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Is It Love? Will It Last?

Updated on August 30, 2013

by Kathy Batesel

What makes love and happiness endure for a lifetime? The answer may surprise you.
What makes love and happiness endure for a lifetime? The answer may surprise you. | Source
Romantic love is amazing, but how can you evaluate whether it will endure?
Romantic love is amazing, but how can you evaluate whether it will endure? | Source

Is it Love?

You probably don't need to ask "Is it love?" when you first fall in love. You know that your fluttery stomach, the way you can't stop thinking about him or her, and your overwhelming desire to spend every moment together are strong signs that you've fallen in love. But before long, a more important question will occur to you: "Can our love last?"

It might happen before you agree to make your relationship exclusive, before you make a huge jump into marriage, or when your relationship faces hardships that threaten it.

Have you ever wondered how some couples are affectionate after many years together? You may be surprised to find out the difference between couples that seem to be meant for each other and couples that eventually split.

What do you think makes love last?

What do you suspect the difference is between couples that are happy after decades and those who aren't?

See results

Do You Have A Marriage Mindset?

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Where (and when) you live has a lot to do with what marriages look like. As cultural norms change, so does the social fabric that makes up a community. People in the United States don't marry with the same expectations today that their ancestors held a century ago. Parents in India might select their child's spouse, an idea that seems alien and undesirable to many Americans.

Examining unfamiliar marriage customs can help us weigh the pros and cons of how we approach marriage.

Cultures may have traditional, autonomous, or collectivist approaches to marriage.

  • Traditional cultures, like those in the middle east, highly rank a man's ambition and a woman's sexual chastity as important to choosing a marital partner.
  • Autonomous areas, like North America, value romantic love, attraction, and compatibility.
  • Collectivist cultures, including some Asian cultures, look at family networks, health, and financial arrangements as important reasons to select a mate. Often, the family chooses a marital partner, and the betrothed person may or may not be able to veto their selection.

Some studies have compared marital satisfaction between arranged marriages and those that were made for love, but the results aren't completely conclusive. Certain research has shown that couples in arranged marriages have a higher level of marriage satisfaction, while other researches have concluded that the two kinds of marriage result in similar levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Regardless of how they hooked up, couples have informed scientists of what determines how happy they are in their marriages, and unraveling the results can be tough. Take a look at just a few of the kinds of things that can affect a couple's happiness:

A Few Things that Affect Love Satisfaction

External Factors
Interactive Qualities
Personality Qualities
Health / Illness
"Does my partner understand me?"
Shared values
Expectations of the relationship
"Can I influence my partner?"
Shared goals
Chip on shoulder vs. Trusting
Financial stability
"Do I feel desirable to my partner?"
Similar interests
Assuming success / failure
Family expectations
"Does my spouse confide in me?"
Emotional compatibility
Social expectations
"Is my spouse committed to me?"
Spiritual compatibility
Belief systems
Existing relationship skills
"Do we do things together that have meaning?"
Financial compatibility
"Does my partner admire me?"
Sexual compatibility
Intellectual compatibility

It's not hard to see how many factors influence whether a love can last or not! A couple who pledges to love each other forever can't anticipate exactly what that means, but job and family problems, personality differences, boredom, and personal well-being will bring challenges to the relationship.

Whether love can withstand those changes depends on two individuals navigating all these things - external factors, how they interact, their personalities, and their attitudes.

But before we get into all that, let's look at one underlying assumption that causes many relationships to fail when they first start facing the obstacles that can destroy love.

Most Couples Will Never Celebrate a Golden Anniversary

Will you celebrate a golden anniversary with your partner? Statistics would seem to say no, but with the right attitude, skills, and attention, you might defy the odds.
Will you celebrate a golden anniversary with your partner? Statistics would seem to say no, but with the right attitude, skills, and attention, you might defy the odds. | Source

How Does Love Develop?

Is it Love? Can it Become Love?

Fewer than 5% of arranged marriages in India fail. This video provides an enlightening look at how love can develop and grow between two people with very little in common. In the U.S., divorce rates climbed in and after the 1970s, but historically, marriages here developed similarly - even when it was a marriage for love.

How does this couple's attitude provide a strong realistic foundation for lasting love?

