Is Love Enough For Your Relationship?

When it comes to relationships, you have probably heard more than you can count that love conquers all and that all you need is love. But is love enough? As a child growing up watching tv shows, movies, or even music videos, they all depicted the idea that love was enough to make a relationship healthy and last.

 


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As you get older and mature and have gone through some relationships and your life own life experiences, you learn that love alone is not enough. It is necessary and is one of the foundations needed for a healthy relationship, but you need other ingredients besides love in a relationship.

Falling in love

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with your partner/spouse? Do you remember how it felt? I remember when my husband first told me he loved me when we were dating. At the time when he said it, I thought that he must be infatuated because how can a person fall in love after three months? But it is possible because we are now married. When you fall in love, it brings a rush of feelings and emotions, and you always feel that you are on cloud nine. Nothing your partner ever does can phase you because being on cloud nine and being in that honeymoon phase feels so good, and you end up overlooking other things.

We can often become blinded by love and overlook the other ingredients that make up a healthy relationship. At the time, we may even think to ourselves that love is enough, and with love, everything will be just fine.

It is easy to feel intense feelings towards someone, especially if we find them physically attractive, fun, sweet, and easygoing. But having a strong attraction towards someone does not equate to love. It may feel like love, but if you pause and reflect for a moment, you will soon come to realize that love has to be more than just a feeling. It goes beyond that, which is why it cannot be the only thing needed to make a relationship work.

 


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When things get tough

There are so many external factors that influence our views on relationships. Most of us were raised to believe and accept that if something becomes difficult along the way, then it is not meant to be, so we give up then and there. Don’t get me wrong now because there are indeed some instances where ending a relationship may be the best option when things become difficult, and you start to see red flags that make you question how healthy the relationship will be in the long run. Read more about unhealthy relationships here.

So what do you do when things become difficult? Is love going to be enough to sustain the relationship at this point? I am sure you have heard the saying, “love is all you need, and if it’s meant to be, it will be.”

This false belief is a great tragedy that is affecting so many relationships today. Many have this notion that relationships should be smooth sailing ALL the time. But this is genuinely not the case; how can it be? As humans, we are all raised and shaped differently by our family, culture, and life experiences. When you go into a relationship, you and your partner are both bringing your own values, beliefs, opinions, and life experiences with you. With this, challenges are bound to arise because finding that balance to function as a unit is not always easy, and you need more than love to do it.

What is love?

As mentioned before, when you are in a committed relationship or marriage (committed marriage is a thing), for it to sustain itself, love has to be more than just a feeling, more than just an emotion, and more than just passion.

So then, what is love? There are so many definitions out there that describe love, and there is more than one type of love. Keep in mind that how you love a person might differ from another person who loves someone else.

Love is complex because it involves a mix of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs connected to strong feelings of affection. Love is a force of nature, and it is bigger than you and me. “You can invite love, but you cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself. You can choose to surrender to love or not, but in the end, love strikes like lightning: unpredictable and irrefutable.” By nature, love is free. It cannot be bought, sold, or even traded. You cannot force a person to love, and you cannot control who loves you.

Love is action

Is love just a feeling, or is it more, and is love the same thing as being in love? These are topics that many people usually go back and forth on, and it can mean different things to different people. For me, love is more than a feeling of intense attraction, affection, and desires, especially when it comes to being in a committed relationship or marriage. Love is also an action word. Here are some of my reasons why it is:

  • Love is having a willingness to prioritize your partner or spouse’s well-being or happiness.
  • Love is choosing to commit to helping, respecting, and caring for another.
  • It is taking care of someone even when they can’t or won’t give anything back.
  • Love is learning your love language and your partner’s and making a conscious effort to express it to them as often as you can. Learn more about love languages here.

If love is a feeling and an action word, what does it mean to be in love then? Is it more than just loving a person? Well, it’s simple (sort of). In addition to everything mentioned above, being in love with someone is emotionally charged. You feel a strong desire for that person (not just physical, it is beyond that). When they are not around, you yearn and have a craving to be around them. You also desire the happiness of your partner, admire them for who they are, and you feel motivated to be a better person.

Love is complex! But wait! There is more!

 


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Types of love

The ancient Greeks studied love and classified them into different types.

Eros: erotic, passionate love

Sexual or passionate love. There is a sexual attraction and physical desire towards someone with little control, and it can dissipate quickly.

Relationships built solely on this type of love tend not to last long.

Philia: affectionate love

love without romantic attraction and is between friends or family

Storge: Love of the child and familiar love

This deep-rooted love is between children and parents and best friends. It is built on acceptance and a deep emotional connection.

