Now that the hoopla surrounding Valentine’s Day 2022 is officially behind us, it’s a great time to have a more balanced conversation about the merits of healthy romantic partnership.

We get it. Love is beautiful. 

And, while it’s important to have special occasions when partners express their love and commitment in grand ways —think receiving amazing gifts or engaging in well-crafted Instagram worthy moments—that isn’t the most rewarding part of being boo’d up. 

No, it’s not the sex. And, while children are a blessing, it’s not that either. The best part about meeting—and loving someone—is that it actually helps you grow. Solid, healthy and nurturing relationships push people to discover the best parts of themselves.  And not just to be better for a partner—it’s actually for the benefit of the individual.

Why? Healthy relationships help people tap into areas that are often avoided, otherwise known as vulnerabilities. When someone feels affirmed, protected and actually “liked,” they are able to access parts of self that need healing or development. In short, the confidence and happiness that healthy romantic relationships create helps steel individuals and gives them the anchoring to do the hard work of becoming his or her best self. That is the true beauty of love. It is motivating, freeing and restorative. 

Though Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror, there are still many gifts that your true love has to offer. Here are four priceless skills that you can learn from being in a healthy relationship. 

Love Teaches You the Simplicity of Joy

It’s easy to smile if you’re at your favorite restaurant or shopping online and loading up your cart with the latest must-have items, but love is a reminder that joy doesn’t cost a thing. Everyday experiences—like sharing stories about your afternoon, cooking new recipes or walking in the park—become happy, memorable moments when done with a partner you love. And these incidents model how comforting and pleasurable the little things in life can be, period.

Love Teaches You How to Be Excited Vulnerability

Healthy, loving relationships push people to grow in spaces that are very uncomfortable. It requires you to communicate your needs. It reveals areas where you need to apply pressure. It lifts the veil off your “representative." Luckily, there is a reward: You are affirmed for your truest self. Embracing vulnerability, and being supported, in your romantic relationship helps build confidence, and gives you the courage to stand tall in other spaces.

Love Teaches You How to Forgive

Harsh judgment often stems from fear. People are afraid that others see their inadequacies and deem them as inferior or unworthy. Healthy romantic relationships help people release rigid thinking about fault, blame, perfection and intention. Happy partnerships also teach people that disappointing or hurtful behaviors aren’t always calculated or devious. This growth creates room for individuals to accept and forgive mistakes well as offer grace.

Love Teaches You How to Set Boundaries

No matter how much you adore your partner, how great the sex is or how in synch the two of you are, there will be a time when you want and need to be alone. Learning how to set boundaries around what feels good or overwhelming with your partner—the individual who has the highest stakes in your life—teaches you how to set limits in other areas. Whether it’s with friends, family or work, learning how to identify your needs and advocate for what you want is an invaluable skill; plus, it’s sharpened through healthy partnerships.