Romance is something we talk a lot about in terms of relationships. Moreover, it seems like everyone is looking for romance at one time or another. Do not misunderstand. Romance is a great thing. It can be the slow burning flame that keeps a relationship interesting. But did you know there are things more important to romantic relationships than romance itself?
The thing about romance is that it is not permanent. The emotions associated with it come and go. Some days you are feeling it, other days you’re not. Relationships built exclusively on those feelings don’t last for that very reason.
Romance is great. It is a necessary part of romantic relationships. But here are five things that are more important in such relationships:
1. Genuine Love
We start with genuine love. Genuine love, as opposed to passion or sexual desire, is not an emotion. Genuine love is an active choice to put the other person’s needs first. It is an active choice that is followed by action. Every parent knows this. Parents know that they love their children even on days when they don’t like them so much.
Genuine love is the key to all successful romantic relationships. When couples choose to love one another through thick and thin, they are still happy to be with one another even when they aren’t feeling so romantic.
2. Complete Trust
Successful relationships are built on mutual trust. But it is not trust that the other person will never do anything wrong. We all know that’s impossible. In every relationship, both parties let the other down from time to time. So it’s not an unrealistic trust that ignores that reality. Rather it’s a trust that the other person genuinely loves and won’t intentionally cause hurt or pain. It’s a trust that the other person has your back and will always be there for you.
3. Mutual Respect
Have you ever experienced a friend or family member trash talking their partner? That kind of talk is representative of a lack of respect. When the two parties in a relationship do not respect one another, practicing love is that much more difficult. So is trusting. Therefore, mutual respect is essential. Both partners in a romantic relationship need to treat one another with respect regardless of any perceived differences between them.
4. Full Partnership
Sometimes, a lack of respect is the result of selfishness and a bad attitude. Other times, it is the result of one partner feeling like an outsider rather than a partner. In all romantic relationships, partnership is part of the deal. Couples who stay together over the long term learn how to work together rather than independently. They become partners in everything they do.
5. Good Communication
If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times: good communication is essential to every relationship – not just romantic ones. We work extremely hard on communication in the couples’ counseling environment because, more often than not, couples are already failing to communicate by the time they reach out for counseling.
It is impossible to know what the other person is thinking and feeling when couples do not communicate. And without that knowledge, both parties are left to guess. That is a recipe for misunderstandings, disagreements, etc. On the other hand, good communication keeps things on the up and up.
Romance is obviously a big part of romantic relationships. But it is neither the foundation nor the sustaining component. Even when the romance is not there, strong relationships still exhibit genuine love, complete trust, mutual respect, full partnership, and good communication.