Have you ever wondered why a few of our friends end up marrying their high school sweethearts while most of us are out there, still in search of that one perfect person? They might have been lucky to have met their soulmate at a young age. But what about the rest of us? Is learning how to make a relationship last until marriage our only solace?
By the time we are in our mid-20s, we know relationships are complicated. Heartbreak back in high school, toxic past relationships, parental divorce – such experiences can lead to deep-seated trauma and trust issues for life. These can become so hard to overcome that we give up on love. If one fine morning you wake up, stare at your loved one sleeping in peace, and think, “I want our relationship to last forever”, you should know that it is entirely in your hands to make it happen.
So, what are the qualities of relationships that last and what are those important things happy couples do? We consulted Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney), who specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to name a few, and asked her to reveal the secret to a long-lasting relationship.
What Makes A Relationship Last Forever?
Is everyone around you getting married, getting engaged, or posting cute parenting pictures on Instagram? Trust me, it’s nothing but an illusion of the virtual world. In these cases, starting a new relationship looks like child’s play. But behind all the façade lies the naked glaring truth. That all relationships require hard work and compromises. Trust us, you need this kind of assurance in case you had an arranged marriage.
That you have control over the quality of your romantic life can be a huge relief for most of us. But what works in the long run? What makes love last forever? Pooja responds, “There cannot be a singular blueprint for all relationships. Where your relationship currently stands, where it is struggling, a thorough analysis will tell you where you should be putting your attention.”
Regardless, there are a few basic qualities that run through all successful relationships. Are you curious about what makes relationships last? Let’s find out together.
Related Reading: 15 Tips For A Successful Marriage
1. Having realistic expectations
Do you want to make a relationship stronger? Keep your expectations realistic. High hopes and unreal notions of an ideal romantic partner will not make a relationship last a lifetime. If your partner fails to stand on that high pedestal, it will only bring disappointment. Most people are not as lucky as Ted Mosby who met the woman of his dreams, twice over.
Another thing you can do to avoid putting unnecessary burden on your relationship through comparison is by keeping your relationship private.
2. A high trust quotient
How far can you go if you have to constantly worry about your boyfriend having an affair with his boss or your girlfriend still being in love with her ex? Jealousies and insecurities /An insecure and a jealous partner can rust a relationship, rendering it hollow. Once a couple reaches that phase where they have absolute trust in each other, they can navigate hard times easily. They can rest assured that they are in it for the long haul.
Related Reading: 11 Strategies To Stop Being Jealous And Controlling In Relationships
3. Acceptance is crucial to making a relationship last forever
Do you stare at happily married couples at the park and think to yourself, “I want what they have.”? In all likelihood, the secret to their lasting love story is an acceptance of the raw, vulnerable version of each other. They have loved both the good and the bad. Changing a person is not the way to make a relationship last forever. You must inspire your partner and bring out the best in them, but at the same time, accept them for who they are.
The desire to feel accepted the way one is, if not fulfilled, is often what makes people go astray. So, if you have been wondering how to make the other woman go away, or how to make your partner come back to you, acceptance and appreciation of the partner might be your best bet in order to make a relationship last forever.
4. Having the space for individual growth
It is important for couples to grow together in the relationship, but individually. Both convergent and divergent growth can cause havoc. Consider an example. Laura and Dave have been together for three years. In their early days together, they made ample promises to support each other, but Dave still feels the need to resort to lying in the relationship about going to art school. Laura considers it a waste of his time, supposedly distracting him from his bright prospects in law. Dave feels unsupported in his passion.
In a long-lasting relationship, two partners must understand each other’s dreams, priorities, and obligations. A relationship is a team effort. You are in this together. Celebrate your partner’s accomplishments rather than keeping score.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Grow In A Relationship Every Day
5. Apologies and forgiveness are at the core of a healthy relationship
You want to see your girl walking down the aisle in a gorgeous Vera Wang, smiling at you. Realizing this dream will take both of you putting aside your ego for the sake of this relationship. If she apologizes after a fight, you should find a way to forgive her and move forward. How to make love last you ask? It’s mostly through a mutual give and take of “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”.
