Having a love to last is the ultimate goal of most of my clients. Being a couple who is happy with one another through the ages seems like an impossible goal for many.
I was fortunate to witness my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. They were a somewhat modern couple for their time. They enjoyed each other’s company. They had their own pursuits and respected each other’s talents. My grandfather was still smitten with my grandmother into her 90s! I used to think how sweet it was that he would tell me, “We’re going steady!” How endearing is that?
How you design your relationship from the beginning will set it up for success or failure. It’s important to be aware of what it takes to ensure a long-term, loving relationship.
So, here are 7 things to know about in order to have a love to last:
Shared GoalsIt’s critical to have the same life goals as your partner and to want the same things out of life. You can really like someone or even love them; however, if you want different things, the relationship won’t sustain unless one person is willing to accommodate the other.
For instance, if you want children, and your partner doesn’t, that will be a big rift.
Or if you’re looking to retire and move to another state, and your partner prefers to stay and continue working, that can be problematic.
Relationships split up based on divergent goals. I’ve seen it happen many times.
AffectionMost people desire affection from a partner. We all want to feel desired, and touch has been shown to be something every human craves. Of course, there is a spectrum to this, and some have a greater need than others. Sex isn’t always needed, especially with some older couples. However, affection is still desired. It’s important to be on the same page with regard to the level of expected affection or the relationship will fizzle in the long run.
Prioritizing the RelationshipAnother important part of having a love to last is keeping your partner as a priority. Most of us want to feel special because of our loved one’s attention.
I’ve seen great relationships fizzle because one partner didn’t feel their needs were being met, or their desires supported.
There are often many people who are vying for your attention. They can be children (young and adult), parents, siblings, or friends. When you make your partner a priority above those other relationships, you’ll keep your relationship solid. And yes, there are times when a parent or child does need special attention. This is why you need to maintain communication to sustain the relationship through those trying times.
Shared ValuesIf you don’t share the same core values, it’ll be hard to sustain a love to last.
For instance, if you value “open and direct communication” and you find your partner isn’t as transparent about their feelings or intentions as you thought, that’s going to cause problems for your relationship.
Or maybe you need your partner to be supportive and nurturing. And they were in the beginning when the relationship was new. However, that went by the wayside when it interfered with their goals and ambitions.
Of course, not everything can be observed at the beginning of a relationship when everyone’s on their best behavior. It takes time to see the real person or if there is consistent behavior over time. Those couples who do last the test of time have shared core values.
RespectShowing respect for one another’s beliefs, thoughts, and needs is another way to create and nurture a love to last. Things that need to be respected are time for oneself, taking care of one’s living space, and respecting one another’s feelings.
The opposite of respect is yelling, or sarcasm, making someone feel small, or not worthy. It’s a relationship skill to acknowledge someone’s feelings even though you may not agree. When someone feels disrespected, they will start looking for the door to leave!
Give and TakeAll relationships require a give and take. And it’s not always 50-50! What comes with give and take is understanding. One partner may need to make greater accommodations than the other.
As an example, if one person gets a job offer in another state, then the couple needs to decide what is best for the couple as a whole. I’ve seen women follow men, and men follow women’s careers.
And there are those who decide to leave their careers for the sake of the family.
Or one person wants to live in the country and the other in the city.
There has to be some kind of give and take around these major decisions or the relationship won’t be a love to last.
Complete CommitmentA love to last takes complete commitment. You decide you will be there for each other through good times and bad, and with marriage, “Till death do us part”.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen relationships break up when they could have been worked out. But they didn’t have the willingness to work on the relationship to find out what would be best for the couple together. Everything’s disposable today. And it’s too easy to go out and think there’s something better.
Of course, there are times when it’s imperative to leave a relationship when there is mental or physical abuse.
There’s a stickiness factor with those couples that have a love to last the test of time. They are there for each other for the long haul.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought on your journey to find a love to last this time around. It’s possible when you’re going into a new relationship with open eyes and heart.
Long-lasting relationships take intentional design and support. As a professional coach who’s studied and guided singles and new couples in creating sustaining relationships for over 2 decades, I can show you how to do this so you too can have a love to last! (I coach pre-marriage couples too.) Please go to www.talkwithcoachamy.com so I can learn about you and then you‘ll be able to find a time for us to chat.