Everyone dreams of living “happily ever after” with their spouse or partner but maintaining a long-term relationship takes a lot of effort.
Whether you have kids or not, the important thing to remember is that you need to constantly work on your relationship with your partner in order to enjoy a long and successful marriage.
So, if you are wondering how to have a long-lasting relationship, look no further.
In this blog are revealed the seven secrets to a fulfilling and long-term relationship. You can use these tips whether you are recently married or a couple having kids or in a live-in relationship.
Keys to a successful relationship
1. Communicate clearly
Everyone knows that communication is one of the key aspects of a healthy relationship and yet most of us don’t take the time to think about it or actively work on it.
In order to communicate clearly, you need to first think it through – consolidate your thoughts before you speak. If you want something, be direct about it; don’t assume that your spouse should pick up on hints or that they should automatically know what you want.
The clarity in communication is important because it avoids misunderstandings and ensures that both of you are on the same page. Above all else, avoid sending mixed messages.
Keep in mind that we communicate with our words as well as our facial expressions, and body language.
So, it’s important that your verbal and non-verbal communication is in sync.
Telling your spouse to go away when you actually want them to hold onto you can mess with their reality, and result in long-term damage to your relationship.
2. Do consider your spouse as your opponent
This is one of the critical long term relationships advice. When things in our lives don’t go the way we want them to, we tend to get frustrated and irritable.
We often displace our emotions, where we shift our displeasure away from ourselves and the current circumstances to a non-threatening target.
In most cases, the easiest target is our spouse which is why we land up fighting with them over trivial things.
If you give in to this unconscious defense mechanism, you will start to view your partner as an opponent which will cause a rift in the relationship.
A simple way to avoid this and enjoy a successful long-term relationship is to see yourselves as a unit – it’s you and your partner against the world.
3. Affection is as important as romance
A candlelight dinner at a fancy restaurant or a surprise vacation or a romantic staycation are some of the romantic gestures that help to keep the spark going.
There’s no doubt that romance is an important aspect of a relationship but couples that last the test of time are the ones that also realize the importance of affection. Affection conveys how much you value and treasure your spouse and helps to build security in a relationship.
Simple things such as sending your partner messages during the day to let her know you’re thinking about her or even just giving her a long hug for no reason helps to strengthen your bond.
Make affection a part of your long-term relationship to help you weather the bad times and enjoy the good times as you grow older together.
4. Value the friendship aspect of your relationship
Rakish good looks and a cocky confident attitude is sure to get you plenty of attention when you’re younger but that isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship.
Researchers found that test participants who valued the friendship aspect of their romantic relationship over other aspects including sexual satisfaction were more likely to have a lasting relationship.
The other surprising find was that the test participants who valued the friendship element of their relationship over sex had greater sexual satisfaction from their relationships as compared to the participants who valued sexual satisfaction over friendship.
The friendship aspect of your long-term relationship is where you enjoy spending time with each other, encourage each other through tough times and celebrate achievements together.
5. Learn how to fight
It may seem like strange advice for a healthy relationship, but every couple fights at some point so what’s important is that you learn how to fight. This means that even when you have a heated argument, your partner knows that you care about him and his feelings.
In the heat of the moment, you may be tempted to say something hurtful and malicious but this is where you need to stop yourself. When you are fighting with your partner, accept that they are going to be equally vociferous in defending their view as you are defending yours.
Another common mistake that couples make is to dredge up past mistakes and use them to support their current argument – this often devolves into a screaming match.
When your fight starts to get ugly, take a moment to sit down in silence, breathe deeply and then work together to resolve the issue and move forward.
6. Be sensitive in your honesty
There’s no doubt that honesty and trust are the foundation of a good relationship but if you want your marriage to last, you need to balance that honesty with sensitivity.
Choose your language carefully – for instance, don’t use superlatives like “never” or “always” because that kind of language is accusatory.
Similarly, avoid confrontational language such as “you abandon me to go out with your friends”; instead, you can say, “I feel lonely and upset when we don’t get to spend time together”.
If you want to point out a flaw that is affecting your relationship, be equally honest in admitting your own.
Instead of telling him that he is lazy and doesn’t help out, say something like, “I would appreciate it if you took on more of the household chores. I know that it doesn’t help when I snap at you for not doing them in the same way as me but I will work on that”.
Once you’ve stated what the problem is, focus the rest of the conversation on solutions – not just things that he has to work on but things that both of you can do to resolve the issue.
7. Don’t aim for perfection
You married an imperfect person… but so did they! Don’t look for perfection in yourself, your partner or your relationship. All of us are flawed but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
If you want to have a successful long-term relationship or marriage, you need to let go of the false image you’ve built up in your mind of who your partner should be or how your relationship would be perfect if only you could change one aspect of it.
Don’t nitpick at every issue and turn it into a problem. Don’t sweat the small stuff, cut each other some slack, and most importantly appreciate what you have.
According to a few experts, your long-term relationship with your spouse is even more significant than the one you will have with your child. Children thus can see a model where there is love, respect, and a secure environment.
It is also because children grow up to lead their own lives but your spouse is with you all the way.
There will always be ups and downs when you are aiming for a long-term relationship. But, there are also ways to get through them so that you can enjoy a successful and long-lasting relationship.