7 Tips To Keep Your Relationship Alive Till Marriage
Commitment, loyalty, adjustment – concepts like these may sound too heavy and old-school for our Tinder generation. But they are not behind the times. Rather, this is what love and true companionship feel like and you shouldn’t be shying away from that extra bit of effort we loath to put in a relationship nowadays.
The fact that you are here, looking for an answer to what makes relationships last, shows that you are ready for the endgame. Well, there are no one-size-fits-all rules to make a relationship last forever. You can try a few tweaks that fit your mutual dynamics.
Love alone is not enough to build a good bond with your partner. You may wish for the honeymoon phase to last a long time. But it has to end at some point, unveiling a world of responsibilities, compromise, jealousy, and insecurity. If you live under the same roof, red flags will become more visible as people can’t keep on pretending for a long time.
So how to make love last forever while being your most authentic self? We have seven useful tips for you that you can put to use.
Related Reading: When Is The Honeymoon Phase Over? 15 Signs To Watch Out For
1. Do not lose yourself in ‘us’
Understanding how to retain that love is no rocket science. Here’s a little insight. Do not confuse love with unconditional agreement. Abandoning your true self and becoming joint at the hip with your partner is not only unhealthy but also unattractive. You can make your man stay madly in love with you by nurturing some distance. Pooja says, “The popular cultural notion of ‘two bodies one soul’ is faulty. To avoid frustration to creep in, it is crucial to maintain individuality.”
To make a relationship last a lifetime, you have to be vocal about your own needs and choices. When you are making a big life decision, make sure both of you contribute equally. You must stand your ground and not abandon your passion or dreams. If you have a checklist you wanted to fulfill before turning thirty, get on with it. Above all, create a space for yourself and make time for things and activities that make you happy. Prioritize setting boundaries based on mutual understanding.
In short, compromise, but do not sacrifice. Compromising means both parties make an effort and meet each other halfway. Sacrificing in a relationship, on the other hand, is a one-person job with no reciprocation or sense of gratitude whatsoever from your partner. Spot the fine line between the two and make your choice.
2. Address problems before it’s too late
How to make a relationship last until marriage 101 – do not brush away your problems. No two people fit each other like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It’s quite normal to have a conflict of interest. A few fights and arguments will only help make a relationship stronger. But when you bottle up whatever is bothering you internally, it results in bitter rage after a certain time.
Verbalizing the issue at hand and communicating it can help you fix the relationship you could be ruining. Once you talk them through, both of you get clarity on how to deal with the matter in the future. Here are some tips to ensure a minor misunderstanding doesn’t land in a bad breakup:
- Find the right time to start the conversation
- Avoid violence at all cost
- Fighting drunk is a big no-no
- Figure out a way to channel your anger before an argument
- Try to keep your cool and analyze the problem from all rational aspects
Related Reading: 8 Fights Every Couple Will Have At Some Point In Their Relationship
3. Show the decency of taking accountability
Are you overburdened at work? Did you have a nasty fight with an old friend? Yes, we understand, you are stressed, frustrated, and angry. But does that give you the green light to lash out at your partner and accuse them of everything going downhill in your relationship? The blame game is such a childish act. As mature adults, you are expected to handle situations in a sensible manner.
You will reach nowhere by portraying your partner as the ‘bad guy’. Lack of accountability in a relationship may seem like it will shift the focus from the damage done by you. But as you spend more time finding faults in each other, you suck the air out of your relationship. “Relationships at their best are a 50-50 partnership. So it’s important that each partner is held responsible for their share of effort,” says Pooja.
In relationships that last, couples take ownership, they take accountability for their actions. Everything else naturally falls into place with time.
4. Nurture your love
When was the last time you enjoyed silence together? Sitting on a rooftop, watching the stars, looking into each other’s eyes – these little moments can go a long way to rekindle the faded feelings of love and romance. Discovering each other every day in a whole new way, making time for each other is one of the most obvious tips on how to make a relationship last.
