When it comes to relationships, why do so many fall-apart after a short time? What is it that causes a relationship to grow and last?
Long-lasting relationships require some basic techniques available to every couple. These include; communication skills, conflict resolution skills, being loving and intimate, and being forgiving. This article looks at several techniques to build a lasting relationship.
We all long to have someone in our lives that we can be with for the long-run. We envision a certain life doing certain things. Nobody spends their childhood dreaming up a relationship that will be short-lived and undesirable, nor do they hope and dream that their average relationship will be a constant struggle ending messy.
No. Instead, we have inspirations and hopes that we will meet the perfect person and live happily-ever-after, right? So, if you are thinking to yourself right now that this is fairy-tale stuff or only happens on heavily-scripted movies, think again.
In this article, I am going to list off ten habits, or actions, we can make part of our life. If we agree and implement these together with our partner, we will create a lifestyle that is able to rebound from difficulties. That’s what it’s about; not believing or claiming that there will never be hardships, rather, believing and claiming that when they come about, we will implement teamwork and get through it.
10 effective habits of the lasting relationship
Lasting relationships shouldn’t be the elusive thing from the days of our Grandparents. We are all capable of creating a relationship that has the potential to outlive even the largest of difficulties or obstacles. But it will require effort.
We can’t expect such a feat to simply happen by chance. We must be dedicated and determined to create a good life together, and this is done daily; and, through awareness.
Nothing on this list is going to be difficult. I realize that some things might trigger some hard feelings for some, and if it does, I encourage you to ask why. Generally, when we hear a certain word or name, we might be met with a certain emotion. We are wise to question this emotion. If it is a negative emotion, it’s possible that there is something unresolved. Perhaps, forgiveness is in order.
Don’t try to live with regret, resentment, bitterness, or grudges. I don’t say this because I just want people to be nice; I say this because I want you to be free. When we don’t harbor any negative feelings towards people or stuff, we are free, and this is such a good feeling. When we aren’t all stressed and frustrated, we sleep better, we laugh more, and we experience greater living.
Be sure to be “free” when it comes to your partner. Whatever the past, agree to work together to build a lasting relationship and move on.
Here are 10 ways to build a lasting relationship:
- Practice strong open communication
- Respect each other
- See love in the air
- Be fun and spontaneous
- Trust each other
- Be an optimistic couple
- Practice relationship equality
- Be a learning couple
- Have relationship goals
- Have financial goals
1. Practice strong open communication
How can a couple know what is going on if they don’t engage in conversation, right? Taking the time each day to spend 30 – 60 minutes of dedicated conversation is a great way to stay in the know of your partner.
Is an hour too long? We must look at our relationships as among the most important thing in our life. I’m not saying to idolize or worship our partner, rather, don’t see the relationship as just a part of our life. If we take it for granted, it will deteriorate.
Instead, just as we might spend an hour per day investing in skill-building, we must spend an hour per day enjoying time with our partner and talking about our wins and losses in life. Does the conversation need to be negative? No. Instead, if our partner has some built-up pressure, we will do them a huge favor by lending them an ear while they unload.
Keep it positive by being supportive and non-judgmental. Ask if they want help determining a solution or if they merely just want to be heard. Don’t let them go down a negative path; especially, help them avoid any negative self-talk. We don’t want to beat ourselves, or anyone else up. We just want to let out some steam, then move on to something better.
Conversations don’t need to be heavy, either. Talk about inspirations and dreams together. Think about trips you both want to go on and identify some of the activities you will do on that trip.
And, of course, when there is an issue, be sure to bring it up immediately and don’t let it fester in our mind. We want to avoid growing any bitterness within us if we want our relationship to be amazing and long-lasting.
2. Respect each other
We might automatically assume that we respect our partner and vice-versa, but do we; do they? Most likely there is respect. Respect can be shown in many ways. A few ways that come to mind here would be with privacy, personal time, their interests, and even when our partner wants to try new things.
