What makes a long-term relationship work and why are so many of them fragile?
A good place to start is to look at people who have made their relationships work over a long period of time. We can’t know on that very day we tie the know that we are going to stay happy and weather the storms ahead, which is why so many couples today are terrified of commitment.
I have been happily married for almost 29 years and in reality, when I was a young innocent 20-year-old, I could never really have predicted what I have now. What is very interesting is that some of the qualities I am about to share with you below, Ian and I both saw in each other back then.
Have you ever been around people who have been happily married for most of their lives and noticed how they have a real look of admiration for each other?
They ‘share’ their smiles and they can almost finish each other’s sentences? They have been through the greatest of challenges whilst also sharing life’s happiest moments. Almost all of us who choose to get married or decide to be with a partner for the long term will want to reach old age and be glad we made the right choice. We must ask ourselves, what is it these couples have? What is it they do, what is it they feel – what makes a long-term relationship happy?
Firstly, these couples have made a good decision in ‘choosing’ their partner, and have developed the skill of mastering a healthy long-term relationship. Couples who are who are honest and reliable, whilst being able to face huge challenges and say, ‘let’s work this out,’ are some key ingredients. Being flexible without trying to predict the future really helps and having the same core values about children, religion, money, sex, and not seeing divorce as an option are fundamental. Happy marriages aren’t always happy and that’s okay.
Romantic love can be kept alive and is very much part of long-term, happy relationships. It doesn’t have to slip into some sort of companionship that many of us believe is the case.
- I believe we all crave to be emotionally loved romantically and to keep this going we need to keep ‘falling in love’, reducing stress, anxiety and promoting the feel-good factor – basically the more we focus on this, the more we can create the feelings.
- Romantic love, those early stages of “falling in love,” is totally free from craving and obsession and not only does it create that special bond between the two of you it also raises your self- esteem and your general wellbeing.
10 skills long-term partners have mastered:
- Intense arguments or long periods of silence are not problems in themselves, which many of us focus on; it is the ability to resolve these differences. This experience that creates a deeper level of understanding between couples.
- When we talk about being able to effectively communicate we are talking about listening to understand, not getting ready for your reply whilst the other person is talking. Take the time to give your partner your total attention when they have something to say.
- Treating each other with respect from day one will become part of your relationship makeup – and this means having respect for you first.
- Long-term partners keep their marriage alive and interesting – they indulge in each other’s passions, they continually cultivate their intimacy and they spend quality time together.
- Love grows; it doesn’t stand still so being flexible is key here, as your relationship will not stand still. You cannot expect to continually do the same old thing day in day out and have a happy relationship. Relationships require effort; interest and excitement to keep the spark alight.
- When facing challenges, humour is one the elements that really helps couples through these times, along with being flexible, having respect and sticking with it; working it out. When facing a hurdle find common ground together or make a decision to leave it alone.
- Having daily rituals really help to keep that bond in place. Couples make a point of starting each day with a hug or holding hands when they walk, or enjoying a cup of tea together at the end of the day.
- Having trust in every aspect of your life, whether together or apart, being able to discuss everything without fear of what the other person might think or say; this creates vulnerability, an openness that takes your feelings to a deeper level of commitment.
- Being friends is really a must to stay together for the long term; being able to turn to your partner for absolutely anything brings a comfort and an appreciation to the relationship. Friendships take time and need nurturing so spend time together regardless of work or the kids.
- At the end of the day, ask yourself this question: can I live without him/her? I know Ian and I we couldn’t imagine life without each other. Above all the positivity in your marriage must outweigh the negativity for you both to create a happy lasting relationship.
After all these years, I still have wonderful illusions of Ian, sometimes keeping him on that pedestal. We are always looking to create new ideas together, whilst we maintain our independence of ‘doing our own thing.’ He’s passionate about cars, and I love sports and personal development.
I truly believe that if we want passion, commitment, and fulfillment in a long-term relationship, we must first discover this for ourselves.
We do so in our own hobbies and interests so we can then invest more time and energy into our partnership for it to be successful. Bring to your partnership what you’d like to achieve from being together. Don’t look to your partner to fulfill your needs as you need to start fulfilling these yourself.
We are born to love – can it last for the long-term? What do you think? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
I invite you to take our Relationship Quiz today to see where you are right now in your relationship!
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