If you need your romantic relationship to always be a romantic relationship, chances are you will have many arguments. No romantic relationship can ever be romantic all the time. Such expectation isn't realistic no matter how much you love, adore, or cherish the person. Here are some levels that couples share in an effective relationship.
This is a heart-thumping, blushing, sexually inspiring level that joins two people into a mutual belief that one has met his/her soul-mate. Everything feels 'right.' Your world looks and feels brighter. Your life takes on a higher purpose and meaning when you feel 'in love,' small hassles seem like nothing worth spending time over, and you have more energy than you ever thought possible. Your mind will be preoccupied with the other person and everything in life suddenly feels good and wonderful. Unfortunately the romantic stage can be temperamental and any sign that the romance is falling into reality can threaten the belief that one is truly loved.
This is a bond that cannot be broken. No matter what you do you always make sure the other person is considered and cared for. If you are left alone for a day it doesn't matter because you want the other person to be happy. Not being with your significant other every minute is not a personal assault on whether you are important in their life or not. You don't need to do everything they do and they don't need to join you in everything you do. This is a solid foundation upon which to build a true love relationship. If, however, you are only friends without romance the relationship can feel dull.
This is a belief system that keeps two people working on the bigger picture of their relationship together. There is faith in the other person, perhaps a higher power also, be it God or some other philosophical system, and this system pervades why you do everything with and for the other person. Every relationship involves a belief system to keep it going. Problem comes into play when the belief systems differ for each person, especially when raising children or spending money.
It is amazing how many couples do not realize that a long-term relationship involves a partnership. Partners need to trust each other, count on each other, be there for the other person. Partners need to make the important decisions with the other person and hold themselves fully accountable for their 100% of the commitment because there is a commitment. Anyone who is not willing to make a 100% commitment should never be considered a partner.
This level brings the deepest part of intimacy no matter what the nature of the relationship. To have trust enough to share emotions and know that you are safe is a remarkable and powerful way to evince love and kindness. Unfortunately, this level can take decades to build or re-build depending on what pain and experiences one brings to the relationship.
Personal relationships need a healthy sex life to help bring intimacy, trust, caring, and a uniqueness to the relationship.A long-lasting relationship needs far more than this level alone or couples burn out and become uninterested. Good sex is only that: good sex.
What percentage of these levels does your relationship have?
Jan Marquart LCSW
counseling couples and families since 1979