Have you ever noticed that there are probably thousands of song lyrics, movie lines, and real-life stories about the supremacy of love in relationships? We are lead to believe that love conquers all. Yes, love is wonderful. Yes, love is magical. Yes, love is an essential ingredient to a relationship. But love is not enough. Most relationships don’t end because one or both parties experience a sharp decline in love. In fact, most people who part ways still love each other in some way, shape, or form. This alone confirms that love is not enough to sustain a healthy, fulfilling, intimate connection.

“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

We place way too much value on love in comparison to the other ingredients that make for a solid partnership. From both my coaching experience and my personal experience, there are so many other elements (see below) that are often undervalued in the pursuit of being boo-ed up. Most of these fall under compatibility, companionship, chemistry, and commitment. This is not an exhaustive list and, of course, there are varying degrees of each ingredient, depending on priorities and preferences (for example, one person may value trust more than they do mutual interests while another person may find partnership more important than frequency of sex). The key to alignment is that the needs & expectations of each partner complement one another.

For now, let’s talk about compatibility. Take a look at these ingredients and see which ones you require for your love casserole.


Awareness of & Willingness to Manage each Other’s Emotional/Mental Health – I cannot emphasize enough the importance of mental health in relationships. It is one of the essential pillars of a healthy connection. Nowadays, we hear a lot more about narcissism, trauma, codependency, addictions, depression, and anxiety than we ever have before. It’s important to be transparent and proactive about the unique nuances of any mental health challenges involved in a partnership. Significant others need to have a clear strategy for how they will support/encourage a partner in managing his/her/their mental health. Partners also need to be aware of any triggers and manifestations of the condition (ex: some people with PTSD may need a remote getaway instead of 4th of July fireworks).

Similar Levels of Self-Awareness – My therapist once told me that if you’re meeting someone new, one of your first questions should be “what’s wrong with you?” In other words, what areas of opportunity are you aware of and currently working on (no judgment – nobody’s perfect). If the person says “nothing” or “I can’t think of anything”, it could mean that they lack self-awareness. If one person has strong self-awareness and the other person does not, it could present an imbalance.

Similar Values – This is a good one but is often overlooked. Ideally, you want someone who has similar values as you. Values can be anything from how you manage extended family dynamics (How close do you want to live to your inlaws? Whose family do you visit on Thanksgiving or Christmas?) to how/where you worship (Do you share similar religion/spirituality?) to how you raise your children (or if you even want children). If both people have values that don’t contradict the other’s, it eliminates a lot of frustration. If values are not aligned, there may likely be tension at some point.

Similar Communication & Conflict Resolution Styles – This is another thing that people often don’t recognize until they have a disagreement. How you communicate and how you disagree can make or break a union. It’s important to be aware of how you disagree or argue. Does one partner resort to sarcasm while the other person shuts down & abandons the conversation? Does one person yell while the other partner throws things? Does one person gaslight while the other person hits below the belt? Does one person thrive on conflict while the other gives the silent treatment? Being able to effectively navigate disagreements can go a long way in keeping the peace while still getting your point across. In the grand scheme of things, both parties should strive for resolution more than being right.

Complimentary Money Mindsets – How you view money is HUGE in a relationship, especially when sharing a home. In fact, differing financial philosophies are one of the top reasons that people part ways. Both people don’t have to be financial wizards but it’s important that you agree and stick to a plan for how you’ll spend, save or invest money. Some people say that you never really know your partner until you live together or travel together but sharing finances is another way to really get to know your partner’s priorities and habits. Being honest and on the same page about debt, credit histories, savings, giving/tithing, investments, income, spending patterns and financial goals is a good way to mitigate money challenges. It’s also critical to decide whether you will share a bank account or have separate ones. Talk about purchases (hiding Amazon packages in the garage is not a good idea), create budgets/spending plans and goals together so that you have a shared vision of what you’re working towards.

Understanding & Acceptance of Attachment Styles – If you haven’t read the book “Attached”, check it out. In fact, try to read it with your partner. It’s based on the theory that people connect, bond, and relate to others in one of three styles: anxious, avoidant, or secure, depending on upbringing and other social influences. Similar to the Love Languages, “Attached” shares that understanding of what type of intimate partner you and your mate are. Knowing your style may be helpful in gaining a deeper understanding and empathy. Take the quiz on www.attachedthebook.com. Here is a tiny snippet of the 3 styles:

  • Anxious – extremely preoccupied with the relationship
  • Avoidant – values their own independence over partner intimacy
  • Secure – very comfortable w. partner intimacy

I’d love to hear from you about what you think are key ingredients for a successful relationship. If you could create the recipe for your most fulfilling intimate relationships, what ingredients would you add?