“What is the secret to a long-lasting relationship?” is a question that regularly pops up, most often around Valentine’s Day.
Everyone tends to talk about how they got married, or got into a relationship, but not much time is spent on how they have been able to stay that way.
So how do you make love last? Turns out, there may just be a recipe for that.
- 1x 24/7 of communication, compromise, connection, commitment, and conflict
- Celebration of good news – to taste
- 1x pinch of setting expectations
- 2x heaped spoons of excitement
Recipe staples: the 5 C’s – communication, compromise, connection, commitment, and conflict
These values form the basis of any relationship, romantic or not. If you can’t openly and honestly communicate with your partner, your relationship will suffer, while making adjustments and accommodating the other person’s wishes is essential for the health of it. Connection is what drives the passion in your relationship – a strong bond that gives your relationship energy and makes you want to spend time together, whereas conflict is not all bad, it’s normal and natural. No relationship is trouble-free, so, if after years together, you’re not fighting it probably means you’re not communicating.
Method: Talk less, listen more
Herbs and spices: celebrate good news
Broken relationships don’t only happen because of all the negative things that happen, but also because fewer positive ones do. The amount of fun a couple has, and the strength of their friendship, are strong predictors of their future together. There are studies to show that those who regularly celebrate the good times have higher levels of commitment, intimacy, trust, and relationship satisfaction than those who don’t.
Method: Make a fuss over the small, good things that happen every day to boost the health of your relationship.
Flavouring: set your expectations
Many people who have experienced failed relationships have been told that their expectations were too high. Research says the opposite: people who expect more, get more. And the reverse holds true too: expecting more from someone else makes you more likely to deliver more yourself.
Method: Look after your own mental health and make this just as much of a priority as your partners’.
Topping: create excitement
Doing things together that you “like”, is one thing, but doing things that bring a sense of excitement reinforces that rush you felt when you first met.
Method: Make a list of the favourite things you enjoy doing together, and then make a list of the exciting things you’d like to try
Serving suggestion: stay connected to friends and family
It’s only natural to think of a relationship as the only place to get unequalled physical and emotional support. While that is somewhat true, your relationship should be a primary source of support, it should not be your only one. By maintaining close relationships with friends and family outside the relationship, you lower the emotional demands placed on your partner. Always ensure that you have your own interests and connections outside of those you have with your partner.
This may mean that you schedule more regular calls with friends and family, or that you sometimes go for a walk / run by yourself. However you choose to do it, by creating a bit of space and independence between you and your partner, you both can benefit from a richer life together!