Making a relationship last forever is something that many couples aspire to do. However, it can be challenging to know where to begin.
Whether you’re just starting a new relationship or you’ve been together for years, there are a few key things you can do to help make your relationship thrive.
According to experts, here are effective ways to make your relationship stronger and last forever.
Trauma and Relationship Coach, Conscious Thriving Relationships
There’s no doubt that intimate relationships can be challenging. Each partner comes in with their own unique propensities, style of communication, lifestyle preferences, attachment style, past traumas, and more.
So finding a good match for your personality and how you function in the world is half the challenge.
The other half is how you show up for the relationship daily and your abilities to:
- make a true connection
- repair from ruptures
- accept your differences
- find common interests and beliefs
- be supportive
- negotiate compromises
- share intimacy
- navigate difficulties
- forgive and recover
- communicate clearly and much more.
From my 20+ year marriage and ten years as a relationship coach trained in complex trauma, I’ve learned that most people have inner work to do to unwind their early relationship traumas and the dysfunctional survival strategies that sprung from them.
These strategies helped you get through difficult early life circumstances but now tend to cause conflicts and challenges in your adult relationships — including the one with yourself.
I believe this inner work is best done with the guidance and support of a skilled therapist or coach trained to work with developmental trauma and attachment issues.
That said, there are many practices that can be implemented in your relationship that can help you to create greater harmony and ease together so that your relationship is pleasurable and nourishing instead of draining and hurtful.
A lasting and healthy relationship is also supportive, connected, and joyful, like a well-made raft that carries you through life’s rapids and troughs instead of a fix-it project that you’re always working on.
Or for another analogy, I liken my relationship to a hammock, something I can rest in, knowing he’s got my back and that we’re on the same team, holding each other through it all.
Here are my ten keys to lasting love (in no particular order):
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sweating the small stuff is not worth it and undermines your connection. Learn to focus on what is working well between you instead of on the little things that annoy you.
It’s okay to mention them and see if they can be worked with, but don’t blow them out of proportion, or you may lose the relationship.
This goes with #1. Accept what you cannot change as long as you can live it. Nobody is perfect.
You’re unlikely to like everything about your partner. So acceptance is crucial if you don’t want to be constantly angry or disappointed in your relationship or shopping for the perfect relationship your whole life.
Accepting something doesn’t mean you like it. It just means you’re not constantly trying to change it. True acceptance will help you get along much better. If you cannot live with a certain behavior or pattern, it’s essential to bring it to the table for discussion or get outside help.
Share your true emotions regularly
Our emotions are expressions of our inner life. Sharing them helps us to feel more known and closer to each other. Make sure you express them without making the other person the cause of them.
Related: How to Express Your Emotions
Nobody can “make” you feel a certain way. When you suppress or avoid emotions, you’re likely to grow more distant.
Express your compassion
Compassion is when you wish for someone to be free of their suffering. It’s an acknowledgment of their struggle and may include a desire to help them with it.
Compassion helps your partner to feel seen and understood. It’s a demonstration of your care and concern and will help you to feel closer to each other. Judgment and trying to fix someone are not part of compassion.
Give and receive appreciation
Everyone needs appreciation to feel acknowledged for their presence, contributions, and actions. Not feeling appreciated enough is a common complaint in unhealthy relationships and builds resentment.
Giving appreciation is a heartfelt expression that creates connection. Try to provide nuanced appreciation that recognizes someone’s behavior, personality, or looks. Both giving and receiving appreciation will keep you feeling close to your partner.
Learn to take responsibility
Own your part of every situation by admitting your faults and mistakes and apologizing when necessary, and you’ll avoid escalating into conflicts. The alternative, blaming and playing the victim, will tend to push you apart and incite arguments or distance.
Create regular intimacy
Close relationships require intimacy. Physical and emotional intimacy are essential for experiencing depth and connection. Partners often have different levels of need around intimacy.
It’s important to discuss these differences and do your best to meet in the middle, so both people feel satisfied. Otherwise, resentment and distance grow over time.
Be respectful to each other
Everyone deserves respect and to be spoken to with kindness unless they are genuinely threatening to you. Sometimes, when we’re stressed out or upset, we forget to be kind and respectful, which can undermine the feelings of trust and safety essential for lasting relationships.
