Whether you’ve been married for years, or you’re just starting to form a new romantic relationship, learning the secrets to building a long-lasting relationship is imperative if you want to have a relationship that is filled with love, joy, and harmony.
Any issues you avoid, or truths you don’t want to acknowledge, will likely undermine your relationship. It’s better to face the truth squarely in the face right now and address it, rather than let it sabotage your relationship in the long run.
For that reason, be intentional and figure out the truth about your relationship. Think through all aspects of it—your feelings and thoughts, the other person’s feelings and thoughts, as well as their external context. If you notice yourself flinching away from a certain aspect of reality, this is the time to double down your focus and really get at the truth.
Show Respect & Earn Trust:
Both partners have to respect each other. Learn to give your partner some time, and you need to set apart some ‘me’ time. Hold conversations in ways that would not lead to disrespect or raising your voices at each other. Trust helps build on your relationship. A relationship without trust is not one at all. Learn to trust yourself first, and it will become easy to trust your partner. The more you trust each other, the more respect you will have for one another.
Develop empathy and really listen to each other:
Good communication often starts with a desire to understand other points of view. How many arguments have you had that have just spiraled out of control because no one is really listening or attempting to understand? I think one of the most important things we can all do, whether for a relationship or not, is to develop a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Grudge-holding, bitter thoughts, and negativity towards others will only backfire if you hold onto it.
Use Tell Culture:
Tell Culture is a communication strategy where you are open and honest with close people in your life about your feelings, thoughts, and what’s going on with you. This makes you more vulnerable and authentic. Tell them information about yourself that you think they’d want to know.
For example, if you want a hug, tell the other person that you’d enjoy a hug. However, in order for Tell Culture to work, it’s really important for you not to expect the other person to hug you. Rather, you are simply responsible for telling them about your needs and desires,. They are then free to act as they choose, based on their own needs and desires.
Spend quality time as a couple regularly:
It might be easy to slip into a mundane routine, especially if you and your significant other life together. However, you don’t have to drastically change your life, go on expensive dates or adrenalin-fueled adventures to make a big difference in your relationships. Put aside one day a week for a ‘date night’ and aim to do something totally different together every week. Eat and cook together or try out a new hobby.
Appreciate the little things:
When you’ve been together for quite a while, it might seem easy to take your partner for granted. Say “thank you” more, tell them you love them or send cute texts (in moderation of course). Let your partner know how much he/she means to you so they never feel taken for granted. This is probably one of the most important tips for a strong relationship.
All of these strategies will help you build up trust, which is key to having happy, lasting relationships. Always keep a personal evaluation of your relationship’s level of trust in the back of your mind. How much do you trust the other person to act in ways that match your mental model of that person? How much do you trust that person to have your back?
If you want an intentional relationship, then do things to build trust and gather information about the other person’s trustworthiness. Exhibit vulnerability and openness, share secrets and be generous in your offers to compromise. If the other person shows themselves trustworthy, then commit more to the relationship. If they do not, then re-evaluate your own level of commitment, as the relationship likely will not work in the long term.