Have you ever seen an elderly couple holding hands together and dreamt of someday being in their shoes with the one you love? Good relationships may seem easy at first, but the truth is, to make them last long-term, you both need to put in some effort. These are the habits that successful couples swear by for maintaining a lifelong love.
Go to bed at the same time.
It doesn't have to be every night, but try not to get into the habit of going to bed at different times. Going to bed together (and without your smartphones!) gives you quiet time to talk and cuddle without distraction.
Don't expect the other person to change.
Yes, you will both grow and change over the longterm– that's to be expected. What you shouldn't expect is that your partner who has always been terrible with money will suddenly become financially responsible once rings are exchanged. Accept your partner for who they are.
Remember that love is a choice.
While those butterfly feelings will fade away over time, that doesn't mean that love has to. Some days will be easier than others, but make the conscious choice to love your partner every day. Remember what made you fall in love with your other half in the first place and why you chose to commit.
While this may seem obvious, communication is critical. Don’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Part of healthy communication also means really listening to what your partner has to say. Before you get married, talk about your values. You may even consider going to pre-marital counseling. Learn to express your emotions and to tackle problems together when they are small, instead of allowing them to escalate.
Yes, the mornings can be rushed, and you're sure that your partner knows it, but tell them you love them anyway. Always say "good morning," and kiss your loved one goodbye before heading out the door. At night, make a point of saying "good night." Look into their eyes when you say these things. It shows that you value them and care. Even if you're angry, say it anyway.
Take responsibility in arguments.
Recognize the role you play in arguments. It's likely that not everything is solely the other person's fault. Learn to say you're sorry, and also to forgive.
Just because you're married or in a long-term committed relationship doesn't mean that dating should be over. Keep treating each other with the same affection as when you were dating. Make time to go out to dinner, museums, or movies. Plan a date night every week if possible so that you'll have something to look forward to.
Don't forget about your partner when you have kids.
Parents who stay together know that in order to stay in love, they need to continue to prioritize each other. When your kids see you giving each other affection and making time for each other, they learn about healthy relationship goals that they can then model later in life.
Don't take your spouse for granted. Notice what's being done around the house, whether it's making you a cup of coffee, unloading the dishwasher, or organizing the kids' schedules, and say "thank you." This little piece of advice goes a long way! Similarly, step up to the plate with helping around the house and doing nice things for your partner, without needing to be asked first.
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