When we start a new relationship, we typically have the euphoric feeling known as the honeymoon phase. We get butterflies in our stomach, we feel like we’re walking on sunshine, and our partner can seemingly do no wrong. As time goes by, the feeling of newness starts to wear off, and we’re forced to evaluate how well the relationship is functioning. Is the love between you genuine or just a passing feeling?
Here are 5 signs of true love:
1. They make you feel supported.
Feeling supported may not sound like the most romantic quality of a relationship at first, but it is so important for a thriving partnership. Mutual support means your relationship is also a friendship.
Often in relationships (even those that are working), people have assigned roles. One person may be the breadwinner while the other takes care of home. But these roles are often not based on the concept of support but rather on responsibility. Dividing responsibilities and providing for each other are important, but they do not take the place of giving and receiving emotional support.
Are you supporting each other’s hopes and dreams? Are you there for each other in the ways the other person needs? Finding ways that you can support each other even more than you already do will help strengthen your relationship.
2. They bring out the best in you.
We each have a personal responsibility to manage our own feelings and to act in a way that is loving and sharing and kind, but there are certain people that know how to trigger the worst parts of us. They may bring out negative parts of our personality or just make us feel bad when we’re around them. When that happens in a relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t love there, but it is an indication that there is work to do.
On the flip side, a healthy partnership will support you in sharing the best parts of yourself with the world. Ask yourself, “When I’m around my partner, does it bring out the better parts of me?” Think about how you can bring out the best in your partner as well.
3. They challenge you in ways that inspire you.
We tend to think that successful relationships are ones that are problem-free or that are easy. Of course, we should be compatible and get along with our partners, but being challenged by them is also important to our spiritual growth.
Being challenged doesn’t mean they put you down, criticize, or discourage you. It means they ask questions, push back, and are curious in discovering something about you from a loving and supportive place. It should feel less like criticism and more like inspiration.
This also means you have to be open to receiving that kind of feedback from your partner. Almost impossible for a relationship to be its best version if both partners aren’t desiring to grow and change together. If you want to better yourself, you will naturally find their feedback and input invaluable.
When was the last time your partner challenged you or vice versa?
4. They’re invested in knowing about your opinions, values, and dreams.
When we start a new relationship, we often focus on the instant connection, passion, and attraction. Those elements are important, but for a relationship to thrive, it requires that both people have a mutual interest in each other’s inner lives.
When you speak, does your partner listen deeply? Do they ask about your past, your day, and your goals? Do they share your values and beliefs? Do you do the same for them? Taking an interest in each other shows that you care about one another. Be curious about each other. Don’t assume you know everything about them, no matter how long you’ve been together. People’s thoughts, feelings, and dreams change over time. Make an effort to check in with each other regularly.
5. They give you room to grow as a person.
Relationships require a healthy balance between desiring to spend time together and giving each other space to grow. People often lose themselves in a relationship because they don’t check in with themselves regularly. It’s easy to get lost in the growing responsibilities that life brings us: marriage, children, family, work. Things change you over time. It's important to continuously check in with yourself. Who are you? What do you believe and desire?
Without taking the time to get in touch with yourself, it’s easy to go through life robotically. Unless you stop, pay attention and give yourself honest feedback, your life will happen to you and not through you. One day you may wake up and wonder, “How did I get here?”
Make sure your partner is giving you the space to check in with yourself and grow in the ways you want to. Do the same for them. That’s the only thing that will safeguard you both from losing yourself in the relationship.
Being loved is about feeling heard, seen, understood, challenged, and inspired. These are important guideposts in seeing where your relationship is at and how to make it better. All relationships take work and have areas of strength and challenge. Talk to your partner about the things that are important to you and make sure you are providing them with the things they need as well.