The constant rush in our work culture presents productivity as the biggest virtue. Trust me, it’s okay to stop for a while. Remember the early days, your first date? Go through these awesome date ideas to plan a date night. Arrange a candlelight dinner for your sweetheart. Cook for them. Go on that romantic couple spa getaway this weekend. Try to remember the small details. This is the best way to show you care.
5. Want to make a relationship last a lifetime? Show up
Let us look at Nate and Sarah who have been married for five years. Nate takes every chance he gets to verbally reassure her of his love. He says he will do anything for her happiness. Yet he could not make it to her father’s funeral. “Sorry babe, got a thing with Dan and the boys. I will see you at home tomorrow,” he said. That’s not the way to show someone you love them.
Do you see there is a difference between words and actions? You can say “I want our relationship to last forever” a hundred times a day or you can do something meaningful to make them happy. Pooja says, “Two people in a partnership are a unit or a team. They need to hold the ground for the other during hard times and show up when the other needs support, acknowledgement, or appreciation.”
We are not suggesting that you plan an expensive, grand surprise for her birthday. You can, but the point here is, do not associate happiness with material extravaganza. Take a stand for their cause. Listen. Learn how to give someone attention in a relationship. Sign up for that cooking class he always wanted to attend together. Be excited when you are the first one to read their poetry.
In case you are trying to understand how to make a relationship last until marriage, take such small steps to make your partner feel heard and understood and to make your presence felt in a positive manner in their life.
6. Remember the power of touch
Physical contact plays the title role in evolving a relationship over the years. Pooja adds, “Non-sexual physical touch is just as crucial as sexual intimacy.” Studies say that hugging someone you love for 20 seconds a day reduces the stress level to a great extent as it releases oxytocin, or as they call it, ‘the love hormone’. Human touch is the fountain of feel-good endorphins which alleviates pain and makes you happy.
Another study analyzed these types of physical affection, namely, “backrubs/massages, caressing/stroking, cuddling/holding, holding hands, hugging, kissing on the lips, and kissing on the face (not lips).” It surveyed 295 participants and found out that “Conflict resolution was generally found to be easier in couples with more physical affection.”
You may not assess this as an unbreakable rule for a long-lasting relationship but it’s kind of an important one. Hold hands while walking down the streets. Kiss goodbye. Hug them from behind while they are cooking or brush the fringe off their face. A consoling embrace when they are upset or a peck on the cheek. It’s as simple as that. Such little gestures can be therapeutic and can make a relationship stronger.
Related Reading: 8 Ways A Physical Relationship Before Marriage Affects Your Relationship
7. Be grateful, be kind
Happy couples are grateful couples. Show your gratitude. Express how grateful you are for every sunrise you could cherish with your loved one. Tell them you are grateful for their constant support through thick and thin. As a person feels appreciated and not criticized for every single action, it tends to build a stronger connection between the partners.
Many studies claim how practicing gratitude can help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and contribute to improved mental health. This study shoes how giving thanks can make you happier and influence interpersonal relationships. Life has taught us to be strong, to be self-sufficient. No matter how resilient and tough we try to act, at our very core, we all want people who will care for us and stick with us against all the odds. Try to create that safe space in your relationship.
- All relationships require hard work and compromises. The nature and longevity of your relationship is in your control
- Having realistic expectation, a high trust quotient, and acceptance of your partner are crucial to making a relationship last long. So are nurturing personal space in relationship and having the readiness to apologize and forgive
- To keep your relationship alive until tying the knot, analyze your triggers and the unique requirements for your relationship
- You must not lose your self in ‘us’ especially when building a lasting relationship with a man
- Address issues head on, take responsibility for your part, nurture romance, prioritize platonic physical affection
- Show up for your partner
- Show appreciation and gratitude. Be kind
Before you get cracking, do make sure you both are on the same page. Someone spending their energy, emotional endurance, and valuable time in the wrong place is not only futile but can be counterproductive.
Now you have the key to the secret door of a happy, long-lasting relationship. We hope, sooner or later, you meet your precious one at the altar. And if you have already met them, you can use these tips to build your relationship after getting engaged to them. We wish you a fairytale ending!
This article has been updated in December 2022.
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