Don’t take everything so seriously
Laugh at yourselves, crack jokes, watch funny movies, play games and generally weave fun and silliness into your days. But also carve out a special time to play together.
When life is too serious, and everything feels like work, it’s easy to feel drained in the relationship. Playtime is rejuvenating and releases positive connecting hormones that help you feel happy and close again.
Make repairs if there’s a rupture
When there’s been a conflict or hurt feelings, that’s a rupture in your relationship. If it’s left without closure, you can grow more distant and resentful. A repair is when you come towards the other person to try to heal what happened. It includes the steps in number seven above.
You need humility to do this. You need to make healing the rift more important than being right or winning. The sooner you make the repair, the more trust you’ll build in the strength of your relationship. Don’t wait for the other person to come toward you.
Take the high ground and be the one who steps forward. Healthy relationships that last don’t necessarily have fewer arguments. They have more and easier repairs.
Most relationships need some work to be healthy and sustaining. Implementing these practices will get you off to a great start. And if you still run into roadblocks, it may be time to get some professional support.
Coach | Speaker | Author, “How to Get Your Man to Wear the Pants … So You Don’t Have To“
Keep learning about being a partner
People whose relationships last forever will tell you they had a lot to learn about being a partner. Often a person will blame their partner for the problems in their relationship.
The person is convinced that the only solution is for the other person to change. This does not lead to a relationship that lasts forever.
The vital lesson to learn to have a relationship that lasts forever is when something about your partner bothers you, ask yourself:
“What does this problem say about me? How do I have to change and grow so that my spouse will respond the way I want?”
This can be hard. It leads to your own personal growth and a happier relationship that can last forever.
Learn to handle the situation that bothers you
I was talking to a woman who told me that after working with her therapist, she decided to divorce her husband. I asked her if her therapist had told her what she could do — on her own — to improve the marriage.
She said her therapist told her it was him, not her. She didn’t understand that she could change her husband by changing how she handled the situations that bothered her.
Another woman told me that her husband was controlling. Several therapists advised her to divorce him, but she didn’t want to get divorced. Instead, she asked herself: “What are her husband’s good qualities?”
She thought that he was honest, hard-working, and reliable. She started focusing on appreciating his good qualities. As a result of her change, he became a lot less controlling, and she had a happy marriage.
Avoid criticizing your partner
I was coaching a man whose wife was frustrated that she always had to tell him what to do. He thought he was a non-controlling good man. He thought she was being overly dramatic.
I explained how he had to change and take the lead in day-to-day responsibilities at home and in the family. Instead of criticizing his wife, he started stepping forward and dealing with situations at home. She became happier.
I also coached his wife on that change. Instead of criticizing and complaining that her husband isn’t doing enough at home, I suggested to her what he needed to hear.
Tell him that she appreciates the help he gives her, but she also needs his help to figure out and plan how they will deal with situations at home, that he has good ideas, and she needs his input.
Take responsibility and learn how you need to change how you handle the situation, and you can have a relationship that lasts forever.
Relationship Coach | Creator, The Millionaire Marriage Club
Have consistent respect for your partner
A lasting relationship is characterized by consistent respect. Respect is the medium that grows and sustains love. This includes respectful language exchanges, even when in disagreement, avoiding exchanges like name-calling, silent treatment, accusations, and sarcasm.
It also means respectful behaviors such as common courtesies, like letting your partner know when you’ll be home, and kind gestures like walking the dog when the partner is too ill or tired to do it.
Maintain courtship rituals
A second characteristic is to maintain courtship rituals. Lasting relationships pay attention to the need to keep their love fresh by going on regular dates, calling each other pet names, and being habitually affectionate.
Maintain interest in each other’s concerns
A third essential component of a lasting relationship is maintaining interest in each other’s concerns. This means asking caring questions about the partner’s activities and listening with care to the answers.
It may also mean supporting the partner in a new activity like going back to school or starting a new business.
Work together to achieve mutual goals
And also, not lastly, but in addition to working together to achieve mutual goals for your future. A relationship with these characteristics consistently practiced will be so very valuable to both parties that neither would do anything to jeopardize it.
LGBTQ Relationship Expert | Founder, H4M Matchmaking
Compatibility and communication correlate to long-term sustainability
Ideally, your compatible relationship has long-term sustainability. With enough factors aligned, your relationship should be fulfilling and satisfying.
