Do you remember watching fairy tales as a little girl and being envious of the Princesses who all found their prince charming, and at the end of their adventure ride off into the sunset? Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Aurora… yeah no, that is not what love is really like.
Love is not meeting in the woods while singing a song to the fauna, knowing nothing about the person, and the prince knowing he wants to make you his future queen after five minutes and a cute dance number. No one can have true love in one meeting.
But what is love? And how does it work? And what are the basic and most necessary foundations of a relationship? And most importantly, what makes it a healthy relationship?
Good thing you found this article, right?
Table of Contents
Love is one of the most misconceived and misunderstood concepts of all time. There is a lot that goes into a successful, happy, and loving, healthy relationship. A long list of confusing life lessons and plenty of downs that come before all of the ups in life. And unfortunately, social media and social expectations and several generations where most families are broken, have really dampened what true love truly is and what it can be.
Broadcasted media, social media focus very much on sexualizing everything, making that the main emphasis of relationships in shows and music. More traditional media portrays love as an ‘instant connection,’ love at first sight, and then happily ever after. But the sexualization and instant connection could not be further from the truth for most people. In fact, once you understand how love works, it’s better.
For a strong and healthy relationship to truly work, you have to understand what makes a good foundation for it. I enjoy thinking about the foundations of love much like the foundation for a house. For a house to be strong and sturdy you must have all of the building blocks for the foundation. It is the same for relationships.
One of the most important foundations of a healthy relationship is friendship. If you are not friends, it simply won’t work. I am talking about true, deep friendship - where this person is your best friend and first choice for everything.
The kind of friendship needed for the home base of love is the kind where you know their deepest secrets and fears, and you know theirs. The kind of friendship in this first base is the kind when it’s never a question whether or not you can depend on them, or how far you would go for them either. They are your number one person.
Obviously this is the kind of healthy friendship that isn’t built in a day, week, or even a month. And while you may begin a relationship before you truly know or have established a close solid friendship with your significant other, it is vital that friendship continues to grow as you two grow together. Friendship, after all, is a love language.
You can’t have a truly healthy relationship without trust and faith. A relationship where one or both parties are so wrapped up in jealousy and suspicion is not healthy, and if something doesn’t change it could become very toxic. If you do not trust each other, you will not be able to support and lift each other up.
Jealousy and mistrust are gateways for negativity and resentment. The hardest bond to repair is trust, and when your partner has broken it, this five-letter word can destroy relationships. Something to always keep in mind, you cant have a healthy relationship if you can’t get over your insecurities and trust one another.
Honesty is the 3rd base of love. Honesty is absolutely vital. Lies and omissions can destroy trust. Often times, in fear of making their partner angry, people resort to lies or fibs, and if you want things to last even the smallest of lies is not okay in a relationship.
Often times, it is the lie and not the action itself that causes relationships to become irreparable. It’s important to remember that even if you have done something that will upset your partner, it’s the honesty of the action that can salvage their trust. You can’t have friendship or trust without absolute honesty from both people in the relationship.
Honesty is also about trusting your partner to be able to look past your faults and see you as the person you are. A healthy relationship does not have room for doubt, because doubt can lead to bad decisions.
In order to make a relationship work, both parties must be able to be forgiving of each other’s flaws and mistakes every day. Forgiveness is a vital part of life because without forgiveness we hold on to and harbor feelings that fester in us like an infection. Being and staying angry is draining for a person’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
But for some, forgiveness does not come easy, and others forgiveness does not come genuinely. It may seem shocking, but forgiveness is actually something many people struggle with every day. If your partner or you has slighted each other in some way, and you absolutely cannot forgive each other, the relationship will not work.
Forgiveness is hard, but not impossible. If you struggle with forgiving those who have wronged you, or if you love your partner but you just can’t figure out how to forgive them for wrongdoing, it never hurts to seek some help. Forgiveness can be hard since it is a choice and an emotional process, and at times, guidance is exactly what we need to achieve it.
Another one of the foundations for love is loyalty. Again, this is another base that true love cannot survive without. And while it may be a given, sometimes people look over the importance of it, and people usually underestimate how tricky loyalty can be.
If you want a healthy relationship that lasts, always be loyal. Have their back. But don’t ever betray your loyalty to yourself, for everyone else. Someone who truly loves you will never put you in that situation in the first place.
Being in a happy and healthy relationship with another person is very much a teamwork act. This essential base for love is often overlooked but it plays a vital role in a functioning happy relationship. When you are in a relationship and have built a family life together, it all falls into sharing the load.
Everything falls into a team effort. Who does what chores around the house, who pays the bills, whose income earns the bill money, social and familial obligations, taking care of children or other relatives. Life is busy, and it can be overwhelming. When another person helps carry the load, life doesn’t seem so demanding.
Balancing your personal life and your partner’s personal life can be hard to figure out. Teamwork is one of those sneaky things that can subtly ruin a good relationship if one person in the relationship feels as if someone is not carrying their weight in the shared responsibilities of the relationship.
One of the biggest foundations of a healthy relationship is communication. Communication is one of the hardest parts of relationships for many people. And in the world of communication, there are all kinds of obstacles that cause unneeded arguments and negative feelings in a person.
If you or your partner has a hard time expressing your emotions and thoughts, you’re going to have a rough relationship. The first base of communication is not withholding your feelings. Don’t make your partner have to interrogate your feelings and thoughts out of you.
