We all have heard the famous line from The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” and we might have taken it to heart and apply it as truth to our lives. While that notion is quite romantic, the reality is that love is not enough to make a relationship fulfilling, or even healthy, and it’s not even enough to sustain to good relationship for the long term.
“Love” is an overused word that people can take it often as an excuse for unhealthy behavior, sometimes downright toxic. It is not love if you don’t feel safe in a relationship. It is definitely not love if you feel afraid of violence in a relationship. In these cases, the abusers butcher the name of love to manipulate the victims.
Toxic relationships aside, how about love in healthy relationships? It is still not enough. If you want a beautiful relationship to last in a fulfilling way, in addition to love, it needs patience, grace, joy, effort, and above all, understanding. You will need patience to deal with rainy days, when the other person is cranky, in a bad mood, or when everything is frustratingly not going your way. You will need grace to forgive and laugh at both your and the other’s mistakes.
You will need to make effort to continue to nourish the beautiful relationship, to stoke the flames, to keep the chemistry strong. Relationships don’t just work themselves out based on pure chemistry no matter how strong the connections feel. Both parties need to invest time and effort to build and nourish relationships. Communication and continuous learning about each other are definitely a must.
Above all, understanding is essential in any fulfilling relationship. Without it, relationships can feel suffocating and eventually, a drift might exist to wedge a distance between two people. A clear example for this is a parent-chid relationship without understanding. There is definitely love there but if a parent pressures their child to bend to their wishes, thinking that would be for their child’s benefits, it’s suffocating for their child and frustrating for the parent.
Similarly, a romantic relationship won’t thrive on love alone. Lack of understanding will fizzle out the chemistry and fray the connection. The partnership can survive time based on responsibilities and obligations but it won’t be fulfilling. Understanding is what it takes to deepen the bond and strengthen the love.
Love is not enough to make a relationship fulfilling or satisfying but it is definitely needed to start and maintain a meaningful relationship. Love can be the driving force for people to be kinder, more compassionate, more courageous, to be the best version of themselves. Love can be the motivation for people to put in the effort to work things out, to overcome challenges, to accomplish the seemingly-unachievable, to learn how to understand.
In the end, we all want the same thing: to love and to be loved, to feel happy in love. Love inevitably comes to all of us because none of us lives in a vacuum. Love is there, from small, maybe-unnoticeable gesture to big, impossible to ignore form. When we encounter love in our lives and when we decide to make those important relationships last in a fulfilling way, let us be driven by love to understand, to nourish the love. After all, love is the best fuel for us to move forward, to understand, to overcome, to grow, to deepen, to expand and to learn how to love.
To learn how to build a solid foundation for a fulfilling relationship, check out my Back To Basics workshop where I walk you through the essential qualities of a healthy, meaningful relationship and how to cultivate such relationships in your life.