When you ask a couple in this day and age how long they have been together, it seems as if the longer they say, the more shocked we are. It used to be the norm that once you married someone that was your forever, but divorce rates are still on the rise and long-term relationships can sometimes seem something of an enigma.
Keeping a relationship long-term appears to be no easy feat, but then surely anything worth having is worth fighting for?! Our grandparents’ generation were the ones who fixed problems, rather than deciding to walk away. We’re not saying that people don’t try or that all problems can be fixed, but sometimes people forget how much they loved their partner to begin with. Good relationships don’t just happen, they are a work in progress and that work continues as you grow and develop, both separately and together.
There are no secrets to creating the perfect relationship as it rarely exists, but what you can create is a meaningful, happy and long-lasting relationship that can survive the lows as well as the highs.
Some of the best relationships are those born off the back of friendships because there is a mutual respect that arises from a friendship which is fundamental for a successful relationship, romantic or otherwise. Starting off as friends can help you learn all about the other person, without the added intensity of a romantic relationship.
Talk about everything, literally. When starting out in your budding relationship, be it friendly or otherwise, talk about anything and everything. This will help you learn what kind of person the other is and whether you are compatible as friends, lovers or life partners.
Sit down and watch the news together or read a controversial story and discuss it. This will help show you their moral compass and whether you’re on the same page, or at least compatible when it comes to things you care about and have a passion for.
There is often the “honeymoon” period at the beginning of a relationship where everything is amazing, new and exciting, and all things have a golden glow. This period lasts for different lengths of time for all couples, but when it’s over you kind of jump straight into the pyjamas on the sofa with a takeaway, and become too comfortable, leading to either one or both of you feeling like they’re bored or the relationship has become mundane.
To stop this from happening, try to be spontaneous every once in a while. Every other week or each month have a date night where you take it in turns to plan a surprise for the other. Or simple things like bringing home a small gift, even something as silly as a fridge magnet, just to break the norm and let them know they’re in your thoughts.
Don’t hold back
After a while, we can start to take for granted that our partners know how we feel about them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to still hear it too. Don’t be embarrassed to show you care and to be intimate. Obviously, some people aren’t keen on public displays of affection, but find a balance you’re both comfortable with, like holding hands or a kiss on the cheek, and show them and the world how you feel.
Review your relationship and goals
When people are in the early stages of their relationship, they talk about what they want from meeting someone and where they see a romance leading long term. However, as time passes these topics are rarely discussed any more. It’s a great idea to schedule in some time for you both to have a review of your relationship and your relationship goals too. We wholeheartedly recommend that you plan a ‘business meeting’ once a month to do this, some good things to talk about would be what you appreciate about your partner, what you personally could work on or how you would like to move forward in the coming months and years. Make sure that you don’t put these off, and schedule them in regularly as it can be easy to brush these reviews aside.
Above all else, be honest with them and be honest with yourself. As soon as honesty goes it is hard to pull it back. Just remember, all good things are worth working and fighting for, so if you have found something good then hold on tight.
“To the world you are just one person, but to just one person, you are the world.” Unknown.