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18 Foundations of a Relationship that Separate the Good & the Bad

Have you ever wondered what the foundations of a relationship are and what makes it last? You might not know this, but it isn’t just love that’s needed.

foundations of a relationship

Establishing the foundations of a relationship is especially important in romantic relationships. And partners who prioritize the building blocks of their relationship are the ones most likely to last.

We’re all led to believe that as long as you love your partner, that’s more than enough to make a relationship work. But if you’ve ever been even in just one relationship, you know that love alone won’t make a relationship work.

There are several foundations of a relationship you need to make it last. Relationships are hard work, and it’s not just something you magically have because of luck and destiny.

Even if you meet your soulmate or the love of your life, it takes aspects like communication and dedication to last a lifetime.

Forever love doesn’t exist if you expect to just live happily ever after without putting in the work and effort. This is why it’s vital to know the core foundations of what makes a relationship work and the secrets to making it last.

[Read: The 12 qualities of a healthy relationship that keep couples happy]

How do you make a relationship last?

A relationship will only last if you put in the work to make it so.

A relationship should feel easy, but it also requires hard work in the sense that you should never be complacent about your relationship.

If one side becomes complacent or lazy to put in the effort, that’s when a relationship begins to crumble and fall apart, even if the other partner tries hard to keep the love alive. And that’s why it’s so important for both partners to nurture the relationship to succeed in love.

This is also why it’s essential to know the foundations of a relationship – so you both have an awareness of what you need to work on individually and as a couple. For instance, if there’s a lack of trust, you know what area to improve on to strengthen your bond further.

This is also why effective communication is vital for any relationship and why the lack of it is one of the most common reasons that relationships break and fall apart. [Read: How to make a relationship last – 19 love commandments]

But what are the foundations of a relationship exactly?

Getting into a relationship is easy and can even happen without us being fully aware or even committing to it wholeheartedly.

But suppose we want something meaningful, permanent, and withstand any form of difficulty? In that case, both partners should be aware of the importance and actively contribute to strengthening the foundations of the relationship.

Here are the most important foundations you need to focus on, especially if you want a happy relationship that can stand the test of time.

1. Trust and honesty

Trust and honesty go hand in hand in a harmonious relationship. Without both, partners will spend lots of time second-guessing and questioning their partner’s every move and intention. This will eventually lead to conflict and insecurity.

Without trust, your bond will fall into flames, and you can’t have trust without being honest with one another. So both trust and honesty are connected with one another. There’s a reason why this falls as the first foundation on this list of foundations of a relationship, after all.

If a relationship is founded on trust and honesty, both partners will feel secure and comfortable in each other’s company. [Read: Can a relationship without trust last?]

2. Open communication

Communication is an essential requirement of any form of partnership. It is much more important for a romantic relationship comprised of two individuals with differing preferences, personalities, and opinions.

A healthy relationship thrives on the ability of both partners to listen to their partner and clearly express what they are thinking or feeling. You need to have effective communication with your partner to make things work. This also means you should validate one another’s feelings without judgment or criticism.

Open communication is not just about the ability to express and listen but also about both partners’ capacity to understand without being critical and sensitive to what’s being communicated. [Read: 14 little changes that really improve communication in a relationship]

3. Respect

Respect is often overlooked, but it’s so essential in any relationship. It’s one of the core foundations of a relationship that will cause what you have to crumble if you lack this. Before being friends and partners, both of you are two human beings that deserve the most basic form of respect.

Yet, it is sometimes easily forgotten when people get too comfortable in a romantic relationship. Focusing on this foundation means respecting boundaries, opinions, thoughts, and feelings, among other things. You also need to treat one another as equals rather than being competitive over who’s superior in the relationship.

Ground your relationship in respect and be mindful of their partner’s needs, personality, and opinions. [Read: Emotional maturity – 13 clues to know if someone has it]

4. Knowing how to compromise

Compromise is one of the critical foundations of a relationship. Without compromise, a relationship will just be a big game of chicken between two stubborn people.

Conflict will erode the relationship. There will be no progress if both partners don’t know how to concede and compromise whenever they have differing opinions or decisions. Both parties need to learn how to meet one another halfway, or at least come to an agreement you’re both okay with.