But we are human, and humans can be very flawed. Life is unpredictable, and there will be milestones that will throw either or both of you a curve. You need to be prepared to lean into it, remain self-aware, and stay ready to adjust accordingly.
You must work on being your best self when things are thrown the way you’re not expecting. It’s important to be mutually supportive, caring, loving, and kind in the face of an adversary with your partner.
Communicate your goals to your partner
Communication is vital, especially when it comes to big-picture items in your relationship like career planning and family planning.
It’s important to communicate those goals and timelines with your partner, so you both mutually agree on the trajectory of your relationship.
Work on the emotional maturity
As you age and grow together, each will need to work on the emotional maturity or the growth needed in your emotional intelligence to respond, support appropriately, and receive the support necessary to get through the many obstacles in your relationship.
It may even take hiring a professional on occasion to educate you both with the appropriate tools to succeed and support each other through tough times each year together. There are so many bumps in the road that you must be prepared to work through them as a team.
These obstacles can include:
- the divorce of your closest friends
- economic downturn
- a layoff, an unexpected pregnancy, or a lack of commitment
- the loss of a parent
- the loss of intimacy
- the impact to you both of menopause
- a challenge in mental wellness, or an issue with your physical health
Couples Counselor | EMDR Certified Therapist
Make sure you understand your partner
Partners in a conflict are usually more interested in winning the argument than understanding each other. Each is focused on what they’ll say when their partner quits talking, proving their partner wrong, and coming out “on top.”
Instead, try listening to understand. Try to fully understand your partner’s point of view before you explain your own. Do you understand exactly why it drives your partner crazy that you leave your socks in the middle of the room?
Before you say, “It’s not that big a deal,” ask your partner more about it. What does it mean that they have to clean up after you? What kind of feelings goes with that? You may learn a lot.
When I work with couples, one of my favorite moments is when they tell me, “We were able to be curious about how we each felt, instead of fighting about whose way was the right way.”
When I hear this, I know the couple has turned a corner and will be finished with therapy soon.
Use your words to communicate to your partner
Often, clients will expect their partner to “just know” how they are thinking, feeling, or why they are doing something. When their spouse gets it wrong, they’ll be hurt and upset.
The idea that your partner should be able to read your mind is, sadly, a fantasy. No matter how well your partner knows you, no matter how much they love you, there will be plenty of times they won’t understand you.
If you need their help, ask for it. If your feelings are hurt, tell them why.
Conversely, don’t assume you can read your partner’s mind. Are they quiet because they’re mad at you or because they had a bad day? There’s no way to know unless you ask.
When you use your words, you and your partner will be more attuned and understand each other better, leading to fewer misunderstandings and conflicts.
CEO and Lead Therapist, Naya Clinics
Surprise your partner as much as you can
Be it a surprise gift, vacation, date reservation, or just a surprise kiss. Surprises keep things exciting and interesting. They put smiles on anybody’s face and are effective icebreakers when things are tight and hard.
Surprising your partner tells them you think about them and are still putting effort into the relationship. If they like what you got for them, it’ll remind them of how much you know them and their tastes, allowing them to see you positively.
Stick to your words
When you say you’ll do something, you must come through. There’s no faster way to make your partner lose respect for you than not holding yourself accountable to your own words.
Doing what you say you’ll do shows integrity and strength, which is sexy in the eyes of the person who loves you.
Try out marriage and/or couples counseling
Contrary to popular opinion, therapy isn’t just a repair tool. Even when things are great, being counseled by a professional will help you discover new ways to love each other and strengthen your relationship, so it lasts forever.
Therapy can help you develop the skills to take your partner’s feelings into consideration and make decisions together more effectively. Counseling can also give you the tools you need to push through all the rough patches life throws at your relationship.
John F. Tholen, PhD
Retired Psychologist | Author, “Focused Positivity: The Path to Success and Peace of Mind“
Remember, the relationship wins when neither party does
As individuals, we cannot make a relationship function well, let alone last forever. The quality and the duration of a relationship depend on the actions and interactions of both partners.
The best we can do as half of a couple is:
- Commit ourselves to our partner by respecting their wishes and feelings more important than anyone else’s — and only slightly less than our own.
- Communicate our honest feelings and wishes through responsible self-assertion — avoiding aggression, threat, or insult.
