There is no holy grail to navigating relationships and ensuring their long-lasting success and no one relationship will ever be comparable to another. Notwithstanding the ambiguity of it all, there are a few beacons that can guide you along the right path in sustaining your relationship or marriage and thriving together with your partner.
Those in long-term, successful relationships have built up the following key areas:
1. Recall the positive
It is about remembering the attributes you love most about your partner, your friendship, the fun you have in each other’s company and what brought you together. Down days will inevitably come as they do, but the spirit of celebrating and appreciating your partner with all their quirks, instead of criticizing their every negative move will be more prosperous in the long-term.
2. Divide responsibilities
Each person has their own skill sets and strong suits and this comes in handy when living with another person. Delegating tasks such as cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn or handling finances is of unquestionable importance. The topic of managing finances can especially be a contentious one and should be left up to one person. This doesn’t mean that your partner shouldn’t be kept in the loop – any financial decision to be made should involve both parties, with one person carrying it out.
3. Choose conflicts wisely
If you’ve lived by yourself for many years, living with another person will bring to light many idiosyncrasies that may drive you up the wall. However, bickering about the most trivial, banal topics will deprive you of energy personally and within your home environment. To be heard, it is not necessary to yell and scream; this may be the first inclination, however it is important to take a step back before reacting. It takes discipline and control to not react immediately, but works wonders in taking charge of the situation so that conflicts can be resolved respectfully.
4. Respect one another
The yogic saying ‘Namaste’ comes to mind with the idea of respect and calls for honoring the inner qualities of another being. Whether we like or dislike the actions and behaviors of another, respect will reveal itself in how we interact with them. Partners in a respectful relationship hold high esteem for one another and are accepting of each other’s personal attributes. They take the time to listen and seriously weigh what is being said, reflecting upon the feelings that are being shared. To gain respect from others, it all starts with self-respect. We cannot expect others to be respectful towards us if we do not honor ourselves first.
5. Keep the sex alive
Given one person, namely the male, is usually into it more than his significant other, sexless marriages are subjects which relationship therapists are often met with. Some couples can go months or even years without sex, which just doesn’t add up in a healthy relationship. Patti Britton, president of the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists offers up the idea of approaching your sex life much like you would a business pact. If it were a real business, all the responsibilities, meetings, profits and liabilities would not go unattended; rather you would want to ensure that it succeeds on every level. It is important to acknowledge each other’s needs and communicate what is or isn’t working in order to decide new things to try.