Finally! Your search is over – at least for the moment. You’ve found someone and you both think you’re compatible (and in love). You love the way they laugh, look, smell and kiss. You’re fascinated by their thoughts, words, actions and reactions. Yep, you think you want to spend some time with this one – maybe forever. So what do you do to nurture (read: not sabotage) your love?
To make sure that the initial sparks can stand the test of time, getting brighter and warmer rather than fizzling out… Well for starters, you can remember these four guidelines for long-term love.
1. Accept each other
While the chemical high of the honeymoon phase may convince you otherwise, nobody’s perfect – not even your soulmate! We all have strengths and weaknesses. Committing to someone means seeing that person as they are and accepting them for both good and bad. Of course it doesn’t mean you have to like that they never pick up after themselves or have a tendency to get half way through one task before moving on to the next, but the point is you can’t let the things that irk you become your focus. If problems arise, you should absolutely address them, but it has to be done in a respectful manner. In other words, don’t demean or belittle each other. And even if you think they know you’re just kidding, never, ever say negative things to your mate in front of other people. Successful couples, according to the experts, are a team.
2. Know how to fight
Unconditional love may present a united front, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be arguments behind the scenes. There will be. The catch is to fight like adults rather than children. Yelling and screaming, slamming doors and name calling – not going to fly in a lasting partnership. Same goes for blaming your partner whenever things go wrong. Instead, learn to fight fair. Accept responsibility for your actions, and explain your feelings. Listen to what your partner says and make sure you really hear it. Avoid low blows or bringing up the past unless it directly relates to what’s going on in the present. It may take some time and both of you may need to repeat what the other has said to make sure there isn’t miscommunication or misunderstanding, but mastering conflict resolution is a skill that will serve you – and your relationship – well over time.
3. Admire each other
It may seem far away right now, but eventually love’s initial rush will die down and life will become more routine. When that happens, always remember the things that first turned you on about your partner – in the bedroom and otherwise. Healthy, lasting, loving relationships never lose sight of those things and people in those relationships aren’t afraid to express them. Tell your partner what you love about them on a regular basis. Thank them for their efforts around the house. Celebrate their accomplishments and console them in their crises. Love their strengths and do it openly. Mutual admiration is at the core of every partnership, and it’s vital never to let that fall by the wayside. It’s a base that can’t be shaken.
4. Keep the romance alive
We all hear the stories about romance dying over time or sex becoming secondary, but they’re just not true – or at least they don’t have to be. The happiest couples report that the fire never goes away. It ebbs and flows, sure, but chemistry is chemistry. That said, romance doesn’t thrive on its own. It’s up to you to keep it alive and well. How? Make the most of the little moments in life as well as the big ones. Find reasons to celebrate. Slow dance on a night when the kids are out or share a special bottle of wine to mark the culmination of a tough project at work. Bring home take out when you know your partner is tired or send a suggestive email when a racy thought crosses your mind during the day. The idea is to surprise each other, to make your special someone feel that they’re special to you. Above all else, never forget that the fate (and state) of your relationship is in your own hands.
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