We are both sharing the relationship, but we are still two separate people. This means, there will be times when he wants to do what she doesn’t and when she wants to do what he doesn’t. We might sometimes need to engage in an activity that they like, and sometimes, we might need to let them venture out and try doing things that they are inspired to do.
Being supportive of them on their ventures is important. Not everything will be a great idea, but there is always going to be risk in business ventures and the such. If they want to try something new, don’t be a roadblock. Rather, set up some guidelines and come to an agreement on how far things can go, or affect the relationship, before making changes. We can be supportive and practice good judgment, too.
Also, privacy and personal time are important. I’m not talking about keeping secrets from each other, but instead, allowing our partner to have their own thoughts and have time each day for personal reflection, if that’s what they want. This is an important way to keep the mind healthy, and a healthy mind is crucial for happy living.
3. See love in the air
It is possible to be in a relationship that is short on love. When you come home after work, do you sense love in the air when you see your partner? Do they instantly drop what they’re doing and engage in affection and show interest in what you have to say about your day? Maybe they meet you with instant confrontation about something you did last year.
Constant confrontation doesn’t mean that they don’t love you, but that their focus is likely stuck on the wrong things. Of course, relationships aren’t always just going to be all love and affection, but we shouldn’t dread coming home fearing that it will just be a fight-night.
Showing each other love and affection each day is an important part of growing confidence in the relationship. It builds on the attraction of each other and it helps keep self-esteem up. When we don’t ever tell them we love them, or we aren’t intimate unless we’re drunk, this can play on confidence and esteem; does he/she love me or is he/she attracted to me?
The relationship is the part of our life that we want to turn into the enjoyable space. We want to be sure to create an environment that we can’t wait to get back to after work.
Showing love doesn’t mean that we must be clingy and always trying to cuddle. Being aware of their state is an important way to show love. If we see that they are having a rough day, do something nice; if they are happy and excited about something, get excited with them and let them enjoy their mood. Again, being supportive and interacting with them without distraction is important for a healthy relationship.
4. Be fun and spontaneous
What does it mean to be spontaneous? It means to do something out of the ordinary; mix it up a little, right?
Is there a routine that you and your partner do that is more like being stuck in the same old predictable rut? Can you think of anything that you wish the two of you could do that would be “take your breath away” inspiring?
If we only get intimate on the third Saturday of every second month, and when we go out for dinner, it’s always to the same restaurant for the same dish with the same coupon, then mixing up the routine will do wonders for the relationship.
Of course, most couples can’t constantly be out doing things that cost too much or require time away from kids and pets. However, once per week, a couple would do well to get together and do something that isn’t the same old thing.
When was the last time you and your partner threw a blanket and a cooler into the car and headed off to a lake somewhere to just sit and talk and have lunch together while listening to the water on the shoreline? How about the last time you both went and did something exhilarating? Perhaps the carnival is coming to town and you can dare each other to go on a crazy ride just to see if you can scare some life back into each other.
Fun can be lots of things. It doesn’t even require a couple to leave the house. Try a new board game together and see how silly things get when you both let loose and let go of the stresses of life. A long-lasting relationship requires fun and excitement.
If the relationship is feeling dull and boring, start looking for ways to spice things up. Try going to places you two haven’t gone before; eat foods that are different and fun; try a new position when being intimate.
5. Trusting each other is the foundation of a relationship that lasts
Trusting each other is easy when nobody has made any mistakes. But how unlikely is it that no one will do something wrong at some point? Building trust takes time. Many take trust for granted and push the boundaries; they stay out with friends without giving a courtesy call; they keep secrets; they might not be faithful.
When something happens to break the trust, this can throw the relationship into a downward spiral of quarreling and accusations. We don’t want to play detective, nor do we want someone always interrogating us either.
If trust has been broken, repairing it as soon as possible is the best solution. How? Whatever broke the trust must be a thing of the past; not to happen again. Also, changes must be made to show remorse and changed behavior.
