A great relationship doesn’t just happen. You and your partner need to work for it. What are the ingredients of a successful relationship? Let’s find out.

1. Love

Surprised that this one came first? Love, no matter how mushy it sounds, is the foundation of all happy couples. Love begets everything in a relationship. When two people share this emotion, nothing can tear them apart, not even their differences. As the old, mawkish adage goes, love conquers all, and all we need is love.

2. Honesty

Being honest to your partner is one of the most important things in a relationship. Take note though there’s a difference between being honest and being blunt. You want to be honest, but still have enough care to protect your partner’s feelings and not always be brutally frank. You want your partner to feel good despite their shortcomings or weaknesses. You want them to improve and be better versions of themselves.

3. Respect

It doesn’t matter how much chemistry two people may have or how much they enjoy intimate moments, if respect is lacking, they will watch a relationship dwindle. Just because two people are already in an exclusive partnership, it doesn’t mean they own each other’s entire time and space. Respect is a must have for a happy and successful relationship, and without it, even love won’t help.

4. Trust

Jealousy and paranoia are quick romance killers. When one partner checks their partner’s phone and scans text messages, or even worse, requests access to their emails or Facebook, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong in a relationship. They may think they have that privilege to sneak into their partner’s personal accounts, but if we take a few moments to think about what that implies, we can see that it is simply a lack of trust, and lack or absence of trust can easily choke a relationship.

5. Time

Relationships are about togetherness. You probably want to be with your lover always and forever, every minute of every day, just as much as they want be with you. Of course, that’s not always possible or practical, because you both have to go to work and each of you has a life of their own. Nevertheless, you have to find time for each other if you value your relationship and want to make it flourish. Otherwise, even that long held passion can lose its fire.

6. Acceptance

You both are different people, and at some point you will discover each other’s eccentricities and weaknesses. Maybe he snores. Maybe she spends an hour to put on makeup. Maybe sometimes you think he loves his car more than he loves you. You can talk about these things and make amends for things you can change, but it’s also important to accept things your partner can’t change, if you want to make your relationship as harmonious and beautiful as it can be.

7. Forgiveness

Every now and then, people make blunders and mistakes either intentionally or accidentally. Some huge mistakes can cut a deep scar through a relationship. When this happens, both partners have to work out a decision, whether to end everything right there or keep things going stronger. They say real love forgives, and we think it’s true.

8. Compatibility

Do you share the same interests and hobbies? Eventually, differences can widen the gap between partners or bring them closer together, as they try to bridge the gaps and fill in missing links. You don’t have to learn how to cook if your partner is a chef, but you can be the taster or someone who enjoys his recipes. Similarly, he doesn’t have learn ballet, for instance, but it would be great if he can be there on even just some of her performances.

9. Warmth

How sweet is it to feel your partner’s warm embrace in the morning upon waking up? Everyone needs that hug. Love is always a warm emotion, it’s never cold or indifferent.

10. Intimacy

Physical intimacy is perhaps the height of how two people can express their passion for each other and merge into one. The health of a relationship can be determined by how great lovemaking is. When it is getting worse each time, it’s a sign that a couple is on the verge of breakup or that something is going wrong. Maybe there are other problems between them and that can affect bedroom intimacy. But if lovemaking is the sole problem, it’s time to start exploring each other once again.