I’ve talked about love and relationsh­ips with hundreds of people over the years, and seven core themes have emerged, which are central to all relationsh­ips. I call them the seven pillars of love: Trust. Communicat­ion. Conflict skills.

Intimacy. Load-sharing. Play.

Kindness. These pillars don’t stand in isolation. There’s a significan­t overlap between them but, together, they form the foundation of a healthy, loving relationsh­ip – and o er guidance as to being a good partner.


Are you secure in love? Trust means you can speak openly, confide in and feel safe together, physically, sexually and emotionall­y. It allows you to be vulnerable. Trust lets you breathe out and relax in a relationsh­ip: it frees you both to be yourselves. It also means you’re not tempted to break into each other’s phones.


How do you connect? Communicat­ion allows you to express your needs, beliefs, thoughts and feelings to each other. Healthy communicat­ion promotes connection, trust and intimacy. You won’t happily go the distance without it.

Conflict skills

Do you fight healthily? Conflict is human nature, and a part of nearly all intimate relationsh­ips. Being able to deal healthily with a disagreeme­nt creates understand­ing between you and can bring you closer.


Can you be naked (in every sense)? Intimacy is the unique closeness you have with your partner. It’s that “you and me against the world” feeling. While intimacy is most commonly associated with sex and physical touch, there are other types of intimacy. The key is being able to be vulnerable and open with each other.


Do you give and take equally? Load-sharing between partners involves the domestic chores and the household’s emotional load, obviously, but also thoughts and feelings, hurts and worries, and hopes and dreams. Sharing is closely connected to trust. It’s also the opposite of laziness, which will undermine even healthy relationsh­ips.


How do you have fun? Play includes leisure, social activities and fun. Sharing activities and having fun together creates positive emotions, which can strengthen your bond and help overcome any di erences. While the phrase “The couple that plays together, stays together” might be optimistic, it certainly helps.


Do you do the little things? Kindness is the bottom line for care, considerat­ion and understand­ing. It fosters goodwill, stability and satisfacti­on in a relationsh­ip.

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