We all know it’s not really how you got together, but how you stayed together. Whenever you see an old couple so romantically attached to each other as if their relationship was brand new, it makes you wonder—what is it about them that made their relationship last through decades or even a lifetime? What’s their secret? How can you be one half of a couple just like that? How to make a relationship last forever?
With divorce rates skyrocketing even more through the years, how is it that some couples still manage to stick it out through thick and thin?
How to make a relationship last: What you need to know
#1 Burn the script. When you are in a relationship long enough, you’ll realize that your own plans may have to go out of the window. Expecting that your relationship to go as planned will almost always leave you disappointed. Life is notorious for presenting you with the most unexpected gifts, and as a couple, you should be able to make the most of these and enjoy whatever comes your way.
#2 Never stop courting. Never ever take each other for granted. Sure, the dust may have settled on your relationship and you’re now into this comfortable routine. However, it doesn’t mean that the courtship stops.
Even if you’re both in the middle of whatever makes up your busiest days, still take time to stop and check in on each other and show your affection. [Read: 25 relationship rules for perfectly happy love]
#3 Take their breath away. With all the things that you need to get done on a daily basis, all the demands of your work and relationship, it’s easy to lose touch with each other. You may find yourselves just going through the motions and nothing surprises you anymore.
Find a way to change this—take that extra effort to surprise your partner with something breath-taking, from a simple heartfelt note to a romantically extravagant vacation. [Read: 25 sweetest romantic gestures that are full of surprises]
#4 Fall in love with the changes. Maybe you’re together for just a few months, a few years, or a few decades. You’ll see how time has changed your partner through it all. You’ll see how time has changed you too. Perhaps your partner has grown a belly or is leaning towards the thick side after giving birth. Beyond all the physical and emotional changes, though, see your partner as they are, and fall in love with what makes who they are today.
#5 Try something new. To make a relationship last, you have to do new things. Sometimes, relationships turn sour because couples fall into a routine they can’t get out of. They want to play things safe, and this can often be their downfall. Don’t let the humdrum be your comfort. Dare to try something new and invite excitement back into your lives. [Read: 25 really romantic ideas to make your partner melt]
#6 See the best in them. Fights and misunderstandings are inevitable. There may even be days that you can’t stand each other. However, always remember what endeared you to them in the first place and why you’re together. Hold on to that, and always try to see the best qualities of the person you love.
#7 Be silly. Silliness can be key behind knowing how to make a relationship last. Laugh and laugh often. Goof around and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. These boo-boos are what make life brighter. Even in the midst of a hectic day—or even in the middle of an argument—always look at the brighter side, and your problem won’t seem to be as serious as you both thought it was. [Read: 16 secrets to a perfectly happy relationship]
#8 Be present. Despite the proliferation of gadgets and apps that distract us from real, face-to-face interactions, find time to look your partner in the eye. Talk to each other—as in *really* talk. Make it a point to sit down or go out and be together without distractions. Also, be present when your partner is sharing things with you. Let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you.
#9 Listen well. It’s not enough that you’re there. Many a relationship’s downfall is not in the lack of communication, but a lack of listening. Therefore, as a couple, you have to commit to actively listen to each other when one is talking.
It’s also advisable to listen to those things that are unsaid. This makes for better communication, something that most long-term relationships have managed to have under their belts. [Read: 10 ways to be a much better listener in your relationship]
#10 Allow each other to grow. To make a relationship last, grow as a couple and grow as individuals – even if it means doing things apart. Sometimes, the only way for each of you to grow is to do things independent of the other.
Once you trust your partner enough to give them space, you allow them to flourish as a person separate from you. If one is not growing, then someone will feel left out or left behind, and the relationship will not last. [Read: How to give space and grow together as a couple]
#11 Be each other’s strength. A relationship can only function as a well-oiled machine if you are both prepared and capable of being there to pick each other up. There will be times when one of you may have personal problems, or one is going through something difficult.
As a partner, it is up to you to be supportive of the other. That’s what relationships are for—you go through life knowing for certain that someone is there not only to hold your hand, but to hold you up when you’re down.
#12 Don’t fight about money. Many couples split up because of disagreements about money. When you can, sit down together and discuss your financial situation. Define what your financial goals are as a couple and where you both want to be in the future. Money is a necessity, but it’s utterly unnecessary to fight about money. It really helps make relationships last. [Read: The 8 biggest marital problems for couples and easy quick-fixes for all of them]
#13 Work as a team. You don’t want to feel like you’re alone or being held back in your relationship. You want to have a voice in what you want to happen, and your partner certainly feels the same way. To make your relationship last, your commitment to each other also means that you’re willing to go through life together, through whatever happens, as partners and with one goal.
#14 Admit when you are wrong. There will be times when you may overreact or make a wrong judgment. This could start a disagreement, but before things blow out of proportion, learn to own up to your mistakes. It’s during times like this that the last thing you need is your pride. Don’t let your partner feel awful about a mistake that you know you can fix with a simple “I’m sorry.”
#15 Offer solutions. There will definitely be many kinds of problems that will arise as you go through your life together. There will be times that one of you will go through a hard time and will come to the other for help. Instead of criticizing or blaming, offer constructive advice that will actually help them solve a problem. If you can’t find a solution yet, then at least make your partner feel better. [Read: Rekindle your relationship – 17 ways to sparkle in love]
#16 Don’t keep score. Don’t hold grudges if you truly want to make your relationship last. When one of you is at fault, be brave yet humble enough to admit it. If your partner has done you wrong, be gracious and forgive. Your partner, like you, is human and will have moments of weakness. Don’t let a mistake dictate the future of your relationship and imprison you to the past.
#17 Don’t skimp on appreciation. Make it a point to tell your partner how much you appreciate them. Do this every day – that’s also how make your relationship last. From the simple way they turn the coffee maker on so you can have your coffee to the way they never fail to cheer you up in your darkest days, saying something as simple as “thank you” will go a long way to make them feel appreciated. [Read: 16 ways to show your appreciation for the one you love]
#18 Protect your own heart. Don’t forget your individuality too. Love yourself as you love your partner. While you can give your heart to them, always leave room for yourself too. Allow yourself the same love, laughter, happiness, and forgiveness you afford your partner.
#19 ALWAYS choose love. Despite whatever unimaginable things that may come your way or try to tear you apart, always choose love. The love you have for each other will be the beacon that will guide you through the storms of life. Hold on to that and your relationship will last even against all the odds.
Love will always endure. When you and your partner truly, fully, and completely love and respect each other, things will have a way of working out.
[Read: 15 ways you’ll truly experience what true love feels like]
Life may hand you out with the toughest challenges, and although there’s no perfect recipe for a perfect relationship, you will persist together and no longer wonder how to make a relationship last.
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