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An undervalued key to a strong, lasting relationship

Credit: Katerina Athanasaki on Flickr

(Photo credit: Katerina Athanasaki)

In articles that explore the ‘secret’ to a lasting relationship, I’ve come across kindness, tolerance, acceptancecompanionship, respect, and many other wonderful traits couples who’ve been together for a long time have.

But there’s something I haven’t come across yet, and personally, it’s something that has worked for me for the past 15 years. I also see this in Michelle and Barack Obama’s relationship.

It’s the most unromantic-sounding trait, but from a purely rational perspective, it’s almost a no-brainer to understand why this is a powerful glue that can hold a couple together and keep them happy together.

What is it, you ask?

It’s intellectual connection, which implies putting value on one’s own intellect, fostering a love for learning and looking for the exact same quality in a partner.

Boring? Quite the contrary. In fact, we are never bored of each other because we never run out of things to talk about, questions to ask each other, new ideas to share.

While feelings are strong, amazing, and makes us feel like nothing could go wrong, feelings are fleeting.

Many of us put emphasis on having partners that make us laugh. I don’t know about you, but I believe that in order to be genuinely funny, you have to be intelligent. Think Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah or James Corden. Intelligent people have a deep well of knowledge from which to pull out references for jokes or quick retorts.

When a couple has a strong intellectual connection, they are able to push each other forward, consciously or otherwise, to become better by virtue of sharing new ideas and having interesting and meaningful interactions.

I bring back Michelle and Barack Obama. A highly intellectual couple who are clearly very much in love with each other. Neither one can be with someone less intellectual. I can imagine them discussing topics big and small. Both of them are wide readers.

Remember Michelle’s advice to young girls?

“There is no boy, at this age, cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting an education. If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the President of the United States.”

When the initial high from flirting, the first kiss, and other firsts in a new relationship subsides, you’ll be left with the reality of what being with that person means.

While every couple is different and there are many, many positive traits that can hold two people together, don’t underestimate the power of the intellect.

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