Learning compromise requires both partners to agree on a balanced outcome and to know if their stubbornness in sticking to what they want is a reasonable price for the success of their relationship.

So if one is selfish or wants to get their own way, it will be a significant problem over the course of the relationship. [Read: How to compromise in a relationship without feeling like you lost something]

5. Teamwork

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Relationships can only work if both partners exert equal effort in making the relationship work. Without teamwork, one partner will be left to carry the burden of the relationship on their own. A relationship needs effort from all sides, and this is one of the foundations of a relationship you should never forget.

When you’re partners, there’s equality in the relationship. There’s no room for a power struggle, double standards, or ego. Teamwork combines both their strengths and uses their individual differences to complement their partner’s weaknesses, giving way for a relationship that will endure any challenge. [Read: What is a normal relationship supposed to be like? The real truth]

6. Commitment

Commitment is the desire to stick around despite knowing that one’s partner is imperfect and there will be challenges that will put the relationship to the test. It is the ultimate form of devotion that even transcends the human concept of loyalty.

If you both know how to commit to one another, no matter what storms you’re faced with, your relationship will survive even the most challenging times. Commitment is knowing that the reason to stay is more important than the reason why you got together.

If you think about it, you partner will feel more secure if they know that you will stay by their side despite knowing there will be difficulties. But if you’re flaky and have a tendency to leave when things get tough, well, your relationship won’t last. [Read: What Is commitment in a relationship & how to know if you have it?]

7. Empathy and understanding

Empathy, or the ability to feel what other people are feeling, is another foundation of a relationship. This is closely related to understanding, which is the ability to extend patience and suspend one’s own feelings to give way to another person’s needs. A relationship with both will foster a safe space for both partners.

If there’s empathy, you can quickly put yourself in your partner’s shoes, and the same goes for them.

Empathy is also needed to validate one another’s emotions and to understand one another better. They count on the other partner to put aside their selfish impulses in times of need. In such an environment, both partners will be likely to stick together. [Read: How to be more empathetic and 16 steps to make anyone feel understood]

8. Shared values

If respect is the linchpin of a relationship, shared values serve as the anchor. As one of the foundations of a relationship, values are deeply rooted in a person’s life. If two people share a similarity in this aspect, all their actions and decisions will be guided in a single direction.

In short, a relationship where both partners share values will be harmonious and less likely to have conflict. Contrary to the popular notion that opposites attract, you will both crash and burn eventually when you have contradictory values. This isn’t a fairytale, but this is real life we’re talking about.

Without shared values on the important things, your relationship is less likely to work and last. [Read: What to look for in a relationship – 23 traits of a happy romance]

9. Knowing each other’s boundaries

Knowing your partner’s boundaries is an aspect of respect. It requires both partners to be aware that the other person is an individual with their own preferences, personality, philosophy, needs, and limitations. Being sensitive to these is a sign of respect. And it fosters an intimate bond that will go beyond the confines of a romantic relationship.

When you know each other’s boundaries and respect them no matter, there’s a high probability of your relationship lasting. Boundaries are crucial even in romantic relationships as it shows you how to love one another.

So if you know and follow each other’s boundaries, this is one of the essential foundations of a relationship you shouldn’t ignore. [Read: 15 rules to set healthy boundaries in a relationship]

10. Appreciation

Can you imagine a relationship where both partners don’t show any form of appreciation? Appreciation is the gesture that reinforces us to keep on loving, supporting, and staying by our partner. Without it, a partner will wonder why they should stay in the relationship in the first place because they won’t feel loved.

It’s easy to feel taken for granted on both sides if there’s a lack of appreciation. The fact that this is one of the most overlooked foundations of a relationship speaks volumes about just how important it is.

When you both show your appreciation for one another, your love will never die down. Appreciation reaffirms and solidifies the relationship. [Read: 16 ways to show your appreciation for someone you love]

11. Intimacy

Intimacy is the amalgamation of both body and soul. It is a point where both of your boundaries as individuals dissolve. You reach a point of understanding that no other person has. Intimacy can be expressed physically and emotionally and are both fundamental in the existence of a relationship.