Forgiveness is necessary. If someone hurts us, before we can start trusting them, we need to forgive them. If we are holding a grudge for something, building trust won’t be possible. Forgiveness is difficult, but it is necessary if we want to start on the rebuilding path.
A relationship that lasts is rooted in trust. Trust is the foundation that the relationship is built on. If we are in a state of distrust, there is little to no point of trying to make up for it in other areas in hopes that the relationship will flourish and last.
Build the trust; forgive if necessary; avoid grudges that lead to bitterness and resentment. Then, the relationship will be long-lasting.
6. Be an optimistic couple
Lasting relationships happen because the couple believes they will last. If the couple constantly thinks that they will break up or that it will all go wrong, it’s possible that it will. It’s much like illness; if we spend too much time worrying that we will get sick, we often do.
Now, things will go wrong here and there, and couples will face struggles. The idea here is that the optimistic couple will believe that even when bad things happen, they will get through it, and stronger.
Especially after having an argument or a bad night, we can move on and be optimistic that it will get better now. It isn’t healthy to wake up and start back at each other, right? When there is a situation, work through it and get back to positive and productive as soon as possible. This is how relationships last.
I won’t even try to pretend that our partner will never tick us off. Instead, my wife and I have found that making up before bed is always the best method. We have also found that when we don’t do this, we wake up still frustrated with each other and it tends to ruin the day to some extent.
I’m not sure how we will handle every situation moving forward, but I am sure that there isn’t much that can happen that my wife and I can’t figure out or work through together. So, we don’t have to fear that our relationship won’t last.
If a couple is already at each other’s throats, it is difficult to practice optimism; if our partner cheats on us, it’s difficult to practice optimism. There will be many times when we will struggle to stay optimistic. It is in these times where we must make a choice: break up and go our separate ways, or, stay together, forgive, and work together to move on and not keep digging up the past.
7. Practice relationship equality
The relationship is about doing life together. What is important in a lasting relationship is that we see each other as an equal. One can’t say to the other, “I make all the money so only I get to spend it,” nor can one be the dominant one and make the other do all the work around the house.
If we can pitch in and be helpful to each other, not only do the tasks get done quicker, it shows that we aren’t above them and that we are loving and considerate.
Taking turns cooking and doing what we say we’re going to do are ways that we can show our partner that we want to share the load and that we want to make living easy for all of us. When we are lazy and messy, this puts a load on others in the house, which often leads to pressure in the relationship.
Most couples will have things that they do; I fix all the things that break, and I maintain the cars. Actually, since I am a stay-at-home dad with a blog, I also do a fair share of housework. If I don’t do the things that I say I will, then my wife is left to take up my slack.
I have learned over the years what pleases my wife and what doesn’t. I know that my wife doesn’t ask for much, so I make good and sure to provide for her the few things she does ask for. This is how I have learned to share the load and do my part.
We share everything; what’s mine is hers and hers is mine, right? We agree with this in our relationship and it hasn’t done us wrong.
8. Be a learning couple
Humans are so capable of learning and growing that it’s hard to fathom. People get the highest degrees possible, they climb the biggest mountains and towers out there, they do the most insane tricks and stunts, and they make unthinkable amounts of money.
So, why do so many couples try to maintain relationships without educating themselves together on various ways to improve the relationship and prepare for difficulties?
Some do, and they are the couple who will get through the hard times and come out victorious, together. We can learn how to communicate, we can learn how to manage conflicts and arguments, we can learn how to parent children where the couple is on the same page with parenting technique, and we can certainly learn various methods of intimacy and romance.
Too many couples float through their days riding on emotion. When we educate ourselves about something, when it comes up, we recognize the signs, and we implement the strategies that we learned to correct the situation. This way, a fight about one partner leaving their socks on the floor doesn’t tear the relationship apart.
My wife and I have watched various relationship videos together, and we have also gone through workbooks together to pick up tips and tricks to help us handle the situations that are sure to present themselves.
