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?
For us, communication was and is a big factor too. We talk a lot! That helps us work through the misunderstandings. It also helps you gain a lot of insight into your partner. That’s very important, as you should know and support the person you have chosen to spend your life with.
Well said. We talk a lot too. We always know what each other is thinking and planning. It bodes well for being on the same page and working together. I also find you grow and change as life goes by and that the more you talk the more possible it is to grow together which keeps that bond strong.
I think it’s totally okay to disagree and to get into arguments sometime. Something that’s helped me a lot is to not stay mad after a fight. It’s almost never worth it, and it’s much easier to just let it go rather than dwell on it.
Very true. I used to hold on to things after a fight or after a comment and I would let it tear me up inside. Now I just let it roll off and focus on being proactive. Things run much more smoothly and I am much happier. Glad to hear you have learned the same trick.
As part of a couple that just celebrated 40 years together I can vouch for Miss T’s thoughts.
Also keep in mind:
Be respectful of each other’s family members.
Be and act like partners.
Know that some things about your partner will irritate you: if they are only occasional and are unimportant – just ignore them and focus on the positive.
Each partner will sometimes get 100% of things their way – but only some of the time – meaning that sometimes you just give 100% and sometimes you get back 100%.
Be in it for the ‘forever’.
Very well said Marie. To sum it up, be realistic and be respectful. Those two things can go a long way.
I really like how you brought up family members. This is really important and can put a huge strain on a relationship if one person does not get along with the other person’s family. It best to try to get along and be peaceful.
Congrats on 40 years. That is amazing!
It’s funny, but most of those things people already do with their friends, so why is it so hard when they get into a relationship? plus, being in a relationship should mean that you were friends before lovers, so all of that should have already been in place. If not, then can it really be called a “relationship”?
Great point Eric. It does make you wonder doesn’t it why relationships (romance) seems so much harder when in reality it shouldn’t be. For me, they have both always been work which is fine. I don’t expect to get good things for free. Friends and partners are worth the effort.
Great reminders! We pretty much *try* to use all of these. We could work on communication simply in scheduling…we always overbook ourselves because we forget there’s another person to check with.
I think we have all been there. As you spend more years together things like this will become less of an issue. Just wait until you can read each other’s minds.
These are all really good tips. One of the best things my mom told me was : “It’s the same hell with a different devil.”
She was joking (sorta) but just to know that if you pick the right man from the beginning, there will always be ups and downs and to not think that things will change with a different man because for the most part, they’re all the same (sorta). maybe i’m just not explaining it right…but it’s essentially the same as “if the grass is greener on the other side, water your own damn lawn”
I love those two phrases. I will have to remember them. Your mom was right. All relationships take work and aren’t perfect every day but that is ok. As long as over the long haul you end up with more good days than bad, then it is all worth it.
Communication communication communication.. This has worked tremendously in my relationship. I had to learn the trait since my personality type doesn’t cater much towards feelings but it definitely works. The others go without saying in my mind but to me communication is a must.
I would agree. Communication for me is number 1 as well. Without it you don’t know where you stand, where you are going, and what the other person wants. Dialogue needs to happen constantly.
I am glad you have made an effort to work on your communication style. Some people just cop out and don’t bother and their relationship fails.
Oh yeah.. I love those two saying too! Hilarious! We have been married 33 years and it has been a journey. Communication is the key to success…. and the little things. I like when he will wash dishes, run an errand for me, wash the dogs….and I will do the same for him. He likes his coffee a certain way, and his lunch packed a certain way. It is the little things that keep us going.
The little things are important aren’t they. Congrats on 33 years!! That is something to be proud of these days.
My hubby and I also concentrate on the little things. Every night I make his lunch the way he likes it and every night he cleans the kitchen how I like it. Paying attention to those little details really go a long way in showing how much you care about that other person.
Great post – I think flexibility is key. People change habits, hobbies, etc, but they still are the same person inside – growing with them is part of the fun!
Ditto to that. Yes, people do change- heck I have changed a lot over the last few years and my hubby has grown with me. We are both better people in a lot of ways thanks to each other. Being open to growing together is definitely important in maintaining that bond through life changes. If you don’t, then you can fall apart.
