To some, the concept of being with just one person forever can seem daunting, unrealistic even. While the initial euphoric stages of a romantic relationship are exciting, Newton’s third law still applies: for every action there’s an opposite reaction. So, after the butterflies have settled and your relationship begins to get stagnant or stale, are there any simple tips for making your relationship happier and healthier? The answer is Yes. However, most people don’t want to end up like those stereotypically-miserable married couples who bicker endlessly. To avoid that, we’ve compiled a list of six tips for happy, long-last relationships and shared them below. Although every couple is different, there are a number of habits and mindsets that apply across the board. Keep these in mind and they can help you cultivate the type of serious relationship you desire!
Be intentional – Be intentional and figure out the truth about your relationship. That means taking some time and thinking through all aspects of your relationship – feelings, thoughts, the other person’s feelings and thoughts, plus external context. If you notice yourself flinching away from certain aspects of reality, this is the time to double down your focus and really get at the truth. The things you flinch away from are likely to be the ones that will most undermine your relationship in the future. Trust me, it will be much better to face the truth squarely in the face right now and address it rather than let it sabotage your relationship in the long run.
Meet your own goals – Remember that you are in the relationship for yourself, not the other person. Meet your own goals first in any relationship. Be intentional and consider what you want from the relationship as you evaluate it in your own mind and heart. Never allow someone else’s needs or desires overwhelm your own. Be honest and open with the other person in the relationship about your needs and desires, and encourage that person to be honest and open with you as well. If not, you risk building up resentment and frustration both for yourself and your partner which could lead to be unhappy with one another.
Have healthy conflicts – Did you know that conflicts can actually be healthy in relationships? If you begin a relationship expecting to never fight, you’ll lose out on some great relationships because the first fight might just lead to the end of that relationship. Instead, learn some strategies for healthy conflict resolution, and talk about them with your partner before the fact.
Start any conflict by highlighting how you care about the other person, the relationship and their opinion. Talk about both the facts and how you feel about them. Avoid the blame game and instead be as generous as you can be in interpreting the other person’s actions. Be open to changing your mind if you discover you made the mistake and apologize quickly and profusely. Also, avoid focusing on the past and instead orient toward better behavior in the future. At the end of any conflict, focus on reconnecting and rebuilding emotional bonds strained by the conflict.
Respect boundaries and privacy – One key aspect of showing trust in a relationship is allowing each other to set boundaries and permit privacy. The advancement in technology has made it easy for us to track each other and be in constant communication. However, permitting each other to have a private space and avoiding pushing the other person to do things they would prefer not to helps a lot in sustaining happiness in relationships. Respecting boundaries and permitting privacy will do wonders for building mutual trust in your relationship!
Practice emotional atonement – As you communicate with your partner, don’t listen only to what they are saying, also listen to the emotions underneath the words. Notice whether the other person seems stressed, frazzled, sad, frustrated, confused, pleased, joyful, etc. Pay close attention to the tone used in their voice, body language, and what is not being said along with the content of the words. Such emotional atonement will level up your ability to understand the other person, and respond in ways that lead to a long-last relationship.
Compromise – Compromising in a relationship is all about balancing getting your needs met with meeting the other person’s needs. Seek a mutually beneficial compromise on any areas of disagreement. The ability to compromise is key to happy and long-lasting relationships. While you may find that today’s society often emphasizes individuality, for relationships to work we need to get out of the self-centered shell and put ourselves in the shoes of our partner. We need to understand their perspective, thoughts, and feelings. It makes compromise much easier!