You have probably seen the pictures on Pinterest- an old man kissing his wife’s wrinkled cheek, seventy year olds jumping on the bed holding hands in matching pajamas- relationships that have lasted a lifetime. It’s been said that the need to love and be loved is our strongest universal need. So how do we create loving relationships that last? While I could easily write from experience a thousand ways to get it wrong, I have realized a few ways to get it right:
Feel Lucky: Choose your love, and then fiercely love your choice. Remind yourself each day to cherish your partner (and to cherish yourself for that matter). Think back on how much you wanted to find love, realizing that it’s right in front of you. You get to go through life with someone who loves you by your side. How lucky!
Dream Together: The monotony of the day to day can make any relationship feel a little dull. By regularly setting aside time to dream together, you pull yourself out of the daily grind to plan for the future. It can be an activity for the weekend, a big trip in the summer, plans for a home remodel, even an idea for a business or invention. Dreaming together unites your vision for an exciting future.
Be Your Partner’s Biggest Fan: A man married for almost forty years once told me, “I love her more than my own life, and she’s my biggest fan.” You have the opportunity not only to dream together, but to support each other’s unique dreams. Make it a priority to cheer for one another. Recognize the good he does, and help him reach his goals.
Don’t Correct Your Partner in Public: You may have seen this couple: he is telling a story to the group, and his wife interjects every sentence over some minor detail he misreported or left out. It seems like a small thing, but it reflects a deeper issue: being overly critical of your partner. Lasting relationships are built on accepting the other person completely as they are. In other words, love him wholly and let the small stuff go.
Fill Your Cup: And we are back to you! The biggest secret to a lasting relationship is making sure that you are happy. There are days when our partner can’t do anything right- even the way he blows his nose is annoying! If you’re at that point, it’s almost guaranteed that you are the one feeling miserable. You are likely being too hard on you, and are consciously or subconsciously beating yourself up. Do what you need to reset, and you’ll again feel lucky to get to spend life with this person. And the best part? They chose you, too!