Finding love has its own challenges. But once you land the romance of a lifetime, how do you make your love last? Keeping the spark in your relationship can seem complex, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Here are six secrets to keeping your love alive in the long-term.
1. Focus on the feeling
Love and admiration based on your partner's traits sounds like a good idea. But it can actually backfire and lead to loss of love in the end. Counter intuitively, it's actually a bad idea to focus heavily on the things you love about your spouse. Over time, focusing on the feelings your partner gives you will better stand the test of time. Why? Because people change. And people are complex creatures who sometimes speak and act against their nature.
So, when your partner doesn't act like themselves, it challenges your reason for loving them. If you focus on the things, you can start doubting your feelings for them. How you feel about your partner is more stable and easier to reconcile when challenged.
There's no reason to be afraid of conflict. Disagreements don't undermine your relationship or hinder your love for each other. Avoiding conflict can actually be what causes your relationship to implode. Releasing tension as it builds helps you work toward harmony and a stronger relationship. That being said, arguments and fights should be fairly calm and always respectful. Never attack your partner or make accusations to gain the upper hand or escalate the situation. Instead, tell the truth to help them understand your hurt and see your perspective. Conflict helps you learn about yourself and your partner. In the end, the goal should be to resolve the issues at hand and grow closer and stronger as a couple.
3. Friends 'til the end
Maintaining your friendship through the years will do wonders to keep your love alive. Having a companion to walk through life with means having a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to laugh with and a safe space to really be yourself. Things don't always need to be romantic to help your romance.
For instance, taking out the trash, doing the dishes and laundry, and getting through the to-do list without having to be asked or reminded are all amazing ways to spark some romance. Yes, there's nothing really romantic about these acts, but they show appreciation which makes for a better love life. Likewise, spending casual time together as friends encourages a closeness and bond that will support your romantic love for years.
Even when things get hard, remind yourself you are on the same team. In marriage, you will find you sometimes have very different ideas than your partner does. You have to compromise and both live with that decision. As a couple, make sure all of your choices benefit you and your partner. To make your love last, be on the same team.
5. Edge out unhealthy behaviors
Behaviors that are unhealthy for the individual will end up becoming unhealthy for the couple. Even if you each try to keep your vices close to the vest, the fallout can be catastrophic. Excess spending, addictions, luxury or food indulgences, fighting or ignoring your own needs will come back to haunt you - and your relationship. When you're in a relationship, self-care translates to care for your partner. If half of your union isn't well, your whole relationship is in trouble.
Don't pay attention to customs or traditions that just don't work for your relationship. If you feel better having your own private space, keep separate bedrooms. If you need time away, take separate vacations, along with your couple's getaways. If the in-laws just cause too much drama, start your own holiday traditions with your friends and their families. Don't try to do what you think should work for you. Every couple is unique and needs to find their own rhythm. It's your relationship, so run it the way you want to.
Making love last can be a challenge but these subtle secrets can help you keep your spark. As the years race on, you can find even more ways to savor your relationship every day.