At this point in life, you’ve probably heard your fair share of clichés, many of which have to do with relationships. Some are true and some, well, some are just useless. But the ones that have some substance to them, according to experts, are the relationship quotes worth paying attention to, no matter the stage of life or relationship you’re in.
“I think some relationship quotes and clichés hold some truth, but are often generalized when they really shouldn’t be,” says Julie Williamson, licensed professional counselor in St. Louis, Missouri. “For example, the relationship quote ‘opposites attract,’ meaning two people with seemingly opposite personalities can be attracted to each other and make a long-term relationship last, doesn’t necessarily mean that two people with seemingly similar personalities are at a higher risk of their relationship not being successful.”
Williamson believes that these clichés have developed out of common patterns that people have observed over the years, but just because they’re common sayings and may be somewhat true for some people, certainly does not mean that these phrases are absolutely true for everyone. Some relationship quotes, however, do deserve a spot in the relationship hall of fame. Here, relationship experts share the relationship quotes that you should apply to your own.
“Actions speak louder than words”
This might be one of the oldest relationship quotes around, but it’s a pretty powerful one and falls in the category of worthy relationship goals. “Showing that you care about your partner daily, not just by saying that you love her or him, but by making her or him feel loved and special by the little things you do, many of which without asking, says so much more than words can ever say,” says Joele Amster, MS, registered marriage and family therapist intern.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
This is a long one, but it’s one of Williamson’s favorites. “It makes me think of the fairy tales I learned growing up—we see the lovers separated by some force or conflict, but reunite in the end and everything seems magical and perfect. In reality, no one is perfect and no love is perfect,” she says. “Even in the happiest, healthiest, most committed relationships, we will hurt each other because we are imperfect human beings.” Though love and relationships will bring happiness, she points out that they most certainly will bring hurt and pain. Acknowledging this is important for the longevity of your relationship.
“It takes half as long as the relationship lasted, to get over it after the breakup.”
In other words, if you were together four years, it’ll take you two years to fully recover. People don’t like to hear this, but Claudia Six, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship coach, says it’s true. “You may lick your wounds for a bit, get back into online dating, go on dates and may even have sex with someone, but deep down you’ll be comparing them to the old love, for better or worse,” she says. “And on special occasions (birthday, special anniversaries, Valentine’s Day) you’ll be sad and pining a little…for half as long as the relationship lasted. Then you’ll be fine.”
“Women grieve and men replace, after a breakup.”
According to Dr. Six, this one is so true. “Women tend to take the time to grieve, try to learn from the experience, spend some time with girlfriends and re-focusing on themselves, before getting into the next relationship, while men tend to bounce into the next relationship pretty quickly,” she says. “It’s not good or bad, it’s just a different way of moving on after a relationship ends.”
“You can slow a man down but you cannot speed him up”
This one is an original by Dr. Six, borne of personal experience. And she claims it is never more true than when it pertains to big decisions, like getting married or having a child. “A man will be ready when he’s ready—until then, he’s not,” she says. “If you don’t want to wait that long, that’s certainly your call, but there’s no point in trying to speed him up.”
“Mettre de l’eau dans son vin”
This popular French saying pertains to marriage, and translates to “put water in your wine.” “While it’s meant to allude that you put water in his wine to dilute it and decrease deleterious effects, it also means to compromise, make concessions and be reasonable, to avoid unpleasant consequences if one doesn’t,” says Dr. Six. “In other words, to tone down any aggressive feelings in order to achieve better results and more harmony.”