Top 8 Ways To Make A Relationship Last – The Easy Ones!
“They make it look so easy,” or “I bet they never fight,” or my favorite, “she has the perfect guy.” We’ve all said that, right? Well, let’s get a few things straight:
1. Relationships are not easy.
2. Everyone fights, it’s normal and healthy, and it actually makes your relationship stronger.
3. No one has the perfect guy (or girl).
Now that that’s out there, let me say a few warm-fuzzy things before I completely dash everyone’s hopes of finding a perfect match. I’m married, and I’m really happy being married. If I’m meeting my husband in a bar (yes, we still go to bars) and I see him across the room, my heart still gives an extra little pitter-patter. Even after being together for ten years, I still have a giant crush on him.
So how is it possible to be happy when faced with the tough truth that relationships are not easy? Well, if you make an honest effort to respect and communicate with your partner (and follow my handy-dandy hints), things start to feel less like work and become part of normal habits. And, dare I say, “easy?”
But what does that statement really mean, and how do you do it?
When I started writing this article, I wrote down every pearl of wisdom I could imagine, and I found myself staring at way too many pages to post on a blog. Therefore, I’ve broken my list down into two groups: the easy ones and the hard ones.
We’ll start with the easy ones because, while these suggestions are not amazingly original pieces of advice, they are things that can often be forgotten in the hubbub of daily life. The good news is these tips are easy to do and the effects are immediate (your partner will light up)! We’re tackling the low-hanging fruit today, so to speak. These are things that work for me, and even though I’m technically “working” on our relationship, I find that it doesn’t really seem like that much work.
Just a quick aside, I’m writing from a woman’s point of view, so I’ll say things like “…talk to your boyfriend…” for the sake of time and space. But this article is for both men and women, so men, in your heads, switch all “boyfriends” to “girlfriends” when I give examples.
1. Laugh. Everyday, as often as you can. We’re always trying to make each other laugh. It’s just so much more fun to be around someone when you’re both trying to have a good time. It makes the mundane enjoyable. Like grocery shopping. Grocery stores play the cheesiest ballads from the 70s and 80s. I lip sync or do a really dorky dance just to liven things up in the shampoo aisle. Soon, you too can be associating Captain & Tenille with paper towels…
2. Tell your partner how much you love him. Once that first, terrifying, sweaty-palmed “I love you” is out of the way, don’t be stingy with the “I love yous.” This is particularly important for couples who have been together for a while. Tell him everyday, and not just when you’re leaving or hanging up the phone. We say it every morning as we’re waking up. Sappy, maybe. But ask yourself, what’s better: having the alarm wake you up, or having someone put their arms around you, snuggle, and tell you how much he loves you? Sappy wins.
3. Have sex. Often. I think this one speaks for itself. (A special aside to couples with babies or children: Have sex. Often. Even if you’re tired. Don’t be one of those couples who can’t remember the last time they had sex. And don’t plan a “sex” night; it’s so contrived and un-spontaneous. Sex isn’t a homework assignment. You were animal and lusty once, it’s still in you. Don’t forget it.)
4. Tell your partner how sexy you think he is. This one, and the previous one, are especially important for couples who have been together a long time. We often get complacent with compliments after the initial thrill of attraction subsides, but it’s important to let your partner know just how amazing and attractive you still think he is. Chances are, you find him even more attractive than you did when you first met because you know so much more about him. Tell him. Like I said earlier, I still have a giant crush on my husband, and when he looks hotter than normal to me, I tell him. Conversely, when he makes a comment about my posterior in my skinny jeans, well, I feel a rush of pride… and it makes the effort of staying in those skinny jeans worth it!
5. Give compliments. Maybe we’re odd here, but we’ve always talked work at home. We do this for many reasons, but I genuinely enjoy seeing the professional side of my husband. I don’t see this side at home, so when he tells me about his day, I get to tell him how impressive he is. And I do.
6. Say “thank you.” And if you forget, tell him the next day. Appreciation goes a long way.
7. Talk about other people’s relationships. This is not an excuse to “talk bad” about your friends. It’s an opportunity to discuss what you think works and doesn’t work in relationships, your likes and dislikes. And since you’re not directly analyzing your own relationship, it’s a great way for you and your partner to communicate in a non-threatening way. Maybe you’ll even learn something for the future, have a model to emulate, or have an opportunity to pat yourselves on the back for a crisis avoided (that is, if your friends seem to have a problem that you would have handled in a different way). I’m not going to give any specific example, but I will say this is something we do quite frequently because it opens up doors to interesting discussions about feelings, reactions, etc. without the stress of it being “your” problem.
8. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So, there’s my two cents, or eight as the case may be. By the way, the advice about compliments and saying “thank you” go a long way with family, friends, and professional relationships. Just thought I’d throw that out there. So, give it a shot. This is the “easy” list – next article will have more abstract advice. But, I wanted to start somewhere, you know, and keep it fun, light – I’m not all “relationshipy” and “self-helpy” all the time.