Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss, said it best: “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

That quote alone is enough to make you swoon with memories and fantasies of finding your soulmate. But what does it take to create such a home in another person? It’s different for every person.

As CJ reflects on the relationship with his fiancé, there are three things we’d all agree need to exist in order to feel that special connection that endures, no matter how different you two are: acceptance, freedom, and trust.

The majority of what I am today is because of my ability to not let my experience in my upbringing influence me. Everything of who I am today is about what I have learned myself. When I make decisions, I don’t ask myself what my parents taught me. What did I learn from them? None of that. It always has to do with me and what I have learned.

The number one thing I have taken from them is to not be a control freak. The reason I have a successful relationship is because I learned how horrible it is to be on the other end of a control freak. So, I do the opposite. And it works because my partner notices it and acknowledges it.

He appreciates it and he lets me know. I don’t think we ever really sat down and had a conversation about it. He didn’t need to say, “I need my freedom for this or that.” We just talk a lot about honesty. That’s a make or break for him. I always have to be honest with him about and not hide it from him. And vice versa.

Communication is really important for us because we are two very different people. I work in design, so I like museums, clubbing, etc. We’ve never done any of that together. He does marketing and is a coder. He likes great hip-hop, I like pop. We’re two different people but for some reason we love one another.

I never thought in a million years I could find someone so different from me but be so attracted to him. The one thing we have in common, though, is we embrace each other’s differences. We do have some common interests, but the key is that we’re very accepting and don’t try to change each other just because we’re different.

If I’ve learned anything in our relationship together is that love is acceptance. It is allowing each other to pursue our own interests…giving one another space to work, socialize, and do our own thing.

Another reason we have such a good relationship is because I give him a lot of freedom. I don’t control his schedule. He can go and hang out with anybody he wants. He can come home if he wants to, he doesn’t have to. He can go wherever he wants whenever he wants as long as he wants. He can even hang out with his ex as much as he wants. The experience I had with my mother was so traumatizing to me I don’t want to put that on anyone else. It took time to build such a trust between one another but it always felt very natural.

My past relationships failed because I didn’t really have anyone to teach me the way my fiance does. He taught me how to love and be honest. He taught me how to give each other space to pursue our own interests. Prior to meeting me, he was in a relationship for 10 years. So he had a lot to teach me because my longest relationship was 6 months.

If I’ve learned anything in our relationship together is that love is acceptance. It is allowing each other to pursue our own interests. It is about giving one another space to work, socialize, and do their own things. It is about taking care of one another.

You don’t have to do anything big. It is in the small things: charging his phone if he forgot. Reminding him of his important meeting. Taking care of his dogs. Folding laundry for one another. The small things are how we show our love. Because of that, whenever I think about him I always smile.