Relationships aren’t easy, especially long-term relationships; people grow and change, and as a result, the relationship evolves. Even so, a relationship is worth it when you’re with the right person. And I’m assuming you’ve found the right person if you’re reading this, and you probably want to keep the relationship as strong and healthy as possible.
When in a long-term relationship it’s important to keep some things in mind that will help the love grow and last. Whether you’re still dating, engaged, or already married, keep reading to find out six tips to help you form a love that lasts through the ages.
Listening is a skill everyone can improve upon. It’s all too easy to only “hear” someone talking. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you knew he/she was just waiting for his/her turn to talk? Maybe the person even interrupted a few times. Doesn’t feel great, does it?
To form a love that lasts, you and your partner must take the time to listen to each other. Listening involves being available to the other person, understanding what they’re saying, taking the words in in a deeper way – not just hearing noises coming from the other person’s mouth. Listening to the person you’re communicating with means you care what they have to say and aren’t just concerned with getting your point of view across.
And sometimes people just want the person they’re talking to to listen. Ask your partner if he or she wants advice or just wants you to sit back with an open heart and ears.
2. Learn Their Love Language
Perhaps you’ve heard of the 1995 book written by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. In it, Chapman describes five ways (love languages) to express and experience love: gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. The book’s Wikipedia page notes:
Chapman suggests that to discover another person’s love language, one must observe the way they express love to others, and analyze what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.
As an exercise in lasting love, pick up a copy of the book and read it together. You can also find out you and your partner’s love language by taking the free quiz on the 5 Love Languages website.
3. Be Honest
Honesty leads to trust because the other person doesn’t have to wonder what you’re thinking. If you’re always honest with your partner, open up, and aren’t afraid to talk about the big issues, then your love will be as strong as steel.
This is especially important when you’re feeling frustrated with your partner. Instead of bottling up your emotions (which can wreak more havoc later on), allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk it out with your partner.
It’s also important to take time to talk about the big issues: children, finances, future plans. It’s not always easy to talk about these things, but when each of you opens up, in an honest way, about your feelings and thoughts concerning these things, you’ll both know where you’re headed and can make better decisions.
4. Treat Your Partner How You Want to be Treated
Treat others how you want to be treated is the golden rule, after all, and worth remembering if you want love that lasts. Before you do something in your relationship, think about how it will affect your partner and how you would feel if he or she did the same thing. This is a good guide to follow when making decisions about things that concern your relationship.
You can also think of this rule as “you only get what you give.” If there’s something you wish your partner did, like show affection more often, give affection to him or her. Don’t just talk about how you want to be treated, show it.
5. Do Things Together and Separately
As a new couple, you probably did everything together, but time passes, life happens, and quality time together can go by the wayside.
No matter what stage in the relationship you are, remember to do things together. This might include new experiences that neither of you have tried, something you both enjoy doing, or something that you like doing that your partner is willing to try (and vice versa). And spending time together doesn’t mean you have to do something extravagant; you could just schedule a night of Scrabble and wine.
On the flip side, it’s also important to do things separately and have your individual lives. After all, a partner’s job isn’t to complete your life, but to add to it.
6. Get Physical
No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship with someone, it’s safe to say that your partner and yourself will always want to feel desired. Just because you’ve been in a relationship for five years and think your partner should know how much you desire him or her, you can’t assume that knowing is enough.
Sex is great, of course, and important to maintain in a relationship, but it’s just as important to show small little moments of affection, like a kiss just for the heck of it or a random compliment.
Not only does it make the other person feel happy and wanted, it keeps the passion alive.
It’s not enough to just read this relationship advice – you must put it into practice to have a love that lasts. After reading this list, is there anything you can improve upon? Where are your strengths and weaknesses? Think about it, talk it over with your partner, and get ready for a beautiful, happy, strong and long lasting love.