11 Signs Your Love Will Last a Lifetime
How to Make Love Last
A new relationship is often exhilarating, intense, and fun, but how do you make a new relationship turn to love -- and last? Though it's not easy to make love last, the hard work you put into the relationship will lead to a deep and meaningful connection that could last a lifetime. To make love last, you have to appreciate your loved one, support your loved one, and make time for love and romance. If you want to know how to do it, follow these steps.
Appreciating Your Loved One
See the best in your love.If you want to make love last, then you should focus on your loved one's best qualities -- not their worst qualities. Though you can be honest about your loved one's less-than-ideal qualities, you should focus on his or her ability to make you laugh, their intelligence, and their great smile instead of how they're always late or that they spend too much time on their cell phone.
- A survey of 470 studies on compatibility revealed that the one thing many long-lasting relationships have in common is "positive illusions", which allowed the people in the relationship to see each other in a positive light. This is also known as the "positive perspective."
- Every day, look for the best in your partner and remind yourself why you are with this wonderful person.
Have compassion for your loved one.It's been proven: couples who exercise compassionate love have happier marriages. To have compassion for your loved one you have to learn how to understand why he or she is upset and to be sympathetic to their needs instead of being annoyed that they aren't in a good mood. Look for opportunities to practice random acts of kindness toward your partner and see how much of a positive impact it makes on your relationship.
- Make it a goal to surprise your partner with a small gesture once a day. It doesn't have to be complicated or cost a dime; the time you take to send a text or leave a little note to tell them how special they are can mean more than expensive gifts.
- When your loved one has had a bad day make it a point to be extra kind by helping him or her out around the house, whether it's by making dinner, doing laundry, or even giving him or her a back massage.
Appreciate the little things.To make love last, you can't underestimate "the sliding door moments." Sliding door moments are the seemingly inconsequential everyday moments filled with the words we haphazardly throw back and forth at each other. They are accompanied by little evanescent pains, frustrations, joys, and laughter, flying through our minds and our hearts that make or break the most important relationships in our lives. These little moments add up.
- Even if you only have a few minutes of time with your loved one in the morning make it count.
Give your partner the affection and attention he or she needs.When your partner lets you know that he or she wants an emotional connection, whether he wants to cuddle or briefly step out onto your balcony to look at the stars, try to give him what he needs instead of rejecting him, no matter how busy you are. These moments won't come often, and if you want your relationship to thrive, then you should give your partner the affection he or she needs, so you can get that love and affection in return.
- Take the time to listen to your partner and to respond to his or her needs thoughtfully.
- You can't always give your partner the affection and attention that he or she needs, but you can make a goal to do this much more often.
Resolving Conflict with Your Loved One
Avoid the four most common relationship killers.If you want to effectively manage conflict with your loved one, then you need to avoid the four forms of negativity that are so lethal to relationships that they are sometimes called "the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse": criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. After observing a couple for only a few hours, scientists can predict with over 94% accuracy whether they will stay together or get divorced if these negative behaviors arenotchanged. If you find yourself using any of these approaches toward your partner, decide to do something about it before it erodes your love.
- Avoid criticizing your partner just to get rid of some built-up resentment. Instead, complain without blame by stating a positive need. Talk about your feelings using I statements and then express a positive need. What do you feel? What do you need?
- Avoid having contempt for your partner by building a culture of appreciation and respect in your relationship.
- Avoid being defensive, and be open to your partner's comments and suggestions. Don't focus on trying to prove that you're right and work on finding a solution with your partner. Accept responsibility, even if for only part of the conflict.
- Stonewalling, or refusing to listen to your partner or to give in to their demands even one bit, is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship. The antidote is to practice physiological self-soothing. The first step of physiological self-soothing is to stop the conflict discussion. If you keep going, you'll find yourself exploding at your partner or imploding (stonewalling), neither of which will get you anywhere.
Maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions during conflict discussions.This will help you and your partner keep things positive while solving a problem together instead of blaming each other, yelling, or hurting each other through comments you don't really mean. You can maintain this ratio of positivity during an argument by avoiding saying things like, "You never..." or "You always..." Don't think in absolutes and focus on the positive aspects of the situation, not the negative, if you want to reach a solution.
- Talk to your partner as if he or she is an equal. Use “I” statements like “I would appreciate it if we…” instead of “you” statements like “You need to…” That way, the problem becomes “our problem,” not “your problem.”
Manage the perpetual problems in the relationship.Even the best relationships have their problems, and not all of these problems can be resolved. To make your love last, you should accept the problems or find a way to manage them instead of constantly fighting over them to no avail. What matters most is not solving these problems, but being positive and open-minded when they are discussed.
- The goal in your relationship when discussing these types of problems should be to establish dialogue that communicates acceptance of your partner, while demonstrating humor and affection.
- Ultimately, what does count is being able to actively cope with the unresolvable problem rather than treating it as a condition of gridlock. Gridlocked conflict discussions only lead to painful exchanges or icy silence.
Introduce a conflict tactfully.Using a "softened startup," or a more tactful technique to bring up a conflict during a conversation, can go a long way in how your partner views the conflict and how easy it will be to resolve it. To introduce a conflict, you should complain about the situation carefully, without blaming the other person in a vindictive, angry manner. This will lead to a more stable, healthy relationship.
