Do you know the one thing that is crucial for making a relationship work? It’s a little thing called EFFORT. (Wow, seriously? 🤣)
For a relationship to reach its full potential, both partners must learn and be willing to compromise, understand one another, respect each other, and the list goes on and on.
Truth be told, every romantic relationship goes through multiple ups and downs and relationship problems. Every couple goes through the 9 stages of a relationship and 5 stepping stones in a relationship.
Going through all these things is what makes you and your relationship stronger and more mature. That is how you create space for the most powerful love of all: unconditional love.
Below you’ll find all you need to know about the 5 stepping stones in a relationship and their importance.
5 Stepping Stones In A Relationship
I recently read somewhere that caterpillars have to dissolve into a disgusting pile of goo to become butterflies. The same thing applies to relationships. Partners need to get through the following stepping stones in order to enjoy a strong, unconditional, and loving relationship.
1. Emotional connection
One of the most important stepping stones in a relationship is, undoubtedly, an emotional connection. I also call it “the first stage.”
Why is building an emotional connection so important?
Because it means connecting on so many levels, sharing your fears, building trust. It basically means being open with each other on a regular basis, not only when it’s convenient for you.
Every intimate relationship relies on an emotional connection because that’s what makes it real and strong. Learning each other’s preferences, triggers, acknowledging your flaws, and simply being who you are is enough to emotionally connect with your partner.
However, this doesn’t mean that no work is required here. You need to be willing and ready to be there for one another both “during tough times and when the sun shines.” This reminds me of one of Oprah’s famous quotes:
“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
2. Questioning and doubting
At some point, chances are you’ll start questioning your relationship, your partner’s feelings/intentions, and your own. You’ll start thinking about whether they were the right person for you in the first place.
(This can indeed happen during the early stages of dating or stages of relationships if you suffer from overthinking tendencies like myself.)
Here is the good news!
Being self-conscious and questioning things is not necessarily bad. It means you care a lot and want to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
No matter how absurd it sounds, worrying that you’re not good enough for your partner means that you are. Why? Because you care and make an effort.
Here is the potentially bad news!
Too much questioning and doubting can make you perceive everything as red flags. That is when your relationship becomes toxic.
Pro tip: Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. Work on your relationship and be realistic. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.
3. Trials and tribulations
“The major indicator that a relationship may not last is when there is only passionate love.” – Beverly B.
Many people think that unconditional love happens overnight. You fall in love with each other, spend a lot of time together, and when you’re not, you can’t stop thinking about one another. That’s not how unconditional love happens.
Relationship problems teach you how to love unconditionally.
These trials and tribulations teach you the importance of loyalty, understanding, and patience. They teach that you’ll need to face lots of ups and downs before you’re ready to enjoy wholehearted love.
Some partners fail at getting through this, which often results in a breakup. If you successfully get through it, then you’re ready for the next chapter of your relationship, which is becoming a team.
4. Becoming a team
Maintaining a good relationship requires hard work. (Tell me something I didn’t already know, right? 😂)
When partners are still at the initial stages of a relationship, they behave like two separate units. Yes, they care for one another, but their relationship still lacks depth.
After going through trials and tribulations, couples learn to “paddle together in a thunderstorm.” Imagine a relationship is like a boat going through thunderstorms and dangerous waves. To stay alive, both partners need to paddle in sync.
After that comes the glorious moment of celebrating what you’ve just survived together. You’re grateful for one another and appreciate your efforts. You’re stronger than before and ready for the next challenge. You’ve become a team.
In a relationship, becoming a team includes many things, and here are the most important:
• Being there for one another no matter what.
• Dealing with your problems instead of sweeping them under the rug.
• Being willing to constantly work on your relationship.
When you become a team, you’re able to build a healthy relationship. Healthy relationship characteristics such as setting healthy boundaries in a relationship and learning to reciprocate in a healthy way are the fundamentals.
5. Unconditional love and desire
Congratulations, you’ve made it! Welcome to the final stage/stepping stone in a relationship: unconditional love and desire.
Some people call it wholehearted love, unconditional love, or true love. No matter what you call it, one thing is sure: This kind of love is the most powerful of all.
Note that this type of love is not perfect, but it consists of accepting and forgiving. It consists of taking care of your significant other while also taking care of yourself.
Unconditional love is based on healthy expectations instead of unrealistic ones.
So, even if you argue about something, you still care deeply about one another. Your love comes before everything.
My friend knows this all too well. She told me that whenever she’s about to argue with her boyfriend about something, she always tells him beforehand: “Honey, I want to remind you that I truly love you and admire you.”
After that, she continues with what she wanted to share with him in the first place.
I think this is a beautiful way of confessing your undying love to your loved one. It shows compassion, understanding, respect, and care – everything that true love is.
What Are The 5 Most Important Things In A Relationship?
The most important things in a relationship are, without a doubt, open and honest communication, trusting each other, working through relationship problems, respect, and loyalty. Below you’ll find these explained in detail:
• Open and honest communication.
If you can’t openly and honestly talk to your partner, it means you can’t establish an emotional connection, which is the most important of the 5 stepping stones in a relationship.
Healthy communication doesn’t only include being able to express yourself to your partner, but it also includes active listening.
The term ‘active listening’ includes maintaining eye contact, nodding, and leaning forward during conversation. It also includes verbal affirmations, such as “I understand,” “I see,” etc.
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey
If you can’t trust your partner, it means you can’t rely on them in any sense of its meaning. Therefore, trust is an essential part of every relationship. Trusting one another means being there for each other during tough times and good times.
• Working through relationship problems and disagreements.
No relationship out there lacks problems or arguments. Such a thing doesn’t exist. So, every relationship has its own continual ups and downs.
The main difference between a successful relationship and one that is bound to fail lies in the couple’s ability to work through relationship problems and disagreements.
Ignoring relationship issues means not being willing to fight for your union, compromise with your partner, and find solutions for your problems.
Love and respect are two terms that are interchangeable. Basically, you can’t love someone if you don’t respect them. Respect means appreciating both their flaws and their unique personality traits.
It means appreciating their opinion and being interested in what they have to say. To respect someone in a romantic relationship means to love them with all your heart and, at the same time, give them enough space for themselves.
In today’s world, loyalty has become one of the most luxurious gifts you can get from someone. Loyal people don’t steal, lie, hurt, or make you feel bad in any way.
Loyalty, trust, and respect are what you can’t expect from a selfish partner or other selfish people. Being loyal means having each other’s backs and knowing you can confide in them no matter the topic or circumstances.
The 5 stepping stones in a relationship are something every couple goes through before their relationship becomes stronger than ever.
From forming a deep emotional connection to becoming a team, the journey of unconditional love has never been easy. However, it’s TOTALLY worth it.
“True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.” – Ricardo Montalban