Very simply put, no. Love is not enough to sustain a healthy relationship. I wish it was, but that’s not reality. The reality is there is so much more that we need in our relationships to be happy and in love with our partner. I see couple’s that come in and I know they truly love each other, and are in love, but are unhappy in the relationship, because love just isn’t enough. Many of them are missing key aspects of what holds a relationship together. I’ll
ask them, what are your strengths as a couple? What holds you together?...many of them just look at each other cluelessly and say…” well, we love each other”. That’s not enough.
I believe that love often gets confused with attraction and lust. Especially when people meet and have an instant connection. The euphoria of a new relationship takes over along with attraction, which after a few weeks may be confused as love. Especially if sex has been incorporated into all of this. What you see is this new person who you have connected with, have so much in common, communication is so easy, you can talk for hours, you want to be with them every minute of the day, they are giving you the affection and attention that you need. The honeymoon stage is real!
Fast-forward a year. You still love each other, may even be in love with other, but the realness of the relationship has set in. You have seen your partner mad, and you have had a disagreement that didn’t go well. You discover that you don’t have the same interest or values, some of their habits annoy the hell out of you. Character flaws are magnified, the fun is gone, and the relationship has seemed to come to a halt. You still love ‘em though!
Relationships and marriage need nourishment, and while love may be the soil, you need much more to make your relationship bloom. Instead of discussing here why love isn’t enough, let’s talk about what your relationships needs to flourish. We already know love is one of those things. What else? First, while we do know or have heard of the older couple that has been together since high school and are still madly in love 30 years later, lets also recognize that that’s not the norm. Get to know each other. Please. Understand that the honeymoon stage is a real thing, and while it feels good in that moment, there is more. More good, more bad, just more that you need to know about this person before you jump in head over heels. I agree with many that say dating for 2 years is absolutely needed before getting married especially. Whether you are in a committed relationship or married, these are things I believe are needed in a successful relationship in addition to love:
#1 Shared values and goals. Do you believe in the same things? Loyalty? Honesty? Religiously? Spiritually? Politically? Financially? Children? There is so much here that is important to explore with your partner to make sure you are on the same page. Or even if you aren’t, can you co-exist with the differences. This is important.
#2 Good communication. You have to know how to talk to each other and have a productive conversation, where you are hearing each other, listening and resolving issues. If you aren’t able to do this, get books on better communication or visit a marriage counselor to help. It’s needed and makes things so much easier.
#3 Common interest. While you don’t have to do every single thing together, and it’s healthy to have a level of independence in your relationship, you still want to be able to do things that you both enjoy with each other and bond over those times to create more closeness and intimacy.
#4 Intimacy. Not only having a healthy sex life, but understanding what intimacy is to each other and fulfilling each other’s needs is important. If it’s something as small as holding hands or running your partner a bath after a long day’s work. Make time to maintain the intimacy in your relationship.
#5 Friendship. It is so awesome when I see couples who I can tell are really good friends They enjoy being around each other, they can just talk and laugh, and share with each other. Be each other’s friend.
These things matter. Let’s be more mindful of what we want in our relationships. What we need. If you aren’t married yet, ask yourself, other than love, do you have these essentials in your relationship? If you are married, ask yourself, other than still loving your partner has your marriage fallen off track? Are you just coexisting? Are you still in love? Could you work on any of these other aspects of your marriage to make your relationship stronger. I believe we all can work on our relationships in one way or another to improve them.
The bottom line is love is not enough. If you need help exploring these different aspects of your relationship, please contact me. I love working with couples to improve their relationships stronger.