Updated: Sep 4
You may wonder how successful couples manage to keep their love alive despite the many tests that life throws at them. Many of them have been probably where you are now, struggling with issues like money, in-law drama, and misunderstandings that could have ended their relationships. Although not all couples manage to stay together, these two have.
Because of this diversity, there is no universal recipe for a healthy relationship. On the other hand, long-term partners share commonalities that help them stay together. Here are recommendations based on what researchers have learned about healthy partnerships.
A successful relationship requires a few things:
A firm resolve to work on the relationship.
Despite good intentions, most couples gradually start to neglect their relationship as time goes on. It's possible that they'll put everything else ahead of their relationship, whether that's employment, kids, or a passion project. Or they may have to adjust to new circumstances if either partner retires or suffers a significant loss, such as the death of a parent.
Even if both partners in a healthy relationship go through significant personal growth, they can prioritise maintaining their commitment to one another. That's because they have each other to lean on as they face adversities like ageing, financial constraints, or a new chapter in life.
Recognising the effort required to maintain a healthy relationship is the first step in staying committed. In order to keep a relationship going, both partners need to be willing to give and take when difficulties arise. Some challenges or "rough patches" are to be expected and dealt with when they arise. Instead of ignoring your issues, commit to working through them as a team.
Try to view each other as friends first and partners second.
Successful partnerships are built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust, shared interests, shared hardships, and a refusal to take the other for granted. They are respectful and considerate to one another. Staying together is associated with a kinder, more patient relationship between partners, especially during conflict.
An excellent piece of advice is to plan regular date nights.
Understand that you will always have your differences and sometimes, disappointments as-well.
Even if you and your partner have a lot in common, it's unlikely that you'll ever agree on everything. Learning to accept and appreciate one another's differences is a significant test in any relationship. It's normal for a couple to have minor disagreements in the beginning of their relationship.
One of you may be a tidy freak while the other prefers to eat at home every night.
You and your friend may grow apart as time goes on because you each develop different hobbies.
One of you may not realise a personal or professional goal, such as becoming a doctor or making a certain amount of money.
If you want your relationship to last, you must prioritise your commitment at all times, demonstrating to one another that you will continue to love and adore each other through the inevitable ups and downs.
Don't Shy Away From Participation & Contribution
The key to a happy relationship is for both partners to feel that they are contributing equally, despite their distinct responsibilities. It's best when they don't give more weight to anyone else's opinion or set of priorities than what they feel right about, with each other. It's heaven when both partners feel like they're making significant contributions to the connection.
Asking for and showing appreciation for the other person's opinion is a great method to cultivate this kind of equality. Make an effort to reach agreements on major problems as a couple, such as how to split up home chores or how much money should be set aside for retirement, and practise coming up with workable solutions or compromising when arguments arise.
Be aware of your verbal habits.
Couples who seek therapy often report that their lack of communication is at the root of their issues. You and your significant other must effectively communicate and pay close attention to one another in order to thrive as a couple. According to research, all it takes for a couple to maintain their closeness is 20 minutes a day of conversation.
In addition, how well and deeply you discuss topics is important.
Knowing when to take a break from a particular topic if it gets too intense for any on partner is also a good practise - as long as you can get back to it amicably and end the discussion. Discussions always don't need one party to be right and the other to be wrong, both can have their own opinions and if both partners respect this, it will help their them grow to love each other more.
Not vengefully waiting for an opportunity to prove the other person wrong, and peacefully accepting another opinion helps because you understand its not about being RIGHT OR WRONG, its about accepting being different in your thoughts.
Scientists have discovered that partners that remain together are the ones that have been considerably more likely to provide words of appreciation, support, or encouragement to one another than those who choose to part ways. Many people in long-lasting relationships also routinely do little things to show their love for one other, such as saying "I love you" every day, hugging and kissing each other often, working out together/ playing a sport and rubbing each other's backs. Acts of kindness like these, strengthen relationships. What's important is that you and your partner make an effort to express your affection for one another in some way.
Find productive ways to resolve conflicts.