If you always try to see things as others see them in addition to retaining your own point of view and issues, you have the foundations of being a good member of society. Applying this to your principle relationships is essential and I include not just the immediate partner/husband/wife/whatever but also other members of the family. But with the spouse it is crucial because if that relationship falters, the whole edifice will crumble. Been there, done that, worn the T-shirt and don’t want to go back!
Very wisely said John. We do need to make an effort to see more than our point of view. I too use this as a life practice and constantly look for another side or angle in a situation.
Communication and being flexible are the keys for us. You can’t get your way all the time and you have to compromise as a couple.
Ditto to that. This is something my hubby and I have learned. We are both pretty passionate and strong people but we have learned that sometimes one of us just has to give in. It really isn’t that bad because we know we are doing something that means a lot to the other person which makes us feel good. Flexibility is definitely key to success. Life changes so you have to ready to embrace and adjust to those changes.
It helps a lot to pick the right person. Exercising good judgment is not limited to relationships, but it helps everything else. I say this as I approach my 44th anniversary.
Congrats Krant. 44 years is definitely something to be proud of.
I agree with you in picking the right person. I don’t think there is only one person for you but I do think there is certain type of person for you that is right and you need to find someone that fits that mold. You need someone to compliment you and yet still be the same as you in some ways. The search doesn’t always come easy but eventually it ends and you find that right person.
I would like to say doing things and working on things together, but my wife and I don’t, so I can’t say that.
It seems like a logical bond builder though? But I could be wrong… 🙂
There are some relationships that work when two people spend a selected amount of time with each other and outside of that are very independent. That works as long as there is good communication, a common ground you both use, and honesty. I have seen many relationships succeed this way. Where you run into trouble is when you become too independent, stop talking, and change the ground you use.
Great post! I’ve seen so many relationships go bad because of lack of communication. For me it is the most important reason. If you don’t talk enough, you start to assume things and assuming never helps in relationship.
Well said Aloysa. Assumptions can start trouble and in some cases destroy. I too have seen this happen and it is very sad. Talking and being honest with one another is so important . I actually try to avoid assumptions in any part of my life. I would rather ask a question and get the information I need. It is much safer that way.
Great post 🙂
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6.5 years and we still have stuff to work on 🙂 but I think that the other thing is to not give up and not “throw in the towel”.
Agreed. Commitment is a big deal and there are many people these days who don’t seem to understand what it really means. To me, it means 100% and for life and I knew this going into the relationship.
Congrats on 6.5 years. We are just over 4 and like you have a lot to learn. The key is though to learn together as you grow.
Communication, both people thinking of the others’ needs, compromise, and flexibility. Also, having a lot in common with shared goals and much laughter/fun along the way is important too. Good post.
So true. I agree that laughter really is important. You have to be able to laugh things off, laugh at each other, and just have fun with each other. If you can’t do this, then it is a pretty intense and sad environment to be living in.
Thankfully we haven’t had to practice any special tactics yet, and we’ve been married almost 8 years. I could certainly work harder to be a better husband.
You could almost add “get your finances in order” to the list, because this has made both of us happier.
I would agree with you John. When we got married, my finances were not what they should have been. Once we got things on track we both felt a lot better. Plus there was less tension between us. We got rid of a huge stressor. Plus we learned how to be one the same page regarding finances which I feel is key to a lasting relationship.
How about keeping realistic expectations? No one should expect to have a marriage with no disagreements or a relationship right out of a romcom! Commit to communicate and you will succeed!
Cheers to that. I am amazed how unrealistic some people are these days. I blame it on media. People think X is the perfect person when in reality that person doesn’t even exist. I am much more of a realist myself. No relationship is perfect. As long as you have more good days than bad and are happy that is all that matters. And yes, communication has to happen.
I’m hardly one to be expounding on relationship strategies. But a friend and his wife swear by taking separate weekend vacations 1 or 2 times a year.
Interesting. I have heard of some couples who find spending time apart to be their saving grace. To each their own. Different things work for different people. For me, my hubby and I like to travel together.