I don’t typically do posts about relationships, but in the 15+ years that I’ve been in one (the same one, I might add) I’ve learned a few things. I’ve seen my friends go through harsh breakups and I’ve also seen a few of them find love and happiness. And since I’m on a “finding happiness” kick currently, I figured I’d start here.

Love: is it the key to happiness? Most would say yes. Most would say that having someone to love and who loves you back is the sole provider for their happiness. I would say love alone is not the key to happiness. Here’s why.

I believe in love. I believe in its strength and significance in relationships. But I have also learned that love isn’t always enough. You need more than love to make a relationship work. Love starts many great romances, but love alone won’t make it last forever. There are things we should be saying that have much more significance than just “I love you.” Here’s what they are:

I’ll forgive you, for then and for forever.
I’ll sacrifice and protect for you.
I’ll respect you and honor you.
I’ll support you and encourage you.
I am and always will be committed to you.

The bottom line: relationships aren’t easy. They take work and dedication. They aren’t a part-time job that you can sort of showing up for. They require 100% attention, on and off the field. You can’t send your loved one a sick-note for being absent nor can you press the rewind button and go back to when things were different. You have to show up. You have to be in it, all the way. You have to forgive, sacrifice, protect, respect, honor, support, encourage, and commit whole-heartedly to the cause. And better yet, your partner has to do the same for you.

And when you can rest assured that your partner believes the same for you: that is happiness.

I am with the man who gives me more than love. I am with the man who looks past my mistakes. I am with the man who sacrifices for me. I am with a man who honors and respects me. I am with a man who takes care of me in more ways than one. I am with someone who encourages me to be my very best every day. I am with someone who makes me feel safe and secure. I am with someone who I know will love me through the thick and the thin, who hasn’t left nor will leave me when times are tough. I’m with someone who makes me happy.

I am with the man who was more than just an “I love you.”

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