By Cassandra Soars
Remember how you felt when you first fell in love? Remember feeling like your world revolved around the other person and that all you needed was love? That’s certainly how my husband and I felt when we fell in love.
Because those overpowering emotions feel like they will last forever, new couples rarely think about the other ingredients to sustaining a successful, long term relationship. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to believe that love will get you through anything (in the beginning of our relationship, I didn’t even think twice about my husband’s knack for messiness; I was so in love I just thought it was funny). But for a long term relationship, it also takes some other key ingredients.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, you know there are at least 4 things you need besides love in a marriage:
1. Vulnerability never stops being an important ingredient of a relationship.
It’s just as important in the beginning of a marriage as it is in the end. When we stop communicating our desires, needs and/or feelings, distance grows. Here are three ways to improve your emotional connection with your husband.
2. Mutual respect and understanding help us see our partner’s perspective and value it.
In any marriage, there are two different people who value different things, which is guaranteed to bring disagreements. However, we can determine in our hearts that just because they see things differently does not mean they are wrong. Watch out for criticism and contempt, and instead try to foster respect and understanding.
3. Without forgiveness, a marriage cannot last.
In the first few years of our marriage, my husband and I were not very good at forgiveness. So the distance grew and grew between us until we finally realized we needed a major breakthrough–which came through forgiving one another and letting each other off the hook, so we could start fresh. Everyone has flaws and therefore, is in need of forgiveness. Realizing your own need for forgiveness will help you give it more freely to your spouse. This is the most important thing you can do to love your husband.
4. Compromise and reciprocity are crucial elements besides love in a marriage.
Both people in the relationship need to feel empowered. Knowing that the other person is willing to compromise is part of this. The nature of love is reciprocal, not one-sided.