8 Ways To Make A Relationship Last

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2011 saw a lot of important relationship milestones in my family. 30 years of marriage for my parents. More than 40 years of marriage for my aunt and uncle. And 66 years of marriage for my grandparents. In a world of celebrity marriages that last 72 days, I was in awe of the life-long partnerships my family members had created. So, inspired by their obvious love for each other, I asked my family to share their secrets for making a relationship last. Here's what they had to say:

  1. Attraction: Attraction is about more than appearances and the "spark" of chemistry that initially draws a couple together. As a relationship deepens, so does attraction. Intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, attraction to a partner's sense of humor or creativity...these are the kinds of attraction that make a relationship last.

  2. Accountability: Take responsibility for your happiness and your actions in a relationship. Hold yourself accountable for creating the relationship you want and upholding the commitments, promises, and obligations you have made. Expect that your partner will do the same.

  3. Communication: Strong communication skills are at the heart of every long-term relationship. Become aware of how you communicate and how your partner communicates with you, then create a common communication style that works for both of you. And remember that "communication" doesn't just mean speaking - being a good listener is also a huge part of communicating well.

  4. Commonalities: Opposites may attract, but it's similarities that keep a relationship going. Do you and your partner have hobbies and interests in common? Do you have similar lifestyles and habits? Do you share the same goals for your relationship? Do you want the same things out of life? You don't have to be exactly alike, but you do need to have some commonalities in order to stand the test of time.

  5. Passion: Passion doesn't just mean sex - passion means affection and connection. Physical passion can be expressed through small gestures like a touch on the arm, a kiss goodnight, or a cuddle on the couch, and romantic passion can be expressed in conversation or in writing.

  6. Security: Long-term partners know that they can depend on one another. Do you feel physically and emotionally safe with your partner? Do you offer that kind of security in return? Consistent demonstrations of comfort and safety increase trust and intimacy in a long-term relationship.

  7. Support: No relationship can last without support and understanding. Make it a point to be a source of support for your partner on a daily basis. Support their needs, their goals, their dreams for the future. Support them through challenges and major life changes. Support them without judgment and ask them to provide the same support for you.

  8. Love: Love your partner for who they are, not for who you want them to be. True, lasting love is unconditional.