When it comes to relationships, you've probably heard the romantic sentiment that love conquers all. At this point, it seems a bit redundant to blame Disney movies for setting this lofty expectation. But, is love enough to keep a relationship going if the other important aspects of a healthy partnership aren't there? Anyone who's ever broken up with someone they still loved would probably say no. According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, even though love is one of the most important elements of a satisfying relationship, it's not the only factor to be considered.
"Love is the most powerful but least defined element of a relationship," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. "Love is the fuel and the fire that has the potential to keep a relationship connection burning, but love is a feeling. It cannot create all the skills and actions that are needed to keep a relationship healthy." No matter how much love there is in a relationship, that doesn't change the fact that most people have additional needs. If those needs aren't being met, Dr. Klapow explains that sustaining a relationship is unlikely.
"Love without compatibility, love without compromise, love without self-examination and self-improvement will never sustain a healthy relationship," says Dr. Klapow. Although this might sound like a tough pill to swallow, the truth is that even the strongest love needs to be nurtured. That's why so many experts emphasize the importance of compatibility as the second piece of the happy-relationship puzzle. "Two people can have great love for one another and yet see the world differently, have different priorities, and be at different stages with respect to self-awareness, self-growth, maturity, and development," explains Dr. Klapow.
Even though love is an incredible feeling, the more practical elements of relationships are just as important to the success of a partnership in the long-term. "If compatibility, flexibility, compromise, self- awareness, and emotional insight aren't there, then loving a person will never sustain a healthy relationship," says Dr. Klapow. The good news is, if both partners are willing to compromise and put in a concerted effort, love can be a wonderful start to a lasting relationship.
If you're in love with someone and want to make a relationship work, but you aren't as compatible as you'd like to be, Dr. Klapow recommends visualizing the relationship as part of a three-part whole. "In any relationship, there are always three components," says Dr. Klapow. "Person one, person two, and the relationship itself. All three must be nurtured, developed, worked on, and evolve." Being able to sustain all three at the same time is key to keeping the dynamic healthy between you and your partner.
"You can never hope to sustain a relationship no matter how much you love the other person if both of you aren't willing to do the work on yourselves," Dr. Klapow adds. "You must address your issues, your challenges, and your deficiencies. Simultaneously, your relationship must be treated like a person. It needs love, attention, and practical things like compromise, flexibility, communication." Ultimately, relationships require work. Only you and your partner can decide whether or not the love you have is worth putting in the extra effort and compromise it takes to sustain a solid partnership.