Single Biggest Mistaken Idea about Love

You probably already know that passionate love can't endure. All those feel-good chemicals in our brains during the first stages of love will eventually settle down and we'll return to being our "normal" selves.

When that happens, many relationships begin a long, painful slide. Where they once fell in love, they now start to climb out of it one painful snub at a time. It might take years or even decades for all of their affection and caring to disappear, but this is what happens when we expect our partners to "be the right partner" instead of learning to love the partner we have.

The fact is, nobody's going to be perfect for us! So we have to let them (and our relationship) have enough meaning in our lives to make it a top priority.

The chart above highlighted that external factors, our personalities, the way we interact, and our attitudes all affect relationship satisfaction. They affect us and our partners, even though we may have individual responses to these factors. But the most important one to love success is attitude.

The reason arranged marriages are as satisfactory or better than marriage for love is probably due to attitude. Cultures that rely on arranged marriage or matchmaking services have taught their children from an early age that marriage is something that can succeed even if the bride and groom are strangers on their wedding night! The young man and woman who will marry a stranger have different expectations that young adults who marry for love.

Those who marry for love tend to have very high relationship satisfaction in the beginning, but it often drops later, replaced by resentment and unhappiness.

Those in arranged marriages may have fewer of the external factors to contend with - the family finances, health, and social expectations have been evaluated for them before they wed. Their social expectations have laid forth exactly what roles the wife will fulfill and what the husband is supposed to do. Although it might sound limiting, it does make it easier for each of them to know if they are doing the "right" thing or not.

In other words, their attitude is that they will learn to love their partner in the years to come. They start at zero and get up to speed, instead of racing ahead and putting on the brakes whenever obstacles arise.

Lasting Love

To make your relationship work, you must develop the right attitude - one that trusts that love will grow and deeply believes your partner is a good person who wouldn't knowingly harm you.

Just as a house must be built on a sturdy foundation if it's to last, your relationship will endure longer if you have the right attitude from the beginning.

Sometimes the secret to staying together is "Just don't break up!" But keeping your love and affection for each other depends on finding reasons to love your partner even when everything else is going wrong.

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  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from USA

    Aw! If we all took the time to show that appreciation "just a little more," I bet divorce rates would drop!

    Glad you'll be showing your guy, Violet!

  • violet-femme profile image

    Violet Redfield 

    4 years ago from Australia

    Very insightful! I actually found this quite comforting to read. I love the idea of arranged marriages growing with love over time.

    I definitely have had a tendency to hold certain expectations and then feel failed when they aren't met (this is something I do in life in general). But the truth is, my partner is a wonderful person and I need to be better at not expecting certain things, simply appreciate the lovely things he already does (which I do appreciate and let him know, I just need to be all the more appreciative). He has been there for me during some very personally horrible times, this is another aspect which tells me how genuine he feels.

  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    Why limit yourself? Shoot for that Diamond anniversary, Susan! (75th) :)

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Great hub! Not sure if I'll be alive to celebrate our 50th, but then again I'd only be 80 at that point :)

  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    It's heartbreaking how many families do go through custody problems like that, isn't it? I certainly hope you'll always have your kids in your life daily, Knovalova! Thanks for stopping.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Tricky. I actually prbboaly wouldn't because the kids pick up on the unhappiness and I wouldn't want to jeopardize their happiness. If I was somehow so unlucky as to not have custody of them, I would at least try to work with my SO to make some sort of deal on the side so I could at least be the one to pick them up from school everyday or something. I couldn't imagine going a day without seeing my kid(s).

  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    That's truly awesome, Teaches!!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    5 years ago

    Very helpful and wise words in this article. Considering these points will help many to understand what it takes to have a lasting love and marriage. We are going on 42 years now, still strong and in love!

  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    So do I!

  • PDXBuys profile image


    5 years ago from Oregon

    I love the photo of the old couple!

  • jellygator profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from USA

    Thanks, Moonlake! I hope to make it to 50, but I don't think it'll happen. I made waaaayyy too many mistakes along the way. Now I'm just hoping my kids will learn from my mistakes and make it to THEIR golden anni!

  • moonlake profile image


    5 years ago from America

    We've been married over 50 years and been through a lot but we always held onto each other never giving up. Your hub is very interesting I voted up.


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