A successful relationship consists of two things… finding similarities, and respecting the differences.
I recently re-discovered the 1992 book “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” and was intrigued by the topic around what’s needed to make a relationship not just work but last over time. John Gray’s book stated the following regarding the needs of men and women:
Men need to receive (primary needs for him, secondary for her):
Women need to receive: (primary needs for her, secondary for him):
Whether you believe this to be true or accurate, one thing is undeniable and that is relationships — even the best ones — require constant attention, nurturing, and yes…work. Before I begin, however, it’s important to dispel a common relationship myth — relationships are (or should be) easy. That is simply not true. The grass always looks greener in other people’s lives, because few people share the hard truth regarding the amount of work they put into those relationships.
There are roughly 27 million Google results on how to have a successful long-term relationship or marriage, but none that seem to summarize some of the essential habits that I found to be important in relationships. Lucky for you, I did the research and here is 15 essential habits needed to keep those relationships off of life support.
- Spend as much quality time together.
This may sound obvious to some but it’s worth reminding you to always make sure that your partner takes priority, especially when you have free time.
- Laugh together as often as possible.
I love the quote, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people” because it’s true and with laughter comes connectivity. It’s important to have fun with your partner. See a movie, people watch or do whatever comes to mind that sounds like fun. Remember you don’t have to spend money to have fun. It’s not as important what you are doing as long as it’s with the person you love.
- Learn to trust each other.
Without trust, there isn’t a relationship. It takes lots of love, respect and belief to trust someone. If those elements aren’t present, talk to your partner and see what can be done to build back that trust.
- Learn and practice the art of compromise.
It isn’t about who is right or wrong. It’s about both of you getting what you want or need, without someone sacrificing too much. In the end, you can be right or you can be in relationship but you can’t be both. When you are being right, you are typically making someone else wrong.
- Check on each other often.
Call and text your partner to see how they are or what they are doing. It takes as much time to do this than it does to check your email or facebook status. In the end, this is a sweet and kind way to show them that they are always on your mind.
- Try new things together as often as possible.
Spice up your lives and break up the monotony of your daily activities. A couple that experiments together stays together. Figure out what can add diversity to your relationship and shake it up a bit. Have an adventure while adding some mystery.
- Always talk to each other honestly and openly.
Be yourself and encourage them to be themselves. Growing together is far more enjoyable than being by yourself. The more you open up, the more you will understand about yourself, your life, and your future lives together.
- Always reserve judgment.
Love and respect each other for who you both are and who you aren’t. Remember that you fell in love with a person that isn’t perfect, but is trying to make you happy. You aren’t perfect either, so enjoy each other and the fact that you can love one another’s true selves. Focus on the positive and the negative doesn’t stand a chance.
- Give up your relationship blueprint.
What this means is simply do not try to “plan” your relationship. If you try to do this, the chances that something is not going to go like you wanted to is pretty high, and that could end what could have been a pretty fulfilling relationship. That doesn’t mean to be completely pie in the sky but rather allow room for the unexpected while having some idea(s) as to where you want to be. When you give up how you think it should be, it all falls right into place.
- Always learn to forgive.
Everybody makes mistakes. This is a cold hard fact of life. If you truly care about the person you are in a relationship with, you have to learn to forgive them for their mistakes. Remember, you have made your fair share as well. Holding grudges toward one another is very toxic in a relationship, and is definitely not something you want to do if you want your relationship to last.
- Never keep score.
Relationships are not a game, so there is no reason to try to keep score. This means, if you do something nice for your partner, or do something to help out, you don’t have to announce it to them just to get brownie points. The same goes for if they make a mistake, or make you mad, you shouldn’t feel the need to hold it against them just to make yourself look better. This is probably one of the top reasons why relationships don’t last. Nobody likes to feel like a loser in a relationship.
- Always encourage each other.
I’m sure you don’t want to ever feel held back from doing certain things, or trying new things just because you are in a relationship, and neither does your partner. Make sure you encourage your significant other to achieve any goals independent of your own. Allow for this to take place and explore what’s possible for each other.
- Compliment each other often.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Complimenting your partner is such a simple way to show how much you really care about one another. If you don’t do it, it could be easy for them to question what they really mean to you, or what you really think of them. See #5 above.
- Admit when you are wrong.
We have all been in the situation where as much as you don’t want to admit it, you are wrong in some sort of disagreement. Sometimes you should just swallow that pride of yours, and admit that you were wrong. If your partner really cares, they will forgive you. Holding on to pride and ego is a fast relationship killer.
- Always be romantic.
Surprise them with flowers or a gift of some kind. Do anything to show how much you really care about each other. As redundant as this may sound, it’s a really important step in any relationship. You don’t have to spend money to show your appreciation.
Yes relationships require work to ensure they are healthy and rewarding but if you remember why you’re with that special person and how much they mean to you, it won’t show up as work. Think about it.
The floor is yours:
How do you create a successful relationship?
Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.
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