Have you been together for more than a month? That’s a great start. Maybe you’re starting to think that there’s something worth cultivating in this relationship. Well, here are some secrets from couples who’ve lasted for years that you might find helpful.
We all want things to be fine all the time but that’s not going to happen. Things are going to go wrong, and that’s OK. A good couple knows how to lean on each other when things get tough. It comes back to the principles of compromise.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
When we run from a rabid badger, we use a lot of energy really quickly. Go fast and don’t worry about the future; I just don’t want to get eaten by a badger! But when you’re planning a life of love and happiness, you have to use different muscles. Those muscles include patience, understanding, forgiveness and compromise. There will be challenges and hard times for years to come. Breathe through it, stretch and get ready for that long road – it’s worth it.
The key to lasting a long time is being able to communicate openly and safely with each other. In a short-term relationship, feel free to keep most things to yourself but when you hit long-term, that won’t work anymore.
Manage your expectations
Similarly, when you are playing a long game you have to strategize differently. You cannot expect your mate to always be at their best nor should you expect to always be your best self. A short-term relationship doesn’t get mixed up with that. Think of traditional wedding vows: richer or poorer, better or worse, and etc. Those are more realistic expectations.
Encourage them to have their own interests
You can’t do everything together and you shouldn’t want to – how boring. In a long relationship you have to support one another’s unique interests. If that doesn’t excite you, think of this way – when Dave goes camping with the guys, you get the place to yourself for the weekend. Rom-com binge in your ‘jammies with ice cream!
Never take them for granted
One of the most important things about being in a long-term relationship is that you should never reach a point where you just assume the other one of you is going to be there tomorrow. Life is short and fleeting, and sometimes ends without warning. Every day, every hour you are together is a gift. Embrace that.
Entertain each other
On the sea of lifelong love, there will be days where there is no wind and the waters will be calm. You’ll be more bored than you can imagine. Always have a plan when you come to moments like these. Maybe it’s a trip to the movies, a picnic in the park, a tour of street food in the city or paintball! The key is to be prepared for those restless times.
That’s just the beginning of the conversation folks. There are hundreds of things that successful couples have to learn, sometimes the hard way. It’s why, when you’re at a show and someone says they’ve been together for thirty years, people clap for them – ‘cuz it ain’t easy.