How To Make A Relationship Last: 10 Tips From A Therapist

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playful couple

A relationship cannot survive on its own. It's more than being able to fall in love. To last, relationships need the care and nurturing of two adults, giving to each other in a way that creates a mutually beneficial connection.

A few of the most important things in long-term relationships are honesty, empathy, and communication. Couples who demonstrate these traits are high in psychological flexibility, which is a key factor in whether or not a relationship will last.

How do you make a relationship last forever?

Being mindful and practicing the following will help you make your relationship stronger.

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To foster a deep and loving relationship, there needs to be:

1. Kind, constant, and honest communication.

Without talking, your relationship will not survive. The more you communicate (in a respectful, effective way), the closer you will be. Breathe, make eye contact, and make sure what you say always comes right from the heart.

Not only should you learn to communicate your feelings, but it's equally important to practice becoming a good listener.

2. The willingness to work through difficulties and disagreements.

Throwing in the towel when you experience relationship problems, even if you don’t walk out the door, is not the path to happiness. You must face the discomfort that comes with differing opinions and ideas that hurt your feelings.

3. A sense of humor, some fun, and a bit of distraction from the rigors of daily life.

Just as we need to breathe to survive, your love needs a breath of fresh air to flourish.

Giving your relationship what it needs to thrive is a truly loving gesture. You can’t spend all your free time “working” on your relationship — don’t make it a hobby.

Discuss what you like to do, where you’d like to go, and how you both like to have fun. Then go do it.

4. Sharing life lessons with the one you love.

When you discover something about life, or you make a self-correcting move that is healthy for your relationship, let your partner know. You’ll be surprised by the positive response.

5. Emotional support, validation, and compliments.

If you don’t feel that you partner likes and respects you, there will not be a strong connection. You have to lift each other up and let each other know the depth of your caring.

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6. Love, intimacy, romance, and sex.

These are the cornerstones of a loving relationship.

Being great roommates just won’t cut it. There has to be the desire to be together as a couple.

You may think the spark has gone, but there are so many ways to rekindle it. All you have to do is try.

7. Sharing goals and dreams that resonate with both of you.

We are happier when we are working toward a goal than when we have achieved one. Make sure you always have something to look forward to and that you are pursuing it as a couple.

8. Compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness.

These will show you the way through a difficult time. If you are together for a while, there will be losses, challenges, and some things that you just can’t fix. Weathering the storms together is a big part of what relationships are all about.

9. A mutual desire to step outside the box.

The tried-and-true is good, but the never-attempted-before may be better. Couples who share new experiences together, like a unique date night every so often, develop a stronger bond.

10. Being able to admit mistakes and to talk about them.

We all screw up. Learning to understand and let go of mistakes that you or your partner make will turn your life around and give you more time for joy.

Knowing how to apologize will make all the difference in getting through tough times in your relationship.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, syndicated columnist, keynote speaker, and most recently the author of Emotional Fitness for Couples.

This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.