Nearly everyone knows that couple in their life is unshakeable. They are a couple who’ve been together for what seems like forever, they’re solid and strong, and basically, well, #relationshipgoals. If you’re starting a new relationship or looking to strengthen your relationship, you might start to think about how those couples are how they are. How do they keep their relationship so bulletproof over such a long time? Lucky you, because there are some common habits of couples in strong, long-lasting relationships, which means the secrets of those relationships could become your secrets too.
Relationships, of any kind, can be tricky business. So, if they were something you could do to strengthen your relationships and just overall make they better, wouldn’t you? Relationships aren’t easy, they have their bumps and they can take a whole lot of work.
It’s easy for us to see so-called “perfect” relationships, amongst your friends or family members and think that it just comes naturally to them. And yes, there are some parts of relationships that are easy. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t require work.
If you are willing to put in the effort, the time, and the attention then think about incorporating some of these habits of strong, long-lasting couples into your life and relationships. Maybe, you and your SO will be the new #relationshipgoals.
Christene Lozano, a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex addiction therapist candidate, advises “Recognize your part in arguments”. Accepting that everything isn’t their fault and you played a part yourself, will make your relationship more solid and less like a war.
It Takes Two
There will never be a situation in your relationship where it is entirely one person’s fault. Most commonly it is a situation where a mistake is made and then there is an opportunity for the partner to fix it that is passed by. Realizing that it will almost never be just one person’s fault, is freeing and strengthening.
Change is Constant
Change is a huge part of life. After birth, only it and death are guaranteed, “Successful couples can expect and accept change,” licensed marriage and family therapist Stephanie Macadaan explains. “Growing and adapting with life experience and age is healthy, but it can feel threatening to some in their relationship. Recognizing that change is a part of life and flowing with it is key to a healthy relationship.”
Listening is an important, and still often underrated, part of any interaction with others. It is especially important in romantic relationships according to Rori Sassoon, a relationship expert and founding partner of Platinum Poire. She impresses the importance of listening and not just hearing in a relationship.
Don’t let your fights drag on and fester, it can do real damage to your relationship. Jonathan Bennett, a Columbus, Ohio-based dating and relationship coach iterates, “a little space and time might be necessary for everyone to calm down and be more rational, but, a refusal to make up, especially as ‘punishment,’ can be very toxic to a marriage.”
“Couples who remain happily married also continue to date each other, even in a long-term commitment or marriage,” Jim Seibold, a Texas-based marriage and family therapist, tells. “They are purposeful about spending time and energy on each other. They find ways to demonstrate love, kindness… They make sure their partner knows without a doubt they are loved, even when they don’t feel particularly lovable at the time.”
Money can be an issue in relationships, however, in successful relationships there is no shying away from the financial topic. Therapist Kurt Smith said that fighting about money is a commonly-cited reason for ending a relationship, in an interview with HuffPost. Don’t let it get that far, converse and plan financially together.
Your Own Identity
Spending time together and having relatable interests are a must, but so is doing things individually and doing things apart. “A healthy balance between common interests and individual interests keeps the relationship fresh and interesting,” Maccadaan advises. “Becoming too merged with each other creates a stifling environment that can feel suffocating.”
Why So Serious?
Great long term relationships do require more serious conversations, but don’t get stuck in serious mode. Remember to laugh easily and have fun with your partner. clinical psychologist Dr. Samantha Rodman emphasised the importance of sharing funny moments with your significant other.
Communication is key in all relationships. As psychotherapist Jessica Meiman explains, “long-term, healthy relationships foster intimacy, which invites and welcomes often uncomfortable conversations in order to work and talk through issues, and come out, together, on the other side.” In a healthy long-term relationship, you should be free to discuss anything.
Gratitude and Appreciation
We can all fall into the trap of taking things for granted and failing to show appreciation. In your relationships, fighting this habit is a sure-fire way to strengthen and improve your situation. It makes sure your partner doesn’t feel underappreciated, and we all tend to be quick to tell what we don’t like. So, balance it out with what you do like too.
When it comes to love and relationships, especially, there are a lot of fantasies and fairy tales floating about. But in truth even the best relationships are no fairy-tales. “You are not going to live ‘happily ever after’; you will actually ‘live; happily, angrily, joyfully, sadly, etc. ever after,'” Macadaan says. “Understand that all relationships have down times, and rather than getting rattled and frustrated and less committed, approach those times with curiosity and as a learning experience, that will make your relationship stronger.”