There are few desires as alluring as the want to be loved unconditionally by a partner who really sees and understands you.
For those on a personal or spiritual development path, connecting with a romantic partner with the same values is even more enticing.
But with all of the confusing highs and lows that come with falling (and staying) in love, it can be difficult to tell if the relationship you’re in is a great one or if you are just replaying old wounds.
Below are seven tips for when feelings fade, wounds get triggered, and life gets complicated—seven signs you’re in a conscious, soul-loving relationship:
1. Prioritize your relationship health
The first sign of a great relationship is that you and your partner take time to prioritize the health of your relationship. This can look like you and your partner taking time to practice good communication and talk about the status of your relationship: how you feel things are going, what you like, and areas you are trying to improve together.
This creates a team feeling and allows conflicts to be addressed before they blow up. This can also mean calling in and investing in couple’s therapy when things are beyond the level you can manage on your own.
2. Own your side
The ability to fully own your side of any relationship you’re in is a great sign that your relationship is on the healthy track. This is a place where many people get tripped up because they view owning their side as telling their partner the things that they don’t like about them.
What owning your side really looks like is managing your feelings and expectations, looking inside when you feel judgemental, setting healthy boundaries, and communicating your vulnerable feelings like fear, sadness, and jealousy. Learning to do these things takes time, but if both you and your partner are continually trying, you are on a good track.
3. Avoid Spiritual Bypassing
Spiritual Bypassing, a term coined by John Wellwood, is the use of spiritual ideas or practices to avoid facing painful emotional issues. When you are engaged on a spiritual or self-development path, it is easy to fall into this trap because your ego becomes more sophisticated. It is your ego’s job to protect you from unbearable pain, so it tries to do that in any way possible. If you are in a truly conscious relationship, these concepts will be used as tools to grow, not places to hide behind or as weapons against your partner.
4. Agree on and live from similar values
You and your love partner don’t need to agree on everything, but you do need to have a set of core values that work well together. And more importantly, you need to live from those values as much as possible. A sign of a healthy relationship is the ongoing assessment and reassessment of your values. Values change over time. If you communicate about them regularly, it will keep you and your partner on a supportive path together.
5. Don’t take things too personally
I know you’re not fully enlightened yet, but if you have a general sense that your partner’s feelings and reactions are about them and not about you, you are on your way to a great relationship. This is hard to do when emotions are running hot, but having the ability to do this the majority of the time makes a big difference in the quality of your relationship and your ability to manage conflict in a healthy way.
6. Feel comfortable expressing both your pleasure and displeasure
Being able to communicate with your partner both about things that you like and don’t like that are happening in the relationship is critical. Having an ability to do both brings balance and the ability for growth. If you focus too much on one side, your relationship will suffer, and it could be a sign that you aren’t feeling comfortable to be your full self. Feeling safe to discuss both of these things in calm conversations with your partner is a sign of healthy communication.
7. You have more positive uplifting interactions than negative ones
According to relationship researcher John Gottman, the magic ratio in a happy relationship is five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. If you notice that your negative interaction ratio is ticking up for an extended period of time, it could be a sign that there are unaddressed issues going on in the relationship. If this goes on for too long, it could lead to major problems down the road.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there is such a thing as a healthy, growing relationship. When feelings fade, wounds get triggered, and life gets complicated, use your gut and ask yourself: are the bones of this relationship really solid?
If the answer is yes, and you are practicing most of the concepts above, it sounds like you’re on your way to something truly magical.
If the answer is no, determine the areas you’re struggling with and seek help from a trusted friend or professional.