- Tolerate and accept our partner’s innocent idiosyncrasies, normal human faults, weaknesses, and sincerely regretted mistakes.
- Respect our partner’s interpersonal boundaries (e.g., need for personal space, personal business, relationships, individual responsibilities, etc.).
- Consistently negotiate in good faith to find compromises that can resolve the conflicts that invariably arise.
- Prioritize the interests of the relationship — the “team of two” — over our personal interests.
- Remember that the relationship wins when neither partner wins or loses.
- Confirm that we understand our partner’s feelings and perspectives before we defend our own.
- Pursue and support our partner’s pursuit of a wellness lifestyle dedicated to thriving with respect to:
- Physical health
- Emotional health
- Intellectual or mental well-being
- Social support network
- Spiritual or philosophical balance (a sense of purpose and meaning)
- Occupational and financial security
- Creativity and self-expression
Certified Psychodynamic LMFT | Licensed Psychotherapist | Confidence and Assertiveness Specialist
Forever is a fallacy
The notion that relationships should last forever is based on movie standards and is an inaccurate expectation of relationships.
Making a relationship last forever is not as important as ensuring the relationship fulfills your needs and wants and creates an environment where you can get any other needs and wants to be met by the appropriate people in your support system.
“Quality over quantity” is a motto to live by regarding relationships. Longevity without feeling love is lonely.
How to ensure your relationship lasts a long time and is contributing positively to your life and well-being:
- You have aligned values and common goals.
- You have effective and respectful communication.
- You have chemistry, compatibility, and connection on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
- You understand that your partner can and will change over time, and you are ready to do what it takes to meet them again and again.
- You realize that your partner is not your everything, nor are you their everything.
- You realize that the relationship is one role amongst many in a fulfilling life.
Matchmaker | Chief Partnerships Officer, Rivet Boutique Matchmaking
Recognize that it takes a village
Many couples like to believe that their relationship is all about the two of them becoming one when they decide to commit to each other. I’ve heard folks say things like “It’s us against the world” and “As long as we have one another, we don’t need anyone else.”
Perspectives like these exclude acknowledgment of the external factors and presences that have shaped each individual and have influenced who they have become before their relationship.
The familial relationships and friendships that we rely on in our lives, separate from a partner, shouldn’t evaporate the moment we get into a romantic relationship. If anything, some of those relationships might benefit even more intentionality in maintaining the bond.
In the same way, we understand that “It takes a village” to raise a child, we should recognize the need for external support when it comes to nurturing a romantic relationship.
A partner cannot be all things to one person. They cannot be your parent, your sibling, your best friend in the whole wide world, and your lover. That’s a lot to ask and/or expect of just one person.
And to continue littering this with quotes, we might do ourselves well to recognize that “Distance can make the heart grow fonder.” Not every moment needs to be spent with, talking to, or talking about your partner.
Embrace your individuality (with boundaries that respect your commitment, of course) and do your best to remain true to who you are at your core.
It’s also important to recognize the positive influence quality counseling and therapy can have on your relationship. Many people tend to get into therapy when something has gone wrong, but counseling, whether alone or as a couple, also comes in handy for managing everyday situations.
With opportunities to get to know ourselves better, we can become better partners.
Never lie to your partner
Relationships are built on trust. Respect leads to value, and value leads to trust. With that trust, you can be who you are without worrying you will be judged as less valuable.
That is how you make a relationship last forever, how you can share differences of opinions openly and honestly, and how you can respect without having to agree.
Be aware of the other person
If they seem happy, sad, angry, scared, confused, or unsure, notice and ask if you have it right. With the foundation of trust, you can have those discussions, but as soon as you notice, you are communicating that you care.
We all want the same thing — to feel valued by someone else. By noticing, you communicate that you are paying attention and care.
Appreciate little things
If the relationship is between love partners, say “I love you” at least once a day. If the relationship is between professionals, voice your appreciation and gratitude at least once a day.
Do something kind, remind someone of their value. Every time you remind someone of their value, you increase your own value, and everyone wants to feel valued.
Wonder instead of worry
Wonder why the person is doing what they are doing without judgment. Be reflective instead of reflexive. We are all doing the best we can, and the question is, “Why do we do what we do?”
Back to that trust thing! When you trust, you can share why you do what you do without fearing you will be seen as less valuable.
