It is often easy to overlook the facts about long-term relationship success with so many stories about relationship failures. In fact, many are astonished that for first marriages, almost 70% last at least ten years, with 55% surviving beyond twenty years. Not only surviving but thriving, with men stating they crave romance, too. So how do you keep the romance alive for decades?
Express Your Feelings
In studies, expressing affection and feelings of love for your partner is a key ingredient in romantic, long-term relationships. These relationships included couples who were both married and cohabitating without the benefit of marriage. It was shown that the happiest committed couples expressed their feelings openly and often.
It’s not necessary for these expressions be overly sentimental. Nor do they require overt public displays of affections. However, sharing your feelings makes your partner feel you care about their emotions, which can contribute dramatically to a happier, more fulfilled romantic partnership. It also is not vital that you actually speak the words! You can show your partner you love them by a compliment by showing you’ve been listening to them, gently touching a shoulder, or by simply saying thank you. Gratitude goes a long way.
Keep Your Physical Relationship Alive
Sex is not everything in a relationship, but a physical connection is a hugely important aspect in most happy, long-term relationships. Making time to connect despite hectic schedules, kids, or outside commitments lets our partner know that the relationship, and their love, is still a priority in our lives. Holding hands, kissing, human touch, connection, and affection are vital components to human life.
We are born to need to connect to other people, and our partner is the one we look to when we need comfort. Making a date night regularly, whether once a week or once per month, is a great way to ensure you maintain that romantic connection with one another, despite the pressing demands of life.
Resolve Conflict Respectfully
Nothing hurts a relationship more than explosive arguing and blame. All long-term relationships will experience disagreement and conflict at some point. The key to surviving and thriving long-term involves learning how to “fight fair” and to resolve these issues with respect for your partner. Only discuss the issue at hand. A problem with one thing should never be an excuse to throw old wrongs in your partner’s face.
In fact, if you are using old mistakes against your partner, you never really dealt with that mistake when it happened. Furthermore, you’ve allowed resentment to build up over time. When an issue is tackled and dealt with, it should be in the past and must remain there.
You should always attempt a middle ground and a compromise you both can live with. If you say you forgive, you should not bring up the issue again. Be willing to forgive, when possible, or seek outside professional help if you can’t. There may be times you must agree to disagree. And if tempers are out of control, take a break, walk away, and come back to the discussion later, with a cooler head.
Look Back on Your Relationship
Life gets rocky. There is no denying that loving long-term is often challenging and takes concentrated effort to make it last. Yet, for many successful couples, they come together to look back at the earliest stages of their partnership during the worst times. This often helps them remember all those qualities they were so sure would be the things that would make this relationship stand the test of time. Often, that is enough to restore hope for the future.
Flooding the present with memories of happier times often causes a renewed sense of worth. The positive recall makes a couple determined to restore the love as it was, knowing that the relationship is worth saving and sticking to. It reminds a couple that they have been through ups and downs together for too long to throw away.
Long-term relationships are sustainable when two people started a relationship to stay together. Make time for one another, listen, and forgive your partner. Make sure they know you love them, whether you say those words often or simply show them by your actions. It only takes a bit of effort to keep the romance alive.
These simple steps and regular connection can ensure that your spark never goes out, no matter how many years you are blessed to share together.