A relationship like everything else in this world is in constant change. Most couples start out with dreams of romances and passion but soon encounter the pitfalls of infidelity, differing priorities or plain tedium. Here are a few ways to overcome the downsides and make a relationship last forever.
Keep paying compliments. Among the first signs that two people have begun to take each other for granted is the absence of compliments in their mutual exchanges. Every being - and that includes your partner too - needs to be assured that he/she is still as attractive, funny and special as when you first fell in love. Just remember how wonderful it feels to be paid a compliment by your partner and then do the same for him/her.
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Make time for each other. While in the first days of your relationship, you just couldn’t stay away from your partner, now you barely get to see him/her other than the weekends. It is natural for people to get on with their working or domestic lives, no matter how great the emotional upheavals, but at the same time it is equally important that you both spend some quality time together. Keep aside around twenty minutes of a day purely for each other. Don’t allow distractions from the outer world or even kids during this “us” time and refrain from discussing work or domestic responsibilities. Just be there for each other.
Don’t stop communicating
Often when partners feel that their emotional needs are not being met in the relationship, they simply stop communicating with each other. They may talk of work, kids and whether to have the Smiths over for lunch on Sunday but the real concerns, joys and anxieties felt by either partner often do not get articulated. Remember that sharing what you both think and feel is the first step of getting rid of the cobwebs which if allowed to grow can smother in a relationship.
Pursue common interests
After the heady days of passion are over, couples need other areas of interests to keep them together. Sharing hobbies is a remarkable way of doing so since it lets you spend time with each other while creating something new and different together. It is not necessary for a couple to love exactly the same things in the same way but perhaps share a couple of interests, other than their relationship, which will let them talk and do things with each other. So if you both love the outdoors, explore options like gardening, bird-watching, hiking or something more adventurous like rock-climbing. For those who are drawn to the power of the written word can try joining book clubs, amateur theater groups, community periodicals or simply make a visit to the library a part of their weekend routine.
Don’t forget to have fun
Mystery dates, surprises and even role playing are all wonderful ways of keeping the element of fun in a relationship. Secretly plan a day with your partner at a circus or try to replicate his/her favorite Lebanese dish at home. Once in a while surprise your partner with a gift or perhaps just a bunch of his/her favorite blooms and see the difference it makes to your relationship in the long run.
Thrash out the finances
Money is one of the most common reasons for couples breaking up. It can be because you have too much of it, not enough of it or feel differently on how to spend and save. To sort out such issues, talk about your individual financial priorities as well as how much you are willing to give to your relationship. If living together, draw up a budget and decide who pays for what and how much. Here once again, effective communication is the key to better understanding of personal as well as mutual financial responsibilities.
Contemporary popular culture’s obsession with sex has left practically every relationship bogged down with doubts. Couples worry whether they are doing it too often, not often enough, the right way or for the right reasons. Here the solution is to find what works for your relationship and stick to that. However issues like sexual incompatibility or absence of sex should be worked out with sensitivity and if needed with the help of a professional.
Respect each other
Couples who have been together for a long time vouch for the importance of mutual respect in a relationship. After the rose-tinted glasses have come off and you are just two individuals trying to make the best of a partnership, it is crucial that you continue to respect each other’s values, life goals, space and families. You may no longer share exactly the same dreams for future or believe in God the same way, but you can make your relationship last forever if you treat each other with consideration and respect.
Take a break
One of the easiest ways to energize a relationship is to leave it all behind and simply leave with your partner. Take a vacation and let work, family, friends do the best they can without you. Use the break to recoup mentally and physically as well as to come closer to your partner. If you have financial constraints or small kids and cannot go away for long periods, consider taking a weekend off at a health resort or a quiet place in the country.
And finally, don’t forget to say “I love you”. No matter how long you have been in a relationship or how busy you are, expressing your love verbally is essential if you want your relationship to last forever. These three words not only mean what they say but also that your partner is special to you and despite every other reality, this one remains supreme and unchangeable.
“…and they lived happily ever after”. While princesses and princes can bask in the glow of fairy-tale endings, things are not so smooth for couples in real life. However if you remember to take each day as it comes with patience and understanding besides being ready to put in some hard work, there is no reason you cannot make a relationship last forever.