I hate to be the one to say it but The Beatles were wrong when they sang All You Need is Love. Love isn't enough. At least not according to those of us living in healthy relationships.
I've spent the past year looking for love and wondering why everyone keeps saying it isn't enough. In the process, I've spent hours in conversation with men and women from across the world, recording their stories for my book Love: a collaborative memoir.
Two of the most commonly used words to describe successful relationships were not four letter words starting with "L" ... they were "compromise" and "sacrifice." Yet, according to Relationships Australia, over 90 percent of us still say we marry for love.
This very notion renders the institution of marriage even more fragile than ever before. And sadly, the divorce rate also shows that about 50 percent of us are kidding ourselves when we marry for love (and for ever after).
What does this say for the future of marriage? I don't know. I'm divorced so I'm probably not the most qualified person to talk about it. But despite our changing society and increasing divorce rates, there are still couples who hold on. How do they do it?
Here's some of the advice I received about what makes a happy relationship:
''...don't assume that your partner is coping the same way you are.'' --Jo
Talk about things that are important to you, practice being open and honest with your partner from the very beginning, and remember that human beings aren't mind readers. If you don't communicate with your partner, they're not going to guess what's going through your mind.
'' ...the first thing you've got to do is learn to love yourself.'' --Troy
You, on your own, are a complete person. You are capable of love and being loved but learn to love yourself first. Relationships aren't about two halves making a whole; they're about two wholes forming a partnership and to do that you have to be a whole to begin with.
''Being in love is about wanting to be with someone forever. While I don't think I am naive enough to believe that we all stay with that one person forever, I think the minute you stop wanting to be with someone forever is when you know you are no longer truly in love with them.'' --Tiarni
Live in the short term but think in the long term. We all know that happily ever after doesn't really exist but you've got to hope that it can.
'' ...our relationship needed to go through everything that it has to make it what it is today. Love means you have to be sacrificial.'' --Carrie
People don't like to think of sacrifice when they think of relationships but unfortunately you make many sacrifices for the sake of love (and your loved ones). Just remember, when you make those sacrifices you don't have to make your partner feel guilty. And both of you should make sacrifices. Be sure you're making the right decision and communicate the whole way through the decision-making process.
''We sat quietly on our veranda; cried together in raw emotional pain at three o'clock in the morning on the kitchen floor; and picked weeds from the front lawn. Through these simple tasks, through the authentic release of pain and emotion, our love grew.'' --Angie
Sometimes love's going to hurt. But when you get through the not-so-good stuff you're both stronger, happier and healthier for it.
''That feeling you had at the beginning fades and that's okay, because you develop other feelings that can be even better, more meaningful.'' --Mel
She's right a thousand times over. Your relationship is going to change. Enjoy the change --even embrace the change--but don't run from it or think there's something broken.
My piece of advice? I learned to not be too proud to ask for help. There are people who genuinely care and want to help you (either individually or as a couple). Ask for help, learn from others and make informed decisions about your relationship.
Do you have any advice about love? Please share in the comments section below. Want to learn more about Love: a collaborative memoir? Visit candacewrites.com