Agape: selfless love

This is the kind of love that is given whether or not it is returned. It is the highest level of love to give. It is love without the benefit of self. It is the foundation of lovingness for all humanity. It is essential in the process of forgiveness.

Ludas: playful love

This is child-like and playful love is found at the beginning of relationships. It involves playing, teasing, flirting, and excitement.

Pragma: long-lasting love

A bonded love that matures over many years. It is an everlasting love between couples that put equal effort into the relationship. It involves synchronization and balance.

Philautia: self-love

The love in which you recognize your value and self-worth. You set boundaries and do not ignore your personal needs. It is linked to your confidence and plays an integral part in helping you to find your

 

Is love enough for your relationship?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question because love looks different for everyone. Love is a feeling, but it is also an action. It is one of the foundations needed to build a healthy and long-lasting relationship, but there are more ingredients needed. Trust, honesty, loyalty, respect, and boundaries are some of the elements you must have, but here are five others you will need:

1. Your individuality and a sense of happiness

Your independence and happiness are of utmost importance whether or not you are in a relationship. When you are in a relationship, it is more important to keep your independence still and know what makes you truly happy as an individual. Maintaining your own identity in a relationship is necessary for your relationship. You were “you” before you were a “we.” Focusing on your own individuality will strengthen your connection because you will both be “coming to it as fully actualized humans, instead of defining yourselves by the relationship.”

Know your self-worth, the essence of who you are, and maintain healthy boundaries between you are your partner. If you lose yourself, forget your interests, give up your goals, and forget about your happiness, then the relationship is already on the wrong path.

 

2. Communication skills

This is so much easier said than done! Communication is one of the main ingredients needed in a relationship. Without it, there is no room for growth in the relationship. Good communication involves two things, speaking and listening. Most of us in a relationship often tend to do a lot of talking but are slow to listen. Be open, transparent, and calm when speaking, but at the same time, be open to listening as well. This is something that needs to be done consistently and not once in a while.

 

3. A sense of safety and security

Do you feel safe and secure in your relationship? If the answer is no, you have to take a step back to assess if there are red flags indicating that your relationship may not be a healthy one. When you are in a healthy relationship, you have to feel safe and secure. Being in love or loving your partner won’t be enough if you do not feel safe.

 

4. A balanced flow

Balance, Balance, Balance. You need it! A lop-sided relationship is not the way to go! Being in a relationship is all about balance. There are equal parts of willingness, dedication, commitment, and give and take. Both partners are equally invested in the relationship and want the best out of it. The minute a relationship becomes off balance (it will happen, we are humans, and things happen), you quickly hit the pause button and take time to reset. Understand that you and your partner are two separate people with different views, opinions, interests, dreams, and goals and coming together to function as a unit.

 

5. Affection

After the honeymoon phase is over in both a relationship and marriage, the affection can dwindle. But how can you get that bright flame back? Is it gone forever? Is that the end? This is why love is more than just a feeling because when the spark starts to dim (and it will from time to time because life tends to get in the way), you have to start taking action quickly. Start doing the little things that go a long way—making breakfast for your partner, holding hands, giving a random kiss, playing the PS5 together, or taking random/spontaneous trips. It shows your partner you care, and they matter, and that flame will start to get brighter as the days go by.

 

 

Love is complex but it is beautiful.

 


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Rebekah Charles

Rebekah Charles

47 Responses

  1. Love is beautiful but definitely complex. I sadly was in a relationship where I lost myself in it. I stopped doing things I enjoyed and almost gave up on goals I set for myself for that person and the relationship. I slowly just got unhappy with the person and my relationship with them. It’s sad because the person was great at the beginning then slowly became controlling and manipulative. I find love to be an intoxicating feeling because it can be so dangerous sometimes. It feels good but it can also hurt you. I really enjoyed this post, I can see you really put out a lot of effort writing this. I still believe in love but I’m just focusing on self love at this time. Great job on this post 😊.

    1. Anissa, thanks so much for your feedback. Yes! beautiful but definitely complex. Because love is so powerful/intoxicating it is totally understandable why a person can easy lose themselves in a relationship. This is why space in a relationship is so important, it helps you to maintain your identity and your individuality. So sorry to hear that your past relationship was so unhealthy, I truly happy that you are now taking the time to take care of yourself by giving yourself all the love that you need.

  2. Beautifully written! There are so many aspects to love. Thank you for being so real with your article here. I’m in 29 years with my college sweetheart,….but it has not all been rosy. Compatibility, compassion, and just really caring makes all the difference. They forgot to tell us that love (long term relationships) take a lot of work. Definitely highs and lows. I really enjoyed your piece here!
    💜✨

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback and I am happy you enjoyed this article! No relationship is rosy all the time. For me, if that is the case then the relationship is not genuine at all and has not even crush surface level. Relationships are not easy and require work from both parties. Love is one aspect, but dedication and willingness needed to make it thrive and grow.