Conflict is inevitable, even in the healthiest of relationships. If a couple wants to avoid fighting, they might put off dealing with their issues until they escalate. A well-balanced disagreement can clear the air and shed light on opposing viewpoints. Confidence in the stability of your relationship might come from knowing that you and your partner both value honest communication.
Since disagreements are inevitable, it's crucial to learn effective methods for resolving them and moving past them. You should avoid saying hurtful things about each other's personalities or habits, since this can erode trust and diminish a sense of belonging and value in the relationship. Saying "I'm sorry" when you've done or said something you wish you hadn't is another part of being remorseful.
Try to put aside your emotions and look at the issues rather than arguing about who is "right" or "wrong" in a debate. Don't label your partner as lazy or careless just because they're the one who's causing your financial distress by not paying the bills on time. Instead, you may remark, "I'm worried about how late we are in paying our bills." Our future home-buying potential may be compromised if this continues. Or, "I've noticed that we've got a lot of late charges on our invoices." Let's get our heads together and find out a way to guarantee prompt payment of these.
How you handle arguments will determine the health of your relationship. Competences that are useful to have can be taught. Talking to a marriage therapist or other counsellor can help you and your partner figure out how to deal with the problems that are producing strain in your relationship.
Create a safety net for yourself.
Many newlyweds believe they are complete with one another and require no outside support. Ultimately, this is proven to be false. Couples who choose to stay together typically require a lot of help and encouragement to put in the effort required to keep their relationship healthy. This could come from someone in their social circle. However, it may also originate from institutions that are a direct reflection of their core beliefs.
Some married couples find each other naturally supportive. There are two possible explanations for this: either they come from close-knit families or they have a naturally sociable disposition. Others might have to put in more efforts to cultivate a social support system. Engaging in a local group, be it a parents' club, a neighbourhood watch, or a sports team, may be a great way to meet like-minded people and discover mutual support. Initiating contact with others is also beneficial; this could include hosting a get-together or asking a new coworker over for dinner.
Ensure your autonomy by giving yourself space.
It's common for newly dating couples to desire to spend every waking moment together. However, over time, it's important to give each partner some space to develop not only as an individual but also as a member of the pair.
This means that it's important for both people in the partnership to have time to themselves, to hang out with their own friends and to follow their own individual passions. Taking time apart from your partner isn't a sign that you're growing apart; rather, it's a healthy method to give your relationship "space to breathe" and demonstrate that you value and appreciate each other's individuality. When you're away, it might also serve as a poignant reminder of how much you miss one another. By allowing each other time to pursue interests apart from the other, you may find that doing so brings new experiences and friends into your shared lives, which in turn strengthens your relationship.
Participate in one another's Daily Rituals
There is a strong correlation between couples who have established meaningful rituals and customs in their relationship and a higher likelihood of the relationship lasting. Even if one partner is away on business, it is common for couples to engage in daily routines such as sharing a meal, going for a stroll, or talking before turning in. Many people look forwards to their weekly traditions, whether they are attending to the same church or eating at the same restaurant every Friday. Some people do the same thing every year, whether it's having a BBQ or going to the same concert.
This sort of shared experience can serve as an emotional glue that keeps a couple together and clarifies their shared goals in life. Whether or not your rituals hold significance for you and your partner is more important than the rituals themselves. Rework the best practises from each side of the family, come up with some new ones, or do a little of both. If you want to continue to enjoy them together, adapt them as your requirements or lives evolve.
Couples that manage to stay together through thick and thin often find time to enjoy each other's company. Some couples dedicate one evening every week to spending time together as a "date," even if it's just ordering pizza and taking a stroll under the moonlight. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a good time together.
Having fun as a relationship requires consistently reassessing what constitutes "fun." Take up a new pastime, sport, or volunteer endeavour as a couple if you find that you and your life partner aren't as happy as you once were together. Even if you don't share many common hobbies, it's important to find something you can do together. Keeping your sense of humour and finding common ground for laughter is also beneficial.
The vast majority of healthy partnerships have eight or nine of the ten hallmarks outlined here. The two of you can make relationship building a top priority by incorporating these ideas into your routine.
If you're someone who has not yet found your ideal life partner, consider going through our Perfect Soulmate Programme where we help people take control of their own internal programming for love towards a healthy, soulful, long lasting relationship / marriage.