Romantic relationships are hard. You’re responsible for another person’s happiness, and you have to make adjustments to your own lifestyle and personality to live peacefully. These relationships are also wonderful. You have a companion with whom you can build a life, who you can laugh and cry with. However, even great relationships end sometimes, and it can be hard to know why. There is a key factor that can determine whether or not a relationship will last, and you can find out what that is by asking yourself one question:
Do we want the same things?
Now, this doesn’t mean little things, like material possessions, types of pets, and so on. We’re talking about high-priority things, the things neither of you want to compromise on, like having children. Do you both want a life of adventure and travel, or does one of you just want to have a stable, 9-5 job that they stay in for 30 years before retiring off somewhere in Florida? Here are some crucial questions to ask of yourself and your partner to find out if you have the same vision for your future:
1. Where do you see yourself (as a couple) in five years? How about ten? Twenty?
2. What life goals could you not meet, and still be happy?
3. What goals or dreams are so important to you, that if they didn’t come through, you would blame your partner?
4. Do you see your relationship as an obstacle to your dreams and goals, or as an encouragement/support system?
Don’t live into the assumption that your partner will change their mind about any of their dreams because if they don’t, you’ll be disappointed and bitter. That is a recipe for disaster, and no relationship will last if one of the members is living with resentment. When you’re thinking about your future as a couple, don’t only think about the other person. When you’re really in love, it is easy to make them a priority in an effort to not be selfish, but now is the time to think about what you really want, and if giving those things up is an option. Try to think in the long-term. Now, you might be okay with the idea of not having kids, but what about in a couple of years? What will it take to truly be happy, and does it line up with what your partner wants?
Another major element of a happy relationship is respect. In fact, the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs talk about how women need to feel loved and adored while men need to feel respected to make a relationship work. In this article from ReGain are the signs of disrespect in a marriage and when to draw the line when these things occur.
To make a relationship work you must want the same things from life, while loving and respecting each other.