  3. I had BPD and have issues with love, seeing it more for the evolution drive to procreate that it is, as a result. Often love isn’t enough as many variables can be at play to make that not enough

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback, and I agree with you that so many variables and factors go into how a person sees and views love. Love will look different for everyone, but as you mention, other elements are needed in a relationship in addition to love.

    1. I agree with you 100%! Love is complex and at the same time, it can become dangerous over time to the point where it becomes toxic. leaving the relationship will then be the best choice. Thanks so much for your feedback!

    1. Molly, thanks so much for your feedback! That’s a very important point that you made about the simplicity of love. I actually agree with this, that over time when you are with someone for years and it is a healthy relationship, the complexities of love start to diminish. I Am happy you enjoyed it!

  4. Amazing post as always Rebekah! I agree that love is an action. Is go further and day it’s a habit. It’s not about what we do once in awhile for our partners, it’s the little things day in and day out.

    I love the breakdown you have of all the different types of love described by the Greeks. I was only aware of eros and philia. Very interesting!

    In my personal opinion, love is not enough on it’s own. You could have all the love in the world but if you can’t communicate, it’s unlikely to last. Trust is a big one too. I think it’s possible to live someone without trusting them, but that likely won’t be able to survive long term.

    Thanks so much for the thought provoking post!

    1. Clarissa, as always, thank you for your feedback! Love is indeed an action and yes a habit because it is a choice that we are making every day to either love the person we are with or not. Believe it or not, there are actually 12 types of love, but I wrote about the ones that are more common and talked about. Love is the foundation of a relationship, but other key elements are needed to make it healthy and long-lasting. I am so happy you enjoyed the article!

  5. Great post! My hubby and I just celebrated 16 years of marriage and I have to say it is work. Life has thrown us some curves and it took communication to get us through it and on track.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback Hannah and Happy anniversary on 16 beautiful years! I can’t wait to cross that milestone. Work indeed plays an important role when it comes to making a relationship long lasting.

  6. Wow! This is really deep, personal, and insightful! As for me, I do believe love indeed conquers all. But I think the reason most people don’t believe such is because they think love is merely associated to a feeling or the butterflies in the stomach which is not. Love is a choice, a commitment. Even when the emotions aren’t there, love is present when you see the soul and not the mistake. So the ingredients that you mentioned such as communication, affection, etc. they’re all a part of love. Without them, there wouldn’t be love. Love this blog post! Will be doing a lot of relationship-related content on my blog this Feb so stay tuned for that!

    http://www.lifebeginsattwenty.com

    1. Thanks so much, Monique for your feedback. I can certainly agree with you there when you mention that many people are taught to believe that love is just a feeling. Understanding that love is a choice and that it encompasses so many elements (communication, trust, loyalty, etc) is really what is important to making a relationship thrive and be long-term.

  7. This is a great post! It is important to know that you do need more than just love for a long lasting relationship. Without communication skills, trust, and a commitment to continually work for the relationship you want, it will be very challenging to survive on just love as a feeling. Thank you for providing other things necessary in a relationship for a healthy lasting one.

    1. Sylvia I am so happy you enjoyed this post. Thanks for your feedback. Love is just the foundation, but other key elements that you mentioned are needed, and if they are not incorporated into the relationship, it can really only go so far.

  8. Great, thoughtful piece. You’re so right that love is complex and that love takes work–commitment takes work. We are all growing and changing and you don’t necessarily change in the same direction over time. Communication and boundaries are key but they are also difficult! Thanks for sharing this

    1. Dana, thanks so much for your feedback! We are certainly changing over time due to the many life experiences that we encounter, and it is important to have that understanding, especially when in a relationship. A relationship/marriage will always have highs and it will not always have lows. Balance is key and learning to adapt as time passes is important.

  9. Great post! Believing that love is all you need to have a successful relationship is a great tragedy. It is amazing how many relationships fail because of that belief alone. I am very lucky to have found the love of my life. wE have been together for 19 years now. However, we learned the hard way that it takes more than love to make a relationship last. We have had to learn how to communicate and compromise. Although the biggest lessons we have learned are how to admit when we are wrong and to apologize even when we aren’t wrong. We apologize for upsetting the other person. Those two things have kept our relationship going strong. I’m sure we will learn many more things as the years pass. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you Tiffany! So many key elements are needed for a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Love is not the only element, but it is one of the main foundations in building a solid relationship. Nothing is learned overnight and as a couple grows together over the years you learn about the importance of giving and take, communication, trust, communication, and so much more. One however has to be committed and dedicated to putting in the hard work however.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback! It is such a powerful thing and sometimes can become dangerous if not careful. Communication, compromise, and trust are all needed to make a relationship thrive.

