03/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Margaret Ruth's Four Things Necessary for a Whole Love Relationship

Margaret Ruth, I am heart broken over my break up. What went wrong, we were so in love?

Margaret Ruth, I have made so many mistakes in love. What do I need to be certain of a long term, happy marriage?

Intimate love relationships can obviously be the most rewarding and the most painful to many people. After thousands of clients and radio callers describing their pain and uncertainty about finding love with someone, but not having it end in a happy, long term marriage like commitment, I've noticed that there four things -- no more and no less -- that dictate whether a relationship will go the distance and still remain personally fulfilling and healthy.

No matter the ages, genders or cultures involved, there are four things that need to be in place to be assured of a long term, healthy, evolving, committed love relationship. If you are missing any of these, you will get something other than a long term, healthy, joyful relationship. You might get a short term happy relationship or a long term sub-happy relationship (this is the kind most seen in our culture), but you will not get it all unless the relationship has all of these.

Margaret Ruth's Four Things

1. Love
This seems to help.

2. Connection
This is that something extra, a sense of inevitability, or pulls that binds two people together. Some call it chemistry, or soul connection. It is a certain indefinable, irresistible pull; you might have experienced this yourself at some point. This is the one point of the four of which I am least certain, however this seems to be that important glue that takes a love between two people from a sibling, family type of love into a life mate type of love.

3. Shared Vision
One unique, great vision plus another unique, great vision equals a third, larger vision that everyone likes. At best, the math here is: 1 plus 1 = 3 as two people come together and create more than was possible alone. Good examples of this are children, a new family, or a new home.

The individual visions do not have to be the same, but they cannot cancel each other out. For instance, if one person needs to live on a sailboat, the other on a ranch, you might have a relationship that is healthy and happy for a short term only.

4. It Takes Two Healthy, Joyful, Whole people to Make One Healthy, Joyful, Whole Relationship. There are No Exceptions to this. Ever.
This is the one that forces most love relationships to be less than excellent. The key point here is to require both people to be emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually healthy. I consider people healthy if they are self aware, know what is true for them and express this as clearly as possible. They are fairly free of insecurities and self destructive tendencies. Healthy people take care of themselves. They have good boundaries as they are comfortable with their individual identities. There is quite a bit to say about what makes a healthy, joyful and whole person, but I think you might get the idea.

The next crucial point is that the over all health and happiness of a relationship is dictated by the least healthy person in it. In order to have and maintain something really fulfilling and expanding, each individual in the relationship must be committed to holding up their 50% by conducting it in as happy, healthy manner as they can figure. In order to do this, they must be healthy and happy themselves. There are friendships where one person might not be very healthy but can hold up his or her 50% in a healthy manner -- however, I have never seen that work in the extreme closeness of an intimate love over the long run. Have you?

Consider These Points about Your Relationships

If you are still hurting from a confusing break up, realize that the relationship was missing one or more of the four things. Knowing that you needed all four things for the relationship to be excellent over the long term, perhaps you will better understand now, in hindsight, what was missing that kept it from being every thing you desire.

Notice that if you DO have all four things in your relationship, you are quite safe. Why? Answer this question: What are the odds that two healthy, happy, whole people, who love each other, who hold a special connection and a shared vision, will have a horrible break up? The answer to this for you cheaters who are looking ahead: Extremely low, approaching zilch. That is true relationship security.