Ah, first love. It’s depicted as passionate, pure, world-shattering, and ever-so-naïve in movies, television shows, novels, and music. People say your first love changes the way you view yourself, relationships, and the world at large. Your first love is unforgettable; some people never get over it.

I fell in love for the first time when I was 17. My relationship with this man is my first real relationship, and we are still together today. Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned from him.

Know his/her love language

If your significant other’s love language is quality time, he feels most loved when you spend time with him. It’s imperative that you realize your partner may prefer to be loved differently than you. You might prefer physical affection, but he might prefer words of affirmation. Speak your SO’s love language to make him feel treasured and understood. Make sure he can speak yours, too. If you don’t know what your love language is, take the quiz and find out.

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You can’t expect your SO to know how you’re feeling unless you tell him. If your SO does something to upset you, voice your concerns. He may not know he upset you. If you don’t communicate, he might make the same mistake in the future, and you’ll resent him for it. If your SO does something that makes you feel good, tell him! He’ll beam knowing he made you happy. He’ll likely repeat his actions later knowing that they made you feel great once before.  

Compromise is key

Relationships require give and take. If you truly love and value your SO, you’ll be willing to occasionally sacrifice some of your desires to make them happy. Your SO should do the same for you. If you disagree on something, meet in the middle. Compromises are just as necessary in our personal relationships as they are in the Oval Office!

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Lovers give

To expand on my previous point, you’ll want to give, give, and give when you fall in love. You’ll find joy in making your SO happy. You’ll cherish each opportunity to give love to your SO. “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Be vulnerable

Vulnerability is the key ingredient in a real relationship. At first you may be afraid to reveal your weaknesses, desires, fears, and hopes to your SO, and that’s okay. Opening up takes time. But if you want a relationship that has meaning and emotional depth, you will need to show your SO the parts of your soul you keep private. Vulnerability brings people together.

Love is always a risk worth taking.

Jenn B