Most Important Things in a Relationship #17 will Surprise You!

By David Small •  Updated: 01/23/20 •  13 min read
Maintaining healthy relationships is a two-way effort

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Relationships can be a complicated mix of emotions and chemical reactions, making major problems seem trivial at times while making trivial matters seem like the end of the world at others.

A survey published in December of 2019 showed that 94% of Americans believe in true love. When the same group was asked how long the feeling of love in a relationship can last, 77% said that it could last a lifetime if it’s with the right person.

When in search of the most important thing in a relationship, there are certain factors that come to mind, such as mutual respect, understanding, etc., each of which we will discuss in detail here.

According to Harville Hendrix, “Our interactions with our patents draw our ‘emotional maps’ of what love means, what acceptance feels like, what being a good person is, etc. These maps then filter who we’re attracted to as an adult.” – Getting the Love You Want (2007)

Let’s get down to what the most important factors in successful relationships are. Important Things That Make a Good Relationship.


1.     Respect.

“Relationships are not always easy, but they can be happy, peaceful, and harmonious with a little effort. That’s what I found in relationships over the years…” Relationship: Notes on Love, Mutual Respect, Boundaries, Marriage, and Divorce (2014)

Professionals like William Benitez suggest that one of the most important things in a relationship is mutual respect. After all, how can one love someone and disrespect them at the same time?

Love creates an imaginary podium based on how much you revere the other person. The higher they are, the more you learn to respect them.

Relationships often end because either one or both parties involved lose all respect for each other, leading to abuse and fights (silent and verbal alike).

A prime example of this is when people love someone who is bad for them. No matter what they do, the high degree of respect you have for the other person lets you justify their actions and continue the relationship.

“Respect means that you give the other person the freedom to be an individual.” – Gary Chapman

2.     Understanding.

65% of all respondents in 2019 suggested that mutual understanding is one of the characteristics of a good relationship.

In the book Learning about Relationships (1993) by Steve Duck, he suggests that even the most negative comments can be made in a positive way, and taken in such a context successfully. Provided both parties have a rapport and foundation of mutual understanding.

“For a moment, you were quiet. And then you nestled in and whispered, ‘Contiguous.’
And I knew you understood.”
– David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary (2012)

Related Article: Relationship Advice for Couples from Top Marriage Experts.

3.     Honesty.

A relationship built on a foundation of lies (even if they are white lies) and false hope is much more likely to come crumbling down sooner or later than one based on honesty.

Honest communication has a much lighter and comfortable tone, which leads to increased affection on both ends. It provides a better sense of understanding and brings out the supportive-side of both partners.

75% of people suggested that trust is another one of the most important things in a relationship, leading it to rank third in the list. However, brutal honesty can sometimes lead to drastically negative feelings: a topic we will discuss further down below.

“Be sure it’s your real self you’re showing. Because it is your real self that needs to be loved.” – Daphne Rose Kingma, Finding True Love: The 4 Essential Keys to Bring You the Love of Your Life (2001)

4.     Affection/Love.

The importance of love in a relationship is a much-debated topic, even though 80% of respondents claimed it to be more important.

Yet, many experts believe that love and affection are mere conduits generated by other things that are more important than love in a relationship such as understanding between partners, trust, humor, honesty, loyalty, etc.

“Love cannot live where there is no trust.”– Edith Hamilton, Mythology (1964)

Most important things in a relationship

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5.     Supportiveness.

Emotions are a strong and rather defining attribute of the human body. Men and women are prone to being emotional and needing support from time to time, be it in the form of company or a simple “don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

Couples should always be ready to help each other out with their problems, even though it might require a bit of compromise from one or the other.

Even the slightest “I’m here for you no matter what” can help the other get through whatever it is they’re facing.

“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships, so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.” – Wm. Paul Young, The Shack (2008)

6.     Freedom/Independence.

While relationships might require some sort of compromise from both partners, it is essential to let the other person be who they are. When making any decision, you should discuss it with your partner. Remember, you don’t always have to be right.

Putting aside your identity might be a good short-term solution, but it isn’t sustainable. Remember to give your hobbies and personality some time. Encourage the other person to do so every now and then.

Too much distance, though, can lead apathy; so maintain a balance.

“…the opposite of love is not hate — it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.” – Leo F. Buscaglia, Living, Loving, and Learning (1985)

Related Article: Top 50 Amazing Secrets for a Happy Blissful Relationship.

7.     Tenderness & Intimacy.

Among the most important things in a relationship, we have placed tenderness and intimacy in seventh place. This is because, although an essential part, it cannot be classified as the most important.

Only 49% of respondents claimed that having a physical aspect of the relationship is important.

Physical intimacy is the pinnacle of love, where couples express their desire for each other and the intensity of their love. The kisses, the hugs, and sex are things that keep relationships healthy.

8.     Flexibility.

Flexibility in terms of your partner comes hand in hand with giving them freedom of being who they are. While some situations might require you to be rigid, it shouldn’t be permanent. Rigidity is what breaks a relationship, forcing one of them to feel like they are trapped.


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9.     Priorities.

In a relationship, it is extremely important to remember that you aren’t two people in a relationship but are one coherent unit tackling the world’s problems together.

While you shouldn’t throw all your needs out the window, as partners, it is important to remember them in every decision as well.

For example, if you don’t mind the clutter, but your partner is a neat-freak, it might simply be a good idea to change your habits a bit. Not only does prioritizing needs to build rapport, but it also instills a feeling of gratitude.

Gratitude has been around since the dawn of humans, let us work together to achieve a common goal. Gratuitous civilizations helped each other, reflecting the need to ‘pay back the kindness’ and thus, at times, prioritizing the needs of others because you ‘owed’ them.

This led to civilizations working together to achieve specific goals.

