finances, etc. This will allow you to face issues relating to these core values as a team.
It’s important to find out where you both stand on hot topics early on. It will end up being the framework through which you navigate your relationship and your life together.
4. Liking each other.
This seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised. Once the honeymoon phase has fizzled out, do you still find yourself enamored with that person at a basic level? Do you find yourself missing them when they’re not around? Can you be with them day in, day out and still enjoy their company?
It’s that core deep “liking” of a person, a friendship with them, a growing curiosity about who they are, and a true joy when spending time with them that is the foundation of a great partnership.
5. Security and trust.
This means not expecting the worst and seeing the glass as half full. But this doesn’t just apply to trusting your partner’s intentions or faithfulness — it also relates to feeling safe enough to be vulnerable, trusting them to provide you with support when you need it, and knowing they’ll have your back when things get tough.
If trust doesn’t come automatically for you, it’s something that can be built through honest communication and hard work.
6. Keeping your sense of “you.”
The best relationships are those where you can be a “we,” while still being a “you.” Yes, you can be better together, be the person’s other half, and all that good stuff. But don’t lose yourself in the process! Your two lives should come alongside each other and enrich the other, but they shouldn’t take away from your individuality.
Keep chasing after your goals, spending time with your friends, and pursuing your own passions. Then grow together and run after your dreams together. That’s when a couple is at their best!
7. Being a team.
When two people create an equal partnership, it is a beautiful thing. When you can find a balance in household tasks, relational support, and give-and-take, that is when a relationship finds true harmony. It also removes feelings of bitterness and motivates both parties to want to contribute equally and sacrifice for the other willingly.
According to licensed marriage and family therapist Tina B. Tessina, it’s all about “the ability to solve problems as a team, work together to achieve goals, [and] create the life you want together.”
8. Communicating your needs.
Anita Chlipala, a relationship coach and therapist, told Bustle, “Being able to communicate your needs and feelings to your partner is critical to your own relationship satisfaction.”
To start, share your love languages with each other so you can better serve each other in those ways. Your partner may not always know what you’re feeling or what you’re needing from them, so it’s best to establish an environment of open, honest communication early on so those needs can be freely expressed.
The phrase “love is blind” is particularly applicable to relationships that lack respect. Many people stay in relationships where they are not being treated properly because they fear being alone or losing someone they love. But the fact of the matter is that no relationship is worth being disrespected or losing your self-respect.
“A couple doesn’t need to have the same interests or even passions, but they do need to have the capacity to understand the other,” social worker Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, said. “One must be present with their partner — without judgment, demands, and unreachable expectations.”
The ultimate display of love is self-sacrifice. It doesn’t always come easily to us, but showing flexibility is one of the best ways we can demonstrate our love for someone else.
Allowing their needs to come before yours, not getting ruffled over tiny annoyances, and choosing to honor and prioritize them each and every day. That’s love!
As French novelist George Sand once said, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
Don’t forget to share this list with a friend to remind them that looks don’t matter.
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