Laugh with each other every day
Laughing with each other is an expression of joy. It is that joy of being together, wanting to be together, and loving being together that helps a relationship last a lifetime.
Enjoy each other, and share a laugh. It feels great!
Talk with each other, not to each other
My wife and I rarely argue, but on one occasion, during an argument, she said to me, “I’m sorry I make your life so miserable.” This is a dangerous moment for a spouse. “I never said you made my life miserable,” I replied.
Without hesitation, she responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.” We both started laughing, the argument was over, and we were able to talk with each other, not at each or to each other, about our different perspectives.
To make a relationship last forever, it needs three things:
Both sides must commit to giving everything it takes to make it work
First is commitment. It is easy to commit to staying with something when it is going well, but when there are bumps in the road, to make the relationship last, keep the course.
Work through the challenges; that is how you grow. People and situations change, so be flexible. Remember why you entered the relationship and the positive factors that attracted you to it.
Don’t compare your relationship to others
Second, don’t compare your relationship to others. What you see in other relationships is your perception as an outsider. No relationship is perfect, regardless of how it appears.
Have trust in each other
Third, have trust. A relationship without trust is not worth having. You need to know you can trust the person you are with, and they need to know they can trust you.
Related: Trust Building Exercises for Couples
That means what you say in confidence remains in confidence, do what you say you will, and know you can both count on each other always.
Happy relationships are the ones that last forever. Commitment, focusing on your relationship and not the life you perceive others are living, and trusting each other are qualities that will make a relationship last forever.
Author | Owner & Content Curator, Home Faith Family
Nurture your relationship and work on it constantly
To make a relationship last forever, it’s important to nurture it and work on it constantly. Relationships take effort, and the key is to never take each other for granted.
Make sure you always express your love and appreciation for each other, communicate openly and honestly, and never stop caring about each other’s happiness.
There are four ways to strengthen and nurture your relationship
- Communicate with your partner. This is probably the most important thing you can do to make your relationship last. Talk about your feelings, and listen to what your partner has to say.
- Be supportive of each other. Offer encouragement and accept your partner for who they are.
- Spend time together. Make time for each other, and try not to spend too much time apart. Quality time together is essential for a strong relationship.
- Be honest with each other. If something is bothering you, talk about your feelings openly and honestly.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun together! Life is too short not to enjoy the ride with those you love best.
Lifestyle Blogger, KT Likes Coffee
When you get married, you expect a relationship to last forever. You ask friends and family who have been married, “What’s the secret?” And, you probably get responses like “date each other” or “happy wife, happy life.”
Or, my personal favorite, “Never go to bed angry.”
Never stop talking to each other
While those examples can all be true and provide valuable insight into successful relationships, they all have one underlying thing in common: They revolve around communication.
And that is the natural way to make a relationship last forever.
Communication, in general, is always essential, but it is crucial in a relationship. Talking to each other, telling each other everything, even the bad things, are so important. When you communicate with your partner, your relationship is stronger and better because of that communication.
Don’t keep secrets from each other
Never stop sharing stories about your workday or the kids or childhood memories that randomly pop into your head. Don’t keep secrets from each other and always talk about things that are bothering you or how you feel.
Related: How to Not Let Things Bother You
Many relationships fail because one or both partners don’t feel seen or heard. And that’s likely because, at some point, the lines of communication got less and less.
Your partner should be the person that you talk to about everything. And that’s where responses like “date each other” or “never go to bed angry” are helpful. They encourage communication. If you constantly communicate and your relationship will last forever.
When you go on a date with your partner, talk about your day or work or what you liked and didn’t like about the movie you just saw.
Talk to your partner like you’re talking to your best friend
Talk to your partner like you are talking to your best friend because your partner should be your best friend, the person you can talk to about anything.
Never go to bed angry
The same goes for the idea, “Never go to bed angry.” Although you sometimes have to go to bed angry because some fights resolve better the following day, you should still make it a point to discuss that fight or why you or your partner were angry.
If you just keep it bottled up inside, resentment can build up towards your partner, which is detrimental to a relationship. Communicate kindly about what made you angry or upset and try to figure out how to resolve things so they won’t happen again.
If you don’t communicate and you just brush off the argument or situation that made you or your partner upset, you won’t resolve anything. You will keep things bottled up inside, and that is never good.
Communicate with your partner, and your relationship will continue to blossom and thrive.
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