“When you say ‘I’ and ‘my’ too much, you lose the capacity to understand the ‘we’ and ‘our.’” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free (2009)

10.   Communication.

Professionals and writers agree that one of the most important things in relationships is communication. Failure to communicate with your significant other can lead to passive-aggressiveness, perhaps not to the extent of a disorder but enough to strain your relationship.

“But why, why, why can’t people just say what they mean?” – Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project (2014)

Proper communication in couples can resolve many issues long before they arise. It can help couples express their love, discuss problems, create interest, and even help in more intimate scenarios.

11.   Compromise.

As mentioned above, where there is love, there is some compromise. The majority of relationships are based on giving and taking, even from an evolutionary standpoint.

Being willing to compromise and make sacrifices, you show consideration and your protective stance in their regard, compelling them to do the same for you.

“Love without sacrifice is like theft.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2016)

Keep in mind, though, sacrifices and compromise from one end only can lead to a toxic relationship and decreased self-esteem for the compromiser, so find a balance. Learn when not to compromise.

Related Article: Love Quotes that will Create Great Relationship-75 Awesome.

12.   Forgiveness.

You might have heard the famous words of Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive divine” from “An Essay on Criticism.” It’s as if he said this specifically for those in a relationship.

People make mistakes. You must learn to forgive your partner, whether it is for forgetting to put the trash out to for making a major mistake while drunk.

A simple “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” can go a long way to making someone’s day or keeping your relationship healthy and strong.

Appreciating the small things in a relationship

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13.    Take Pride in Each Other.

No one is without fault. Remember to support each other through hardships and to be proud to have them at your side, in private as well as in public.

14.   Spend Time Together.

The more you spend time with each other, the better understanding you’ll develop of the what, why, when, and where of each other. After all, the whole idea is to find your true partner-in-crime.

Occasionally, it might seem like one of you is playing the babysitter or the parent. However, neither of you is meant to do this for long.

As a whole, you both are to come together as a team, devising plans and strategies for one problem after another – apart from making each other laugh uncontrollably from time to time.

“Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity…When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project (2012)

15.   Emotional Stability.

Stability of any sort, be it emotional or financial, comes only after realizing that there is a solution to every problem, forgiveness after mistakes, and laughter after tears.

As a couple, your target should be to manage each other’s and your own stability well. See each other’s flaws, but don’t look at them. Observe and ignore or observe and rectify.

16.   Forget.

Any lingering issues between couples are grounds for trust deterioration. People sometimes forgive but don’t forget. One of the most important things in a relationship is not just the ability to forgive but also to forget.

Otherwise, trust deteriorates over time.

Any lingering issues between couples

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17.   Secrets.

Many argue that keeping secrets is cancer to a relationship; however, we disagree. There is always a time and a place for everything.

It might be counterproductive to blurt out every tiny detail about one’s past to their significant other in the first week of a relationship.

You should learn to trust your partner that they will open up to you when they are comfortable, and the time is right. You shouldn’t force anything out as it might open up wounds that they weren’t ready to face just yet.

“Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit.” – Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (2011)

Related Article: The 12 Ingredients For Successful Romantic Relationship.

18.   Don’t Compare.

The grass is always greener on the other side. Don’t see another couple go to the Alps and resent your partner for not being able to. Measure them based on their standards.

The things that make your relationship good might be some tiny thing they lack!

“Lately I can’t help wanting us
to be like other people.
For example, if I were a smoker,
you’d lift a match to the cigarette
just as I put it between my lips.”
― Deborah Garrison, A Working Girl Can’t Win (2000)

19.   Safety.

Another thing that is more important than love in a relationship is the feeling of comfort, warmth, and safety you both feel when with each other.

Here, the word “safety” doesn’t just apply to protection against physical harm but also emotional and psychological harm.

How can you relax in front of your significant other if you can’t be sure you’re safe with them?

“I think when men hear that women want a commitment, they think it means a commitment to a romantic relationship, but that’s not it. It’s a commitment to not floating around anywhere.” – Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (2011)

20.   Responsibility.

Responsibility is a big word, instilling fear in many who have heard “you need to start taking responsibility.” In a relationship, however, the word responsibility isn’t as daunting.

It means that you should control and own yourself, not try to control the other person.

As a couple, you should focus on what defines you and polish that.

21.   Appreciating the Small Things.

The devil is in the details. Even the smallest actions can make someone happy, and the slightest lack could have devastating effects.

From deciding on what to have for dinner to the color of your new T-shirt, it all makes a difference. Enjoy these little things, and the bigger milestones will follow.


Photo by João Jesus from Pexels

22.   Celebrating Achievements.

Celebrate your partner’s achievements, from overcoming fear to graduating (even with a low score). It doesn’t matter if your partner finished first or last, show them that the fact that they did it and achieved something isn’t going unnoticed.

This little act of ‘I knew you could do it’ may very well be the foundation of the most important things in a relationship we’ve listed here!

23.   Dedication.

Dedication is a defining characteristic of a good relationship, so much so that even though it is synonymous to trust, it deserves its own explanation.

Dedication, in the context of a relationship, reflects a number of things such as loyalty, sufficiency, and gratitude, to name a few. These factors act as building blocks of any important factors of a relationship.

If you are dedicated enough to your partner, almost all other things in the list above will follow, be it trust, respect, honesty, forgiveness, and even pride!

“I’m done. I don’t need anything more out of life. I have you, and that’s enough.”― Alessandra Torre, Sex Love Repeat (2013)

The most important things in relationships are often the ones that get neglected after long periods, leading to strenuous relations between a couple and painful breakups soon after.

To avoid having to go through that pain, you should keep a close eye on the factors above. Always remember that true love is a commodity even rarer than the most precious metals on earth; if you have it, cherish it.

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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