Relationships are rarely easy. Even the most perfect of couples have had to face challenges and make tough decisions when creating a meaningful and long lasting relationship. As relationships age, priorities change, meaningful qualities shift, and we as individuals grow. Being able to maintain a healthy and happy relationship is no easy task.
While it may come more naturally for some couples, even they are constantly using communication techniques and positive behaviors to strengthen their relationships. We want to help you become aware of some of these great techniques so that you too can have a long and loving partnership.
It’s Okay to Get Upset
Getting upset is a normal and healthy emotion that we should all have every once in awhile. There are no couples that never ever get upset with each other. When couples say that they have never been in a fight before, what they are really saying is, they understand that sometimes their partner may get upset with them and that’s okay.
Anger is an emotion we use to release stress or tension that can get bottled up if we try to act like everything is okay for too long. Allowing your partner to get angry and release that tension is often times all that is needed to resolve the negative feelings. If every couple had to talk through every negative feeling they ever had towards their partners, everyone would be single. That leads us into our next important point.
Give Your Partner Space When Needed
If you do notice your partner is acting cold or seems upset it is only normal behaviour to ask them what is bothering them. They may say everything is fine, or they don’t want to talk about it. Do not push them into telling you every detail but let them know you are here for them when they are ready to talk.
Often the stress of work or other parts of life can lead to feelings of frustration in a relationship that aren’t always merited. If you allow a cooling time for both partners to gather their thoughts and work through the initial anger, you can move past the small issue more easily. If you push for more information you may open an unnecessary can of worms and actually create more frustration and anger.
This is of course a balancing act where both partners must remain aware of their feelings and each other’s behaviours. If your partner remains cold and unresponsive for a long period of time, it may be necessary for you to push a little deeper into the problem, as it is now affecting your relationship on a deeper level.
On the other side of things, if you initially thought the problem would resolve itself naturally but you now realize you need to discuss it with your partner, don’t continue to stew in anger and expect it to magically be fixed. You need to be the one to start a conversation and find a way to move past the issue together. Here is a great post on how to avoid arguing when dealing with negative issues.
Have Matching Big Pictures
This is definitely a tricky one and can be the make or break reality of so many partnerships. Couples who have long lasting relationships have the same big pictures for their lives.
Some matters are too important for compromise. If you are adamant about never having children and your partner has always dreamed of having a family, even if you manage to keep putting the conversation off, eventually this big picture problem will catch up with you. The importance of work, money, family, travel, and certain core values are all big picture deal breakers.
If you try changing your big picture to fit someone else’s, you will end up feeling frustrated, resentful and negative about the dreams that never came to pass.
Long lasting couples share the same future but not always the same smaller goals. One partner may see their work as a super important part of their life but also want a family, whereas their partner may think children are the ultimate big picture and want a partner who can support them.
If this couple is happy in the roles that they envision for their future, they are more likely to be supportive of each other’s smaller goals while they both reach for the same big picture of having a financially stable and successful family.
Compromising is Key
While it’s almost impossible to happily compromise on your big picture. The day to day life of a long lasting couple is all about compromise.
No two people are so alike or so perfectly opposite that they are truly missing puzzle pieces. Sometimes no one feels like doing the dishes, or taking the dog for a walk, or working overtime to make sure the bills are paid.
Compromising is all about knowing when to give and when to take. You must always be an active participant in your relationship and be aware of your partner’s feelings and needs. Knowing that your partner is willing to give up their happiness for a moment to make you happier and vice versa is what keeps your bond strong.
When you compromise with your partner, the happiness you give up should be replaced by the happiness you feel helping your partner. A couple who compromises evenly and fairly is a couple that lasts.
Romance, Romance, Romance
Too often couples lose their way when they lose their romance. They say the spark died, or that they realized they were only friends, and this is directly related to not actively being romantic anymore.
Romance is often looked at as grand and expensive gestures, when in reality romance is small and simple acts throughout the day, that show your partner they are constantly in your thoughts. The happiest and longest lasting couples are the first ones to slow dance at a wedding, and the ones that always kiss goodnight.
For more information on the importance of simple romantic gestures go here.
Sex isn’t the be all end all of romance but for some people it’s part of their big picture. If your partner sees sex as an important part of your relationship and romance, but you don’t, conflict is going to arise.
For some couples, sex is a compromise between what each partner really wants, for other couples it cannot be compromised. This is where our next point becomes important.
Keep on Open Line of Communication
Being able to communicate your needs to your partner, and listening to their needs in return, is the true cornerstone of every long lasting relationship. Couples that have good communication skills are able to stay on the same page and keep each other updated about how they feel and what their wants and needs are.
Having good communication skills keeps you from feeling surprised by your partner’s reactions and helps build trust and a strong bond.Good communication skills do not always come naturally, so it is important that you and your partner actively engage with each other regularly.
Try our Weekly Questions Challenge to help start the conversation. When discussing important issues, there are some communication guidelines that you can follow to allow both partners to feel equally heard and have both your feelings to be expressed. Go to our communications guidelines post for some great tips.
Building a long lasting relationship is no easy task but it is worth it for the beautiful and fulfilling partnership you will have created together. Remember that relationships are about having the same end goal. If you both want to make your partner happy, you will learn to compromise, communicate, be romantic, and share the same big picture, so that you can live equally fulfilling lives together. Good luck on your amazing LoveTrip, may it last a lifetime!