  10. A really thorough and interesting post. I think love can be enough in a relationship, but experience tells me that there’s no substitute for hard work and understanding.

    1. Graham thanks so much for your feedback! You are absolutely right, there is indeed no way around doing hard work and showing understanding. Those are two important elements needed for any relationship.

  11. Excellent article and BEAUTIFULLY written! First thing that came to my mind was the song “Love is a Verb” by John Mayer. I haven’t thought of that song in so long! Thank you for sharing all of this information. It is a great reminder for all of us.

  12. Much of what you’ve written I agree with. You make really great points and I wouldn’t dispute them. Thanks for sharing.

    Any relationship is totally about people coming together as they are, rather than merely seeking to become whole in each other or trying to change them.
    Or at least it should be.
    This idea that you can’t be whole without another person? Please! Let’s normalize ‘your other half’ being yourself.

    The happiness you find in being with a partner should be a bonus, not the foundation of a relationship. What I mean is, you need to make yourself happy before you can make anyone else happy. You need self-love, you need to take care of yourself. That’s Counselling 101 and it stands for your relationships as well.

    Firstly, because seeking happiness externally is shaky at best. Secondly, because that’s a lot of pressure for another human being to be under at all.

    A partnership is just that.
    Two people working to create something beautiful together, the premise of which is simple: it’s a give-and-take balance. Too much take. Too much give. Whoops! That needs adjusted. Relationships take work, romantic or no. The risk is always worth the reward in my opinion. Either because you’ve gained a connection with another person or you’ve learned plenty in that time you’ve spent, even if it doesn’t work out – about yourself, about people. Time isn’t wasted.

    Also, what you say about being who you are even when you become a “we.” It really is about balance! Friends of mine love to philosophize about love and I’m no different. We love a good natter about love. We all agree that long-lasting love can only really be possible with someone you respect and admire. Because when push comes to shove, real admiration doesn’t die or fizzle out. You always have that respect.

    And yes. Boundaries are so important, and working on individual goals are a must. That’s where the balance comes in. I’d add that it’s helpful if you and your partner can understand each other’s past, enjoy the present and have similar plans for the future. The latter especially.

    I could go on and on, but yeah, the gist is, it’s a great read! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for this thorough feedback. It is truly appreciated. I can definitely agree with you because when it comes to love, it is complex, but in addition to that, it looks different to everyone. Some may say love is enough it compasses others things besides feelings, and others might say different. All in all, what’s key is knowing your self-worth and knowing what makes you happy as an individual and not what makes you happy as a couple. I also agree with you that working on your own goals is so important because it helps to cultivate and define who you are as a person. Thanks so much again for your thoughts!

  13. So well put once again. I love how you wrote this and explained in detail the different types of love. From my opinion, I agree in thinking it’s not enough. It’s a factor for sure, but so many factors, like the ones you named, come into play. You see so many married couples getting a divorce and sometimes the line you hear is ” love just wasn’t enough”. And it’s true, because it’s not. Great post!

  14. Really detailed post on love. I also feel that love is more than just a word, it’s an action word. Most people seem to throw the word around without the action. Really nice post, thanks for sharing.

  15. This was so beautiful to read.
    I agree with you in that love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship long term. With love must come you maintaining your own identity, you were your own person and you shouldn’t lose that. You had your own friends, interests and hobbies – losing that because you’re so consumed by this one person and your relationship with them kills so many relationship.
    Mutual respect, is also very important and goes a long way. And I think an overlooked factor is being with someone who knows how to cater to your love languages so that you always feel loved with intention.

  16. This was so fascinating! I truly believe love is the foundation of a happy relationship, but you’re right that it’s not the be all and end all. You need respect, loyalty, friendship and also self love for a relationship to stand the test of time!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

  17. I feel like people often forget that love moves from that infatuation phase into a more stable and comfortable form! And all those other points are so important, for me (as someone who over thinks everything) I need someone around who’s supportive and patient, but also fun… to help me get out of funks when I’m in them!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

    1. Katie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe the influence of the media plays a huge role in why many think that relationships should be a certain way all the time, when that is truly not the case. Thank so much for your feedback!

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Hello & Welcome!

HEY! I’m Rebekah, but everyone calls me Bekah or Becky.

I work for adults who suffer from Mental Illnesses and/or have Intellectual Disabilities. I provide Behavioral Therapeutic Services, among other services to this population.

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