Everyone loves to be in love. It gives you an exhilaration like no other. However, there are times when you realize that being in love just isn’t enough to make a relationship work.
There are many reasons why a relationship might not work even though there is love between you. It could be that you love the other person, but they aren’t reciprocating. It could be that there is love between both of you but there are just too many obstacles to overcome. Stress over finances, family differences, cultural issues or societal expectations can all play a role in failed relationships.
A cousin married his bride quickly. They knew each other for about three months before getting married and both were cautioned by others about the rapid pace. They were in love. Now, three years later, they are getting a divorce. In speaking with the bride, she said they loved each other “but had different goals.” She didn’t elaborate.
A long-term relationship, marriage especially, deserves some thought beyond feelings. Being with a person for the rest of your life means you will go through storms and bliss, ups and downs. It’s best to think through all the practicalities of the relationship instead of just falling headfirst into love.
Here are five things you should ask yourself when you think you may be in love to determine if this relationship has what it takes to survive:
- Do you feel good about yourself when you’re with this person?
A big red flag is being around them makes you feel insignificant or less than worthy. This could mean they are manipulative, narcissistic or controlling. People can use words to make others feel less than worthy. If you feel content and accepted, then great.
Along with that, your insecurities may be the cause of negative feelings. Determine if this is the case. If you have root security issues, try to work on those before getting involved with anyone.
Some people just aren’t suited for each other even though they love each other. This will pop up when you are around the other person and can contribute to how you feel when you are near them. If you are constantly trying to be something you aren’t or avoiding your feelings of isolation or insecurity, then there’s a good chance this person isn’t a good match.
- Do they see my needs as important as their own?
This is a crucial point in today’s world. A truly loving relationship means both parties look after the needs of the other person as much as their own, if not more. If the other person doesn’t see your needs as important, brushes them off, or flat out ignores them, then you shouldn’t be with them. Otherwise, you will be doing all the giving and will never feel fulfilled.
- Do you have the same core values?
This is probably the most important element in a successful relationship. Those who do not share the same core values are doomed from the start because it is these values that home and family are based upon.
Core values include things like:
Children, whether to have them and how to discipline them
Religion and how much effort should go into practicing it
Handling money and views on spending versus saving
Fidelity and what boundaries make for a faithful relationship
Family traditions and how to combine them into your home
Integrity and where lines are drawn
Health and how active you are in pursuing health
These are issues that are worth digging into before you get heavy into a relationship because they are the dealbreakers. Both may want children but have different ideas on how they should be raised and disciplined. One may want private school while the other may believe public school is the only way to go.
With religion, it isn’t enough to both be religious. There could be conflict over what denomination to join or how involved you should be with a church, synagogue, or mosque. Also, specific religious ideals should be discussed. You may be favorable to faith but open to others, but your partner believes in evangelical faith. This is, as the Bible says, “unequally yoked.”
Similar conversations need to flesh out money, fidelity, family traditions, integrity, and health. Generally, people may agree in principle on such matters, but implementing goals and plans is where two people can disagree.
For instance, a problem will arise if one person likes to spend money on luxuries while the other just wants to save. There will be a problem if one person thinks hanging out with friends of the opposite sex is fine while the other person thinks that is wrong. Some who are incredibly honest may have a problem if their partner puts in some tax deductions that aren’t valid. Someone who wants to go to the gym every day for a workout may find it taxing their partner won’t join them but once a month.
- Is this a person that will be with me through the trouble?
There is a movie line from the “Love Comes Softly” series where a young woman faces a proposal from a gentleman. He, a rich man, tells her they can have a fabulous life. She replies she doesn’t want the promise of a fabulous life. She wanted someone who will walk through trouble with her.
There is a certainty of life. Trouble will come. There is a saying that goes you are either going into trouble, coming out of trouble or are in trouble. You need to evaluate whether this person you love has the staying power through all of life’s challenges.
- Does this person improve your life?
This should be a fairly easy question to answer. Simply, is your partner helpful to you? Do they add to your life? Or do they leave you drained?
Answering this involves a couple of other thoughts. You need to know this person loves the real you, even the you that isn’t lovable. They need to be able to see you even on your darkest days and accept the totality of you that includes the quirky and ugly as well as your finer qualities.
Second, they need to be supportive of you reaching your dreams. This includes positive talk of your goals and also ways they find to help you reach your goals.
Finally, a question to ask is do they make you a better person? Their positive traits should be rubbing off on you as yours are improving their life.
Understanding that love is more than a feeling is important to finding the right person for a lifetime. Relying solely on the warm fuzzy feelings will always lead you down the wrong path to the wrong person. This is why most wedding vows state to enter into marriage “sober-minded” understanding all that is involved. If you can balance your feelings of love with a practical sense, you will find happiness in a relationship.