- For example, instead of saying, "You said you'd go grocery shopping this afternoon and you completely forgot," say, "I'm really upset that we don't have food in the house right now. I thought we discussed that you would help me out by going shopping this time."
- Make statements that start with "I" instead of "You." When you start sentences with "I" you are less likely to seem (or be!) critical. Blame immediately puts your partner in a defensive position, while "I "statements show that you are discussing the impact on your feelings instead.
- Avoid eye rolling, crossing your arms, or looking away from your partner. These little angry gestures can make a big difference when a conflict is introduced.
Learn to compromise.If you want to make love last, then you have to know that being happy is better than being right. If you're determined to get your way every time you have an argument, then your relationship won't have long-term success. You and your partner should be able to weigh the pros and cons of any decision rationally, and to think about how much the decision means to both of you. In the end, you should be able to satisfy both people instead of just having one person get what he or she wants.
- You can also take turns. If you got your way on one big decision, when the next big decision comes around, let your partner decide.
- Both people should be willing to compromise in a good relationship. If you end up yielding to your partner because you'd rather avoid the conflict, then you have a problem.
Apologize when you're wrong.If you want to make love last, then you should be ready to swallow your pride and to let your partner know that you've made a mistake. Admitting that you're wrong takes courage and will make your partner appreciate your honesty and candor even more. If you know that you are messed up but just want to sweep it under the rug and do better next time, you'll run into trouble down the line.
- When you say sorry, you should mean it. Don't just say it because you think it's the right thing to say to make things better.
Making Time for Your Loved One
Make time for romance.No matter how long you and your partner have been together, you should make time for romantic moments at least once a week. Have a "date night," where you do nothing but talk, enjoy a nice meal, and see a good movie together. You can also plan more elaborate romantic adventures, such as trips to the beach, long hikes, or a night spent stargazing. Whatever you do, keep it consistent, and make sure that you can spend at least a few hours of quality time with your loved one, when all you want to do is enjoy your love and your relationship.
- When you're being romantic, you should really take the time to connect. Talk about your dreams, fears, and goals -- not about who is going to do the laundry or pick up the kids.
- You should plug a "date night" into your weekly schedule, and make this a sacred event that no visits from friends or work obligations can overrule.
Take the time to compliment your loved one.You may be thinking, "I've been with my partner for five years -- he or she must know how much I love her by now." This is logical thinking, right? Wrong. Though you may know in your heart exactly how special your loved one is and how much he or she means to you, you should still let him or her know how much she means to you, and that you appreciate all of his or her unique qualities. Make a goal of complimenting him or her at last once a day with something fresh and meaningful.
- Don't take your partner's looks for granted. If you're dressed up for a date, let him or her know she looks nice -- or let him or her know how beautiful they are when they are just watching TV in their everyday clothes.
- Let your partner know about all of the things that they have done to improve your life. Saying things like, "I never could have done this without you," or "I'm so lucky to have you here during this crisis," will help your partner know how helpful and supportive they are.
- Take the time to let your partner know about all of your favorite aspects of his or her personality, whether it's his or her sense of humor, or his or her ability to charm a new person as soon as he or she meets them.
Take the time to say "I love you."You should say "I love you" every day to your partner -- and mean it. Don't say it because you're too busy, because you think they should already know that, or because you're in the middle of an argument. You can never say it enough. When you say "I love you," look into your partner's eyes and give them all of your attention to let them see that you really mean it.
Make the time for fun with your partner.Love isn't all about appreciating each other, managing conflict, and being romantic -- it's also about being fun and even just plain silly. Make the time to do something truly fun with your partner, whether you see a comedian, spend hours telling corny jokes, or go to an amusement park and laugh your heads off. Don't underestimate the positive impact that laughing with your partner can have on your relationship.
- It's true: a couple that laughs together stays together. Carve out some time for laughter every day.
Make time to pursue new interests with your partner.If you want to keep your relationship fresh, then you should take the time to pursue new interests with your partner so everything doesn't feel so "old hat." You can take an exercise or dance class together, delve into a collection of classic movies, or travel to a completely new place together. Though developing a routine that makes you happy can help a relationship, making time for new interests or hobbies is equally important so that your relationship can grow.
- Taking a salsa class together can make your relationship sexier and more fun.
- Start exploring nature together. Taking hikes or walks through pretty scenery together can improve your moods and help you appreciate nature -- and each other.
To make love last, make sure you give your partner the affection and attention that they need. For example, try to share a 6-second kiss with them every day, and look them in the eye when you say “I love you!” Next, set aside time for weekly dates, even if it’s just something small like a trip to the zoo or a comedy show. When conflicts do arise, bring them up tactfully using phrases like “I am upset because,” rather than “you really upset me.”
Sources and Citations
- Levenson, R.W., & Gottman, J.M., (1983). Marital interaction: physiological linkage and affective exchange, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 587-597
- Levenson, R.W., & Gottman, J.M., (1985). Physiological and affective predictors of change in relationship satisfaction, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 85-94
- Gottman, John M., and Nan Silver. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail...And How You Can Make Yours Last: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.
- Gottman, J. M., and Nan Silver. (1999). “The Two Kinds of Marital Conflict,” in The Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work (Chapter Seven, 129-155). New York: Three Rivers Press (Random House, Inc.).
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