This wasn’t hard work. This might only take an hour per week just sitting together watching a video for a relationship improvement course that can be purchased online. There isn’t a shortage of help out there; we just need to be willing to reach out and grab onto what’s available. It’s called self-help because it’s up to us to help ourselves. Put in the effort and reap the benefits of a lasting relationship.
9. Have relationship goals
Alongside being optimistic and working on relationship improvement habits, setting relationship goals is necessary. This is where the couple has a plan for the relationship. At first, the goal might be to get married. Later, it might be to have some children and move into a certain type of house.
Relationship goals can also be that the couple agrees that, each year, they will read a certain amount of marriage books, attend a relationship seminar, or go on a retreat. Maybe, their goal is that every five years they will go on a one-week honeymoon at some tropical place just to really spice things up. Perhaps their relationship goal might be to never allow an argument to escalate to a fight that lasts overnight.
There are so many possibilities. Relationship goals are whatever you and your mate want to see come to fruition in your relationship. We always want to be improving, no matter what it is. It’s the way we’re designed. If we aren’t improving and moving forward, we essentially move backward towards depression. Think about it; when are we happiest? When we are achieving something, right?
So, grab your partner and a notepad, and start jotting down some potential goals that you two would like to achieve. Short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals are ideal. These will change over time, so, revisit them often. Celebrate the victories, too!
10. Have financial goals
For this, I don’t just mean retirement goals. Of course, I would include immediate financial goals, as well as, retirement goals. But also, a written budget and spending habits should be included here.
Without a written budget, how does one keep track of their finances?
The responsible couple will create a budget and will stick to it. One can’t be a huge spender without accountability. Why not? Because, this type of behavior leads to fighting and trust issues. When one person is a saver, and the other a spender, which is often the case, there needs to be balance.
If the saver says to the spender, “Sorry, your spending days are over,” a couple things might happen: the spender might sneak money when they can, they might outright ignore your command, or, they might opt to evacuate the relationship altogether.
The saver is wise to not fight the situation. Instead, grab that trusty budget and make a column for the spender. “Okay, Spender…You get fifty bucks per paycheck; when it’s gone, it’s gone!”
This is the compromise. The spender is wise to agree and stay within their limits. When the budget is balanced, and there isn’t an issue of overspending, the relationship is so much lower in stress and anxiety. I was the spender and this solution helped. Now, I have gotten on-board with my wife and we have created a plan.
It’s when the finances are in the red and bills are overdue that the couple fights about it and potentially breaks up.
Set some financial goals. Aim to get debt-free, which equates to, stress-free in the financial department. When the couple is able to build wealth, invest, and save for trips, that’s when they can have fun and enjoy each other.
That’s what helps relationships last.
Find some good relationship resources
My wife and I have read books and watched videos over the years that have surely helped us to learn valuable tools and techniques. Without doing this, it’s possible that we wouldn’t have lasted for more than twenty years in marriage.
We got married right at 19 years old, and nobody was handing out successful relationship information to us. We had to have some serious struggles before we learned that it’s wiser to start educating ourselves. Now, I encourage couples in all sorts of situations to try to engage in some form of relationship-building material each year.
Workbooks are good because the couple can interact in a constructive conversation that gets their minds thinking about solutions, and what that couple might do in the event of a situation. This is nice because it becomes a personalized plan for that couple. When something does come up, there are 2 times the chances of the material being remembered and implemented; thus, less time dealing with a negative situation.
It doesn’t take too much effort to make a relationship great and set it up for success. Often, if we simply learn what will make it difficult or what will break it down, and avoid that, the relationship will generally last. This isn’t the way to get the relationship to its best version, however.
If a couple truly wants a good relationship that lasts and is enjoyable, try this: talk to each other and enjoy the conversation. Be helpful to one another. Notice their emotional state and be there for them. Be supportive. Have fun together and vow to never go to bed angry with each other; even if this means talking until 2 am. Finally, set goals together, be optimistic about attaining those goals and educate yourselves so that you two have the necessary tools to get through anything.
If you have any other tips that would be helpful for others, please share it in the comments below.
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How to get your spouse to hear you, by Mort Fertel.