Breaking down Marriage, "True Love" and The Power of A Healthy Relationship

I recently returned from an incredible four days in Bandon, OR – celebrating the wedding of my boyfriend's best friend, Simon, to his beautiful fiance, Lauren. Although I hadn’t met Lauren before —it was obvious that these two were meant to find each other—and to have a positive impact on the rest of each other’s lives.

(( And that’s why I love weddings! )). It's an opportunity to see (up close) another couple’s version of true lasting love; to hear their friends and family weigh in; to catch those intimate, heart-melting moments when they smile at one another, or laugh at something that only the two of them could understand. 

But as we (should) all know, marriage doesn’t make a couple happy—the relationship must be solid to start with, and founded on shared values, strong communication and trust.

People often ask if Thomas and I are planning on getting married soon (it’s been six years!)—but we’re in no rush! Why should we be? We’re building our careers and focusing on other priorities right now. Every couple has their own timing—their own reasons for wanting marriage (or not wanting marriage)—and each and every partnership should be based on what’s right for those two people (and those two people only).

At the end of the day, I believe that the only thing that REALLY matters in a relationship, is the quality of love and support shown to one another.

      Are you dedicated to improving the quality of each other’s lives?

     Do you rise up for your partner when they’re feeling down?

     Do you inquire and care about each other’s successes and passions?

      Do you make sacrifices so the other can flourish?

     Do you listen when your partner needs to talk?

     Do you offer advice meant to encourage and inspire?

     Do you make an effort to understand and connect with each other’s friends and family?

     Do you have the ability to talk about uncomfortable issues, or those you don’t agree on?

Do you have FUN together?

     Are you 50/50 committed to the health, happiness and success of your relationship?

^^^ Those (in my opinion), are the building blocks needed to keep a relationship strong and stretch your love throughout the years (without it feeling like a strain). 

Every strong relationship will involve sacrifice (yes), fighting, and frustration—but ultimately, it’s about two halves coming together to make a whole. Without the other you would still be alive, but WITH the other you truly THRIVE. You fill in each other’s weak spots, you bulk up each other’s strengths. You care deeply to see the other grow as an individual, just as you set out to do the same.

Of course it’s also normal to become a bit too comfortable in a relationship, become a bit selfish, and give less than your best to the one you love the most. (It's OK- it happens in every great relationship!). The important thing is to be clued into the feelings and emotions of your partner, and know when the relationship is calling for more effort and attention (and when it’s time to have that open and honest “talk!” ).

Life is just way too short to spend it weighed down in an average relationship!! Why share your life with someone that makes you feel like you're taking up space, or treats your relationship like a chore, a burden or a pain?

And for all you SINGLE ladies: (( Keep being PICKY! )). You can't let society’s obsession with love and marriage cloud your perception of love! Who cares when you get married... or if you ever get married?! You’ll be a thousand times happier focusing on your own goals ((having adventures + working on YOU)), than settling for someone who drags you down you, bores you, and/or makes you feel small! You absolutely WILL find true love if you stop stressing about WHEN it’s going to happen and focus on your successes here and NOW.

In the end - we have to be patient when in love AND when looking for love. True love takes time to find -- and once you've got it, it requires fuel to keep the fires alive. 

The best thing we can do is to remain focused on becoming better individuals, as well as stronger + more supportive for the ones we love ( and WILL love ) the most. <3

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How do YOU define "True Love?" What are your "must haves" in a relationship?

(( I'd love to hear! ))

 xoxo - Ryan