When it comes to love—hell, a lot of things—life sets you up to believe that the feeling is all you need. It paints this rosy “Love conquers all” picture, and that you can truly navigate any and every obstacle, no matter what.
While I’d like to believe that to be true, I know better. Reality has slapped me in the face a number of times, and I wasn’t disturbed with a soft kiss like Sleeping Beauty. While love may make you stay, it isn’t enough to have a healthy, sustainable, lifelong partnership. This article isn’t meant to discourage anyone from finding and keeping love. It’s meant to educate you on what’s really needed to have a healthy, fulfilling relationship. Here are five reasons why you need more than love to have one:
1. Whether you wish to admit it, we have expectations of our mates.
While one may not stop loving someone who has betrayed them, the conditions in which he or she allows the offender to exist in his or her life will usually change. If true love came with no expectations or standards, people would be able to get away with practically anything without consequence or repercussion. But life doesn’t work that way for most of us. We expect our significant other to treat us a certain way, and to honor the agreements—both official and unofficial—for our relationship.
2. Our forgiveness has its limits.
Love isn’t enough to make everyone remain faithful. It doesn’t guarantee that we will prioritize time for our mate when he or she needs us the most. It doesn’t fix hurt feelings and love doesn’t make you forget words that were spoken out of anger. What does make us rethink our actions is what we have to lose. Often it isn’t simply love that keeps us on the right path; it is the desire to be men and women of our word and to not rock the boat regarding our livelihood and what is at stake.
3. We wouldn’t have to choose our words more carefully.
If love was all that we needed, we’d never remember all of the effed up stuff that was said to us by those who we truly adore. There would be no such a thing as “being careful” with what we said, because you wouldn’t have a fear of hurting someone’s feelings or losing them. It would almost be a guarantee that they’d be around.
4. Love is conditional.
People often throw the phrase, “Love is unconditional” around. But how true is it? The last time I checked, only insecure individuals who struggle with self-worth accept mediocrity. In other words, love has quite a few conditions. After all, that’s what makes your mate special; he or she is different from the rest, and they continue to demonstrate it.
5. The 3 Cs are necessary.
How many times have we loved someone but couldn’t make it work? Compatibility, chemistry and common goals are usually major reasons why. While there are tons of amazing people in the world, not every awesome person is meant for you no matter how much you may love them. But these “3 Cs,” as I call them, are needed for every successful relationship.
Too often, people go into a relationship with some recycled idea that it’s supposed to be easy. While it shouldn’t be ridiculously difficult for no reason, love is, in fact, a challenge. Make sure you’re up for it.
Shantell E. Jamison is a senior editor for EBONY.com. Her book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em. Visit her website for more info.