Janika Veasley at YourTango gives her expert opinion on relationships.
We all want happy, healthy relationships.
Most people have an innate desire to share and feel love. If we didn't, we wouldn't continue to get into relationships — or even "situationships" – with the hopes that they would turn into something lasting.
What are core values?
According to the basic definition, "Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organisation. These guiding principles dictate behaviour and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong."
To sustain love and create a relationship that has what it takes to survive for years to come, we have to be intentional and mindful of how we create that.
Couples who share this list of eight core values within their relationships are generally the happiest and healthiest.
Companionship is essential for being your partner's friend. It's built off of friendship and grown by affection, connection, and fellowship, or quality time.
Think of companionship as the thermostat of your relationship — it lets you know how hot or cold the relationship is. Without friendship in your relationship, it's difficult to know how healthy the relationship is.
Companionship is necessary to foster a healthy sense of romance and affection with your partner. It's hard to be romantic or sexually attracted to someone you don't even like that much.
Respect is the feeling of admiration for someone and honouring/recognising them for who they are, what they have achieved, or what they are capable of.
Just as our need for self-respect is important to us individually, our partner's need for respect is equally as important. This is done by recognising and having consideration for our partner's feelings and needs.
There is nothing more beautiful and attractive than when your partner respects your need for individuality and who you see yourself to be. When that can happen, they likely can hold the relationship with the same care and respect they show you as an individual.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
This is deeper than simply having sympathy for our partners and what they are dealing with — it's having the ability to put yourself in their position and saying, "I get it."
This lets our partner know that not only are we attentive to them when the relationship is fun, but we are listening and concerned when they are hurting.
Vulnerability in a relationship is showing up and being present, willingly.
The challenge with vulnerability is that to be open and honest with our partners does not guarantee that they will return the same sentiment, affection, or behaviour at that moment. Vulnerability puts you at risk for rejection.
But it also means that you recognise that value of your partner and the relationship — because vulnerability means that you are honouring your relationship with the realest and most raw version of yourself.
Accountability is owning up to the mess you made, but also being willing to clean it up.
It's not enough to just apologise for our behaviour and actions against our partners, but it's equally as important to show that we understand the impact of our actions.
The apology is the first step toward accountability, but recognising our partner's desire for change and different behaviour is the second step in becoming accountable partners in the relationship.
Commitment means being dedicated and devoted to one another. People want to know that they matter in their relationships and this is demonstrated by prioritising our partners.
Making your partner a priority means that they come before anyone else and they are your primary concern.
When you get married, you commit to another person. But if you explicitly state that you are in a committed relationship, then we need to always keep that commitment in mind.
Most of us have an idea of what trust it, but for those who don't, it's the ability to believe and rely on what your partner tells you — firmly and wholeheartedly.
Most people talk about trust being foundational, but it is also something that is earned and cultivated.
Trust is built little by little; it isn't built overnight. It is a huge concept in any relationship and has a huge value. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Communication is simply how we talk to one another. As a relationship breaks down, the first to go is communication.
When you describe the communication of your relationship, if you describe it by frequent name-calling, yelling, aggressive, and very conflictual — that is a strong indication that your relationship is unhealthy.
Conflict will happen, it's inevitable. But the conflict doesn't have to get ugly and messy or make us speak in negative ways towards our partners. If the communication is breaking down, take a break and come back to the conversation. It's more important to be loving than to be right.
Take an inventory of your relationship and ask yourself if these eight values present.
Do both you and your partner engage them, or is it one-sided?
Relationships take work, but to have a happy, healthy, and fulfiling relationship, it will be worth it.