10 Golden Qualities For Modern Day Love
What is it exactly that makes a couple click? And what are the qualities that keep them happily joined long after the first flush of love fades? Here are 10 qualities to look for in your own modern-day prince or princess. If you both possess these 10 traits, together you just may have your own happily ever after.
A no-brainer, honesty would have made this list in 1911 too. But, do we really know what it means? Honesty seems so black and white, but it’s much more complicated than that, though no less vital. A commitment to honesty means the ability to walk the tightrope between brutally laying down the cold hard facts, and sugarcoating the truth until it really isn’t the truth at all. This quality is particularly imperative for both couples to share – with a mutual commitment to honesty, the transparency of each will be valued by the other, even when what they have to say may be difficult for the other to hear.
This quality is one that most people assume they have, or at least assume they know what it is. Merriam Webster defines loyalty as “unswerving in allegiance… faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due…constant, dedicated, devoted, devout, down-the-line, fast, good, faithful,
staunch…steadfast, steady, true, true-blue”. That pretty much covers it. A person’s loyalty is something you know you have when you have it, and devastating to discover you don’t. It’s the act, promise, and commitment to stand by someone’s side no matter what happens. It’s defending your partner even when (especially when!) they are not around. In fact, evidence of loyalty is when others would not even dream of saying anything negative about your person around you, because they know what your response would be.
Trust is an essential building block of any successful relationship. It’s the fruit of honesty and loyalty. When you have it, you feel safe, secure, loved. Trust means freedom; with it, you are free to be who you really are in a relationship, because you trust the person you are with to accept you. Having trust means you are assured of your partner’s faithfulness, devotion, and love.
Priority for me means I know I’m number one in my husband’s life. Even if other things are pressing for our attention, I know I can always reach him. Not just reach him via phone, text, or email, but reach him: I can cut through whatever crazy, hectic things are going on around us, and reach out to him – and have him respond, and reach out to me too. It means that if I call him at work and say, “I need you to come home – now, because the kids are sick and I’m going crazy and I can’t take it anymore,” that he will drop whatever he is doing and come home. Period.
Of course, his trust in me is warranted by the fact that I don’t abuse being the top priority.
Need we say more? Call it chemistry, heat, lust or desire – passion is a necessary ingredient for long-term success. If you’ve been together for a long time, it may sometimes seem like passion has taken a hike and been replaced with comfort and familiarity (both good too, by the way). You may even fear that it’s gone for good. As someone who believes we are each responsible for our own desire, may I say: baloney. It may mean you have to work to uncover it from layers of stress and distance (and yes, contrary to popular belief, work and passion are not opposites), but passion lives inside you, regardless of who you are with, just waiting under the pile of life to be re-ignited. It can be quite a fun journey back to passion, actually.
Edward Hallowell, in his 2010 book Married to Distraction, states, “Distraction is to an intimate conversation as water is to fire. To love, you must slow down; you must attend to the other person.” In our cyber-paced world, the new love is spelled a-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n. Attentiveness means
putting away the gadgets and not letting “the age of interruption” steal you of intimate connection with your partner. Without attentiveness (and her cousin, priority), intimacy is in danger of being extinguished.
I call this the ability to “go with the flow”. It is absolutely mandatory for fluid communication and connection. Who wants to be with someone who throws a hissy fit every time plans change unexpectedly? The ability to be low-key and “just go with it” telegraphs confidence and ease – two very attractive qualities (see #5).
I love this quality. I really didn’t know what it meant beyond the dictionary definition before I married my husband, and then it was particularly drilled home once I had our children. Put simply, selflessness is the ability and tendency to think about the other person – first. It’s the willingness to be second, wrong, or inconvenienced just because doing so would show love to the other. Of all the qualities, this one might be the most rare. These days everyone seems to be worried, “What about me?” The truly selfless love asks instead: “What about you?”
Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but they are not the same. Sympathy is “You poor thing! It must be horrible to be you right now.”
Empathy is “I know how you feel” or “I can only imagine the pain you are going through.” Empathy is the aptitude and willingness to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is a top-ten quality because without it, you might just never see things from your partner’s point of view. Without empathy, you would miss some very important pieces of information, like why they said what they just said, what makes them think that, and how they could feel they way they do. Developing and exercising empathy makes you a better person as well as a better partner, and could very well lead to the expansion of quality #8.
The heavy hitter, respect is the big daddy of our list. Without it, forget it. Can you love someone you don’t respect? I don’t think so. Can you be
disrespectful to someone you love? Unfortunately, absolutely. Respect is communicated in big ways, like deferring to your partner’s schedule or
preferences, or small ways. One of my favorites is how my husband always lets me walk through a restaurant before him when the hostess is seating us. It’s a small thing, but his simple gesture of stepping aside to follow his wife to the table communicates to me that he respects me, and makes me feel like a queen. And if he pulls out my chair, all the better.
How did you stack up? Give yourself a point for each quality you believe you possess (and show!). Then, score yourself here:
7-10 points: William and Kate have nothing on you. Your mate is lucky to have you (though you would never tell them that, out of respect )
4-6 points: Okay, you’re on your way. You’re honest enough (#1) to see that you have some work to do, and that’s important. Keep showing the qualities you already possess and practice the ones that might be more of a challenge. Your love will thank you!
0-3 points: Yikes. Have you been living in a cave? Do you realize there are other people on planet Earth? You do get points for honesty, but (in all honesty) you need to do some serious work. Use these qualities as your guide and you’ll be unstoppable (in a good way).
Let me know what you think! Tweet me @laurelfay, or message me on FB. I’d love to hear from you!