A relationship takes work by both partners if it is to be fulfilling and lasting. As years go by, people change and this means that the relationship is going to change too. Here are some tips to help you understand how to make a relationship last.
One of the key factors in making a relationship last is productive communication between the two partners. You need to communicate with each other in an effective and open manner. Talk about what interests you, what worries you, what your hopes and dreams are, what upsets you. Show respect for your partner by being interested in what they have to say.
Talking is just one part of communication; listening the other part. Practise listening to understand not merely to hear what your partner is saying. Ask questions about what the other person is saying to fully understand. Everyone needs to feel that they are being heard, so effective listening is a vital part of communication.
Don’t assume that your partner knows what you are thinking, or feeling or wanting. That is just plain unrealistic. You need to communicate your thoughts, feelings and wants to your partner; firstly, so that they know and secondly, so that you are both on the same page. This avoids misunderstandings that can lead to conflict.
When effective communication is missing from a relationship, emotional distance can gradually creep in, causing the couple to grow apart. Both partners in a relationship need to feel that they are supported emotionally and this is achieved through effective communication.
You don’t have to always agree
It is unrealistic to think that two people will always agree on every little aspect of their lives. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you always have to agree with everything they say or do. It doesn’t mean you love them any less or that your relationship is bad; it just means that you will sometimes disagree.
It’s OK to agree to disagree; there’s no rule that says you always have to agree with each other. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; respect that and move on. Of course, there are times when you do need to be in agreement. At those times, some negotiation may be required to reach a compromise agreement.
Be prepared to forgive; carrying a grudge is emotionally damaging and harmful to a relationship. Forgiveness sets you free.
Keep the romance alive
While the initial passion in a relationship may fade, it is important to keep the romance alive if your relationship is to last. Kiss and hug your partner several times a day, and especially before leaving for work and going to sleep; leave little love notes; surprise them with small gifts; do unexpected little things to help; say ‘I love you” often; remember anniversaries;
Things won’t always work out the way you want them to. Sharing a life with another person means that sometimes, other things are going to get in the way of your relationship. Work, children and the in-laws are just a few of the things that can upset plans.
It is important to be flexible when things get in the way. Being flexible allows life to continue on with a minimum of disruption and anger. Accept that there will be things that just won’t go right; there may even be issues that can never be resolved. Being flexible and letting it go will allow you to move on.
Be open to change when it is needed. As you grow and the years pass, some changes are inevitable.
Balance the time you spend together with the time you spend apart. Time apart, pursuing individual interests, brings freshness to a relationship and makes the times together more precious.
Use these tips to keep your relationship alive and growing and you can look forward to sharing your lives for many years.
So, if you are in a relationship, what strategies have worked for you?