If you are someone who does not like confrontation and you avoid it, even if that means keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself in fear of causing an argument. That is not a healthy relationship, and it’s not healthy for either person in the relationship.
It’s important to realize if you are not ready to talk to your partner about your feelings and thoughts or about embarrassing notions to you, you are not ready to be in a relationship. Issues do not get resolved and growth in the relationship and as a team does not occur unless an open line of communication has been established.
For some, communication is hard. Self-doubt, esteem, trust, and past painful experiences sometimes hinder their ability to trust enough to communicate those difficult feelings and thoughts. It’s okay, take your time, and be patient. Eventually, you will be able to communicate as long as you keep practicing.
Every base we have talked about so far has to be continuously worked at. That is the key to a long-lasting relationship that is happy, and not out of habit. You can’t just get married or comfortable with each other, then stop trying to make each other happy and expect it to work.
Every healthy relationship that is long-lasting and happy consists of devotion and dedication to each other and the effort that each person puts into their relationship and each other. That is why every couple who has been together for a long time includes hard work in their list of reasons why they have succeeded for so long.
But the work involved in a healthy relationship isn’t the same kind of work as your regular 9-5 job. It’s emotional and mental work, and sometimes things get rough. When things get rough, sometimes it’s easier to just walk away. That’s why this devotion and dedication is so important in relationships.
A mistake that many long-term relationships couples often overlook is keeping a healthy sex life. While everyone views sex differently in their relationship, sexual understanding is vital to a healthy relationship. While someone might view it as a low priority, there are some who have a bigger need for intimacy in their love life.
Everyone is different when it comes to their sexual needs, and it’s important to be on the same page with each other. When it comes to sexuality, there are way too many kinks, levels, understandings, choices, and lifestyles to try and generalize the importance of sexual attraction.
It is important to note though that when it comes to sexual needs, you need to have a partner who is willing and able to be understanding and respectful of your partner’s needs. For example, a bad mix would be someone who is very enthusiastic about sex with someone who is more of the ‘asexual’ type.
While sex itself does not define the relationship, the respect, more rather, it is the understanding and the equal meeting of needs and desires that make the sexual relationship healthy.
Only in a fairytale does it ever work out where both parties are 100 percent happy all the time in a relationship. Another overlooked base of love is being able to compromise and meet each other halfway in your needs and demands. The inability to compromise is actually what causes a lot of people to separate, feeling that they just don’t agree.
Meeting each other halfway is respect, and teamwork, and communication all wrapped up into one. But it’s also bending one’s will, finding a happy medium that both parties can agree and work with.
What makes a relationship healthy is the ability to work with each other. If someone is unable to meet their lover’s needs halfway so that it can also meet their needs, it’s not going to be a healthy relationship.
I have always lived my life by a simple rule: Treat unto others as you would have them treat you. When it comes to your partner, that rule applies double. Another healthy rule to live by for all relationships in your life including work and family: Publicly praise, privately condemn.
Never humiliate your partner, even if you disagree with them. Respect their feelings and wishes, and remember to include them in major decisions. Again, relationships are teamwork, and you have to lift each other up in times that are hard.
Without respect and support, a relationship will not work. It’s important that they are treating you the way you deserve to be treated as well. If your partner does not support or respect you either, it needs to be addressed and worked on. Remember to never allow anyone to treat you without respect.
Love does not mean lowering your standards of how you expect someone to treat you.
In the Urban Dictionary, it states that in order to appreciate love, we must be able to define it and differentiate between the love we feel every day for people and true and conscious love. What this means is that your emotions are true, and not generated by habit and familiarity, which is what people commonly mistake for true love.
The top definition is that true and conscious love is thoughts generated by genuine feelings, instead of feelings generated by thought. If you can think of someone, recognize their flaws and faults, and love them for who they are anyway, that is true and conscious love. That is the kind of love that allows for personal growth relationships.
When you have everything above, and you can honestly say that you consciously love this person, then you truly have a beautiful thing. Never give up on it, and remember to always put your all into your efforts. Everything is a learning curve, and as long as you use all of the foundations listed above, you will be just fine.
In a healthy relationship, the most important things are communication, trust, honesty, compromise, and most importantly, love for yourself. You cannot truly be in a healthy happy relationship unless you first love yourself.
Communication, Commitment, and Compromise are the three C’s of relationships. They are absolutely vital for relationships to be healthy, and stay healthy. Trust cannot flourish if you are missing any of thes
Respect is the biggest foundation for all relationships. Without respect, you don’t have an essential key for every step in building a strong bond with another human being. Respect leads to honesty, communication, compromise, friendship, and so on.
If a couple can love each other from a place of respect in their hearts, it can be a bond that nothing can get in between.
A successful relationship needs two open minds, and hearts who are willing and dedicated to learning to work with and for each other on a constant daily basis that is willing to accept each other and love each other, and grow with each other.
Teamwork is vital, and you must learn to lift one another up when the other is down.
In short the golden rule for a relationship that is something close to ‘forever’ is to make your relationship the top priority in your life. It all boils down to is that person the most important thing in your life? Can you put them, and continue to put them above all of your other priorities in your world?
I hope you enjoyed the article and this gave you some clarity on what makes a relationship work, and what makes it last. Remember the most important thing about love is that it is not an emotion stemmed from habit. If you are missing any of the elements above, you need to change it or reconsider the relationship.
If you have been in a relationship for a long time, we would love to hear your advice on how to make it last in the comments. Talk with us, and let us know how long you have been with your partner, and what the most important key for your relationship has been.