Keeping your primary relationship healthy, positive, supportive isn’t easy.
New relationships are full of fun, flirtation, and intense passion. They’re also full of fresh flowers, plenty of time behind closed doors, and spontaneous dates. But what happens when the honeymoon phase fades?
The truth is, over time, our feelings in our relationships do change. The sparkly and exhilarating rush of falling in love is not permanent. But that does not mean that this feeling disappears; it simply evolves. The idea that the excitement of a relationship is sentenced to only the first months or even years a couple is together is completely false.
When it comes to a long-term relationship with a partner we ourselves chose, we can maintain the thrill of being in love, and deepen our feelings of passion and intimacy. However, to do this means avoiding certain behaviors, habits, and traps that couples commonly fall into the longer they stay together.
Here are our tips to help couples stand the test of time.
Make Sure to Have Joyful Time Together
The ability to laugh with one another is a true sign of vitality in a relationship. It’s important to be able to share in and experience joy together. A sense of humor helps smooth the waters when our interactions become stormy. Being able to laugh at our shortcomings and at our partner’s idiosyncrasies can steer us away from unwarranted dramas and keep our relationship alive.
Practice Effective Communication
One of the biggest keys to long-lasting love is effective communication strategies. Being transparent with your partner isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. Learn to communicate your emotions, struggles, and needs. Be honest with your partner about how something they did upset you. Tell them how you need more alone time with them to maintain a healthy relationship. Avoid silent treatments, screaming matches, and passive remarks. Be open to difficult conversations and confrontations initiated by your partner. And never speak without thinking first!
Be Open to New Experiences
When a relationship gets closer, couples often risk growing apart by closing off to new experiences or limiting each other in certain ways. Love doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We have to share time and activities to keep it thriving. Pay attention to what makes our partners happy, their interests, and be careful not to take actions that will restrict that happiness.
Show Your Love, Don’t Hold Back
Love doesn’t exist unless it is treated as a vital and living force between two people. Saying “I love you” holds far less meaning than showing our love to someone. Show excitement when you see each other, make time to just talk, and be sure to make spontaneous affection part of your everyday life. Small steps, like holding hands and making eye contact, are easy to overlook in the face of busy schedules and responsibilities, but they can be key to keeping love exciting.
Reach your relationship goals with love and trust. Trust is a huge part to any relationship, especially the romantic ones.
Create a bond of trust that allows you to feel relaxed and secure in your partnership. You should be able to trust that your partner is faithful, reliable, and dependable.
The same goes for your partner! Show your partner you’re committed and available for their needs.
Build Independent Hobbies
Avoid co-dependency by creating your own friend circles and independent hobbies. Scheduling intentional time away from your partner is beneficial and healthy. Encourage your partner to pursue their hobbies of community softball or dancing while you explore your love for painting and pottery. Schedule nights out with your friends while your partner is with their friends. With effective communication and trust, you’ll be able to do well when apart!
Much of relationship success stems from support. Be your partner’s biggest fan.
Support and validate their ambitions, career goals, and personal goals. For example, if your partner wants to eat healthier, explore new recipes with them. Surprise them with a delicious, healthy dinner! If you don’t feel supported by your partner, have that conversation with them. They may not realize they’re giving the cold shoulder.
Invest in Physical Intimacy
Set aside time in the week for physical connection. It can be very beneficial to prioritize physical intimacy.
Physical intimacy doesn’t have to mean sexual intercourse. It may include kissing, cuddling, or holding hands while watching a movie. You can even take a bubble bath together!
Remember to be Generous
Being generous involves being giving of yourself, but it also means being accepting of what’s given to you. Be sure to show appreciation, even when gifts and acknowledgment are hard for you to receive. When it comes to the natural give and take in a relationship, it’s important not to keep score. Being generous will make you feel warmly toward your partner and good about yourself, two elements that keep the spark alive.