When you search for the term loyalty in the dictionary, you get the following definition: “a strong feeling of support or allegiance”. And indeed, loyalty is the foundation of any good relationship, be it friendship, family, or a romantic one. Loyalty is the bedrock of commitment, a promise to be there for one another, no matter what.
When it comes to a love relationship it’s important to know that loyalty isn’t just about fidelity, it goes way beyond that. Loyalty means defending the one you love, sticking by their side when things get tough, protecting them from all the bad in the world. And of course, loyalty means honesty, respect, and agreeing that you don’t have to be fully compatible in everything in order to be faithful to one another.
Loyalty isn’t about expecting recognition, it’s selfless and generous. Then why is it that most people simply associate loyalty with not cheating or getting romantically involved with anyone else while in a relationship?
It’s important to know what loyalty really means in a relationship, so you know when you have it and you know when it’s absent.
Here are 7 things loyalty really means in a relationship.
1. Being open with your significant other
Loyalty is about not hiding from them, concealing parts of you that you think they won’t like. Loyalty is about openness and willingness to be vulnerable and raw, in the trust that your partner will love you no matter what. Healthy relationships are fostered when both partners truly accept one another.
And in order to accept the other person, you need to truly know who they are. There is no place for hiding or pretending. Sharing thoughts, feelings, hopes, frustrations freely is what builds a strong and loyal bond. Letting your guard down with that one special person in a way that you won’t normally do with others. That’s loyalty.
Being truly open with your significant other does take time though. It doesn’t just happen overnight, as it’s built on trust and understanding. And it’s always a two-way street – as you get to know your partner and open up with them, they do the same, sharing their true self with you, flaws and all.
2. Being honest
Sometimes you will find yourself in situations when you need to deliver some hard-hitting truths to your partner. Whether it’s about your relationship or something completely unrelated – loyalty means being honest, even when it might hurt.
Your partner should trust that you want the best for them and that’s why you are being honest. The more you practice that, the better for both of you. You don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where you pretend everything is honky dory when it isn’t, do you?
3. Giving your time to them
In a strong relationship loyalty means you give time to your partner and they give time to you. You both recognise how essential it is to be truly present, to be truly there. It means giving up on other things you want to do sometimes, just to make sure you are there when your partner really needs you.
It means prioritizing them and not blaming them for taking you away from other things and people in your life. Time in a relationship is the ultimate symbol of love, commitment, and loyalty. Time is precious and those we choose to share it with should appreciate it.
4. You’d go to war for them
In any sense of the word! You are there to defend your partner from anything bad that might happen to them, from anyone who mistreats them or offends them. You show your loyalty day in and day out by defending their honor.
Even when it feels like it’s much easier and much more reasonable to stand by and do nothing, you must choose the opposite. You stand beside your partner or even in front of someone, in order to help.
This loyal act of service should come without hesitation, from the heart. It’s a selfless expression of your love and your core values in the relationship.
Sometimes your partner might be wrong and it’s important to tell them, but when it comes to other people – you take your partner’s side, every time! Don’t fail them just to make a point, even if you truly believe they are in the wrong.
This takes true courage – being willing to also appear wrong, but stay by their side and defend them. that’s true loyalty.
And sometimes they won’t want you to defend them, they will just want you to listen. Show that you empathize with them and support them, no matter what, even if they are more than happy for you to stand back.
5. Don’t badmouth them
It’s normal to have disagreements with your significant other. Often times having a good argument is actually really healthy. But it’s the manner in which you deal with arguments that says a lot about you, and can make or break a relationship.
True loyalty lies in being able to disagree with one another, but with respect. It’s about listening, not shouting; thinking before you respond. And it’s about kindness, first and foremost.
You may feel the need to badmouth your partner in front of your friends, to occasionally make a comment about how they made you feel, what they said, what they did. It’s always an ill-advised idea and shows no true loyalty or respect for your significant other.
Next time you feel the need to moan about your partner, no matter how natural or easy it feels, simply don’t. Think about how you’d feel if you know he badmouthed you in front of his mates. You’d be mortified, hurt, and utterly frustrated.
Remember that your partner and you are alleys, not enemies. Even in the nastiest of fights or disagreements, you take his side and contain your desire to talk about him with others. That’s how you grow and build a strong lasting relationship.
6. Be patient during tough times
Your relationship will naturally go through ups and downs. There’s no way you won’t encounter some bumps on the road, especially in a long-lasting relationship. It’s important that you are patient and understanding during tough periods. That’s a true sign of loyalty.
The strongest relationships are usually the ones in which partners overcame huge issues along the way and came out the other side – stronger and better for it.
Recognize that your partner isn’t perfect and teach them that you aren’t perfect too. But together you can overcome anything, through patience and kindness.
7. You are able to say no
You will find yourself in multiple situations when you might want to take the easy way, but true loyalty means being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong. That means saying no to temptations, saying no to another guy flirting with you, knowing what you stand for.
You do this for your partner and for yourself because you are better than falling for a trap. Saying “no” isn’t easy, as often the immediate rewards are way too attractive and tempting. But you are in a loyal relationship because it’s not that easy to sway you towards a quick reward.
When all is said and done, what remains is loyalty. Loyalty makes you feel like you are on top of the world like anything is possible, and you can do anything. It’s truly a powerful way to feel in a relationship.
Loyalty is more than being emotionally and sexually committed to somebody, it’s more than texting often and resisting someone else’s advances towards you, it’s that special ingredient in a strong, healthy relationship that shows that you are willing to be wrong, vulnerable, humble, passionate, honest, compromising.
Loyalty not only builds a strong relationship but also speaks to your character. It shows what you are willing to do for somebody you love, what you are willing to stand for. That’s why loyalty is so critical in a relationship. You can fake many things in life, but you cannot fake loyalty.
Loyalty is the uncompromising desire to see your significant other, and the relationship succeed. It’s fighting for what you love and fighting off the bad situations and people that may try to ruin it.
Here is how you practice strong loyalty in a relationship:
- Keep your word! It’s important to know how to keep a promise and also how to keep your partner’s secrets
- Forgive quickly. Love is not about winning every argument, it’s about preserving the relationship. As such you need to learn how to be okay being the bigger person, giving up on fighting for the sake of it, and simply forgive.
- Work on yourself. Loyalty is as much about the other person as it is about yourself, your values as a human being, and your partner. If you want to be better, only you can do that.