How to Make a Relationship Last Long
How to Make Your Relationship Work
Every person who is in love believes that his or her relationship is going to last forever. If you ask any newly wedded couple about it, they will tell you how passionately in love they are with each other and that their love will see them through. Researchers point out that passionate love is like a drug that will give you a high, but will not last long. On the other hand, they say, companionate love, with frequent passionate highs will make your relationship a long lasting one. I wonder why it takes so much research to understand this simple fact of life. Compassionate love, emotional balance, the ability to take the good with the bad and see the bigger picture is what will make a relationship last. Now, this is really hard work. It means you have to work at your relationship night and day. Are you willing to do this? If you are, you can have the marriage or relationship that you have always dreamed of. It is hard, but it is within your power.
Will my Relationship Last
Have you wondered why some marriages/relationships last and last while others just fall apart within months? You need to be happy to stay in a relationship for a long time. Steve Yap, a researcher with MSU, Department of Psychology says that while married people are happier than those who are not, he is quick to point out that it is not marriage that brings about satisfaction, but it seems to keep the level of satisfaction stable. A study by Neff and Karney suggests that couples who are the happiest are the ones who change their beliefs about their relationship and tend to downplay the smaller issues that rise up, in the light of a more global positive and evaluation of marriage.
Since the quality of relationship is known to be the best predictor of happiness in man, it is no wonder that people want to have good relationships and maintain them over a period. Longer relationships bring a sense of stability and commitment. A lasting relationship takes a lot of adjustment, changing of perceptions about relationships and expectations from each partner.
How to Make a Relationship Last
Research shows that being able to achieve certain psychological milestones in marriage helps to maintain a healthy relationship. Some of these factors, listed in Judith S. Wallerstein’s book, “A Good Marriage-How love lasts” are as follows:
- Emotional separateness from family of origin, without being totally cut off, becomes the foundation on which a healthy relationship is established.
- The ability to share intimacy, togetherness, identity and yet being able to respect each other’s personal space or autonomy is another important factor. The ability to protect intimacy in the relationship, from outside influences such as occurrences at the workplace and extended family obligations is crucial for a healthy relationship.
- The ability to withstand the pressures of parenthood and the inevitable crises of life is a major test to longevity in marriage.
- The ability to accept, nurture and comfort your partner’s various needs for dependency, relatedness and independence forms another important aspect of lasting a relationship.
- The ability to keep the romance alive in the relationship helps sustain the marriage.
Making a Relationship Work
Other research findings seem to suggest other factors for a lasting relationship:
Positive thinking – Thinking positively about your spouse, ruminating on his/her positive qualities seems to help. This does not mean that people do not acknowledge the failings and flaws in their partners, but they are able to overlook the flaws and prefer not to magnify them.
Columbia University management professor Eric Abrahamson and Massachusetts journalist David H. Freedman report that most of the fights couples have when they live together are about trivial stuff – such as socks left on the floor, kitchen left in a mess etc. Small irritations like these could cause negative emotions to pile up, which may lead you to believe that your partner is doing things deliberately.
Thinking more frequently about your partner especially when he/she is away seems to keep the emotional bonds strong. Wanting to know where your partner is all the time may seem like spying and snooping around, but to a smaller degree it seems to keep the connectedness working better.
Togetherness and spending time working on challenging projects together has been found to help in making relationships last. In Norway when the government decided to offer cash incentives to parents who decide to stay at home and take care of their kids instead of making use of the state subsidized childcare, they found that the divorce rates fell significantly. This seems to suggest that without the stress of working and having to parent kids couples found more time to bond emotionally and establish a better relationship
Working Towards a Better Relationship
Open expression of emotion. Four kisses, six hugs and at least one ‘I love you’ per day is a great recipe for a lasting relationship. Well, if you leave the numbers that I have cooked up aside, you still have a great recipe. Open expression of affection makes your partner feel secure and happy. Even if your partner knows you love him/her, she/he would still be delighted to hear it from you. “Every day”? you may ask. Every day is what some studies seem to suggest. Endearments and pet names also help. Pleasing one another, finding out what your partner needs in the relationship should become your guide to a better relationship.
Make your Relationship Last
Think positively, focus on what is great- in the relationship and the best qualities of your partner
Do not magnify faults and failings of your partner.
Think of your partner often - A little obsession and maybe a little jealousy is good. Send little love notes, or call during the day.
Spend time - working on projects that challenge you and bring you together
Bond - work on your emotional and physical intimacy.
Express your emotions, cuddle, kiss, hug, show some outward expression.
Appreciation makes your marriage/relationship last long. Small words like thank you, and sorry, seems to weigh more in relationships. Doing little things for your partner, listen appreciatively, speaking words of praise work well. A little appreciation goes a long way according to a study by John Gottman and colleagues. Gottman says,” loving statements are an excellent form of foreplay.” You have the magic words...open your mouth and say them to your partner and get that steamy romance going, no matter how long you have been together.
Research also seems to suggest a little obsession and jealousy concerning your partner is good. Do take note that I said ‘a little’ so don’t kill the love with full-blown obsession and jealousy.
Emotional and physical intimacy is of course an important key. Studies show that in lasting marriages, emotional bonding naturally leads to higher physical intimacy.
However, I have reserved the best for the last. A zeal for life and a positive attitude towards life makes for a great, long lasting relationship. This is what a study by O’Leary and associates found. I am not surprised. We generalise our attitude and carry them into all areas of our life. Go get yourself some great attitude and get passionate about living.
Working on a relationship that lasts is an everyday affair. It is hard, could mean some compromises, but I can assure you that it is worth it all. A lasting marriage/relationship, like aging wine can only get better and better.
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