When we’re talking about intimacy, this doesn’t just refer to purely physical intimacy, but emotional and mental as well. All three kinds of intimacy are essential to maintain with your partner. If even one of them dies down, your relationship can be negatively impacted. So always connect with your partner, even in simple ways. [Read: 13 weird, unique ways to build intimacy with your partner]

12. Continuous effort

As the older folks say, a relationship will always be a work in progress. A continuous effort by both partners is required for it to be successful. No relationship is easy. And there will be moments where we must give up our pride and compromise.

The moment when both partners stop making the effort to nurture their relationship is when the relationship loses its significance.

Just like anything in life, effort is a relationship foundation that will always pay off. So when you care for your relationship and your partner does the same, your relationship will naturally thrive and flourish. [Read: The hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

13. Sacrifice

Giving up something for the sake of your significant other is the grandest gesture of love that one can possibly show. And that is the very nature of sacrifice. We make big and small sacrifices for our partners during the course of the relationship all the time, whether we realize it or not.

Our willingness to make those sacrifices will make the difference in whether the relationship will last or not. This is one of the foundations of a relationship people don’t like accepting, but it’s part of it. Love is sacrifice, and there’s no going around it.

If one of you cannot make even the simplest sacrifices for your partner, it’s not going to work. As mentioned, no relationship is ever easy, and concessions must be made. The ability to make sacrifices is fundamental to the existence of the relationship. [Read: These committed relationship rules will make your romance last a lifetime]

14. Support

Support is one of the most underrated aspects when it comes to the foundations of a relationship but is just as important as communication or even sacrifice. Without support, you both won’t feel loved by one another.

You don’t have to agree with every decision and idea your partner makes, but supporting the significant aspects like each other’s accomplishments and careers is a vital part. That support is also connected to teamwork. You won’t be lovers like the word implies if you don’t support your partner but dismiss their dreams and goals in life. [Read: How to have a good relationship that gets better with each day]

15. Friendship

If you want to know the core foundations of a relationship, friendship is a vital part of that. When your partner is also your best friend, it makes for a pretty fun and strong foundation. This is because both of you can communicate without any walls, and you can be your authentic selves without projecting a fake version of yourselves.

It’s basically like being in a relationship with your best friend, except there’s more intimacy and chemistry. If you both see each other as best friends, your relationship will continue to bloom for a long time to come. [Read: What makes a good friend: 15 traits we desperately seek in a friend]

16. Patience

When you’re patient with one another, no conflict or argument will end your relationship. This doesn’t mean you let them take you for granted, but you’re patient to let them grow on their own terms and patient to let them express their emotions in their own way.

You both don’t dictate or control one another into the version you want them to be. You’re patient in the things that matter, which is why there’s a lot of forgiveness and especially love in your relationship. After all, love is patient and kind, and truer words have never been spoken. [Read: How to be patient in a new relationship & avoid risking a new love]

17. Forgiveness

Speaking of forgiveness, it’s another one of the essential foundations of a relationship. You will have to forgive each other repeatedly, several times throughout your relationship. So if you want to know the secret to all long-lasting relationships and especially marriages, it’s forgiveness.

It’s having the capacity to forgive one another in times of disappointment, frustrations, and resentment. It’s seeing the bigger picture of why they did what they did, giving them another chance to learn their lesson, and encouraging them to grow.

Most importantly, it’s never using that mistake against them anytime in the future. That’s real love. [Read: How to forgive someone – 15 positive ways to unburden your mind]

18. Chemistry and compatibility

It’s not often talked about, but compatibility and chemistry are significant for a relationship to work. Without both of these, there are bound to be problems in your relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to keep the spark alive forever, but it’s important to reignite the spark and never let it die entirely.

With compatibility, this is specifically why friendship is one of the foundations in this list. If there’s friendship and teamwork, you’ll naturally be compatible together. But without it, there will always be a lack of compatibility, and you might clash with one another.

[Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility instantly!]

So, what are the foundations of a relationship?

These 18 traits and characters of love are the core foundations of a relationship needed to make things last. It takes hard work and effort if you really want to last a lifetime with your partner.

Life isn’t a fairytale and in the real world, love just isn’t enough alone to end in happily ever after. You both need to work towards it.

A couple that considers the essential foundations of a relationship and builds toward their future together will move towards a lasting relationship. Keep these foundations in mind, and your relationship will naturally thrive. 

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...