10 Things People In Long-Lasting Marriages Do Differently (That The Rest Of Us Can Learn From)

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10 Skills The Best Long-Term Partners Have MASTERED

If you want to make it for the long haul...

What makes a long-term relationship work and why are so many of them fragile? A good place to start is to look at people who have made their relationships work over a long period of time.

We can’t know, on that very day we tie the know, that we are going to stay happy and weather the storms ahead, which is why so many couples today are terrified of commitment.

I have been happily married for almost 29 years and, in reality, when I was a young innocent 20-year-old, I could never really have predicted what I have now, but what is very interesting is some of the qualities I am about to share with you below, which Ian and I both saw in each other back then.

Have you ever been around people who have been happily married for most of their lives and noticed how they have a real look of admiration for each other, how they ‘share’ their smiles and they almost finish each other's sentences?

They will have gone through the greatest of challenges whilst also sharing life’s happiest moments.

Almost all of us who choose to get married or be with a partner for the long term will want to reach old age and be so glad we made the right choice. We must ask ourselves, what is it these couples have, what is it they do, and what is it they feel? What makes a long-term relationship happy?

These couples have, to begin with, made a good choice in ‘choosing’ their partner and have developed the skill of mastering a healthy long-term relationship. Couples who are who are honest and reliable, whilst being able to face huge challenges and say, "Let’s work this out" are some key ingredients.

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Being flexible without trying to predict the future really helps and having the same core values about children, religion, money, and sex and not seeing divorce, as an option is fundamental. Happy marriages aren’t always happy and that’s OK.

Romantic love can be kept alive and is very much part of long-term happy relationships; it doesn’t have to slip into a sort of companionship that many of us believe is the case.

I believe that we all crave to be emotionally and romantically loved and to keep this going, we need to keep ‘falling in love’, which reduces stress and anxiety and promotes the feel-good factor. Basically the more we focus on this, the more we can create the feelings.

Romantic love, those early stages of ‘falling in love’, is totally free from craving and obsession and not only does it create that special bond between the two of you it also raises your self-esteem and your general well being.

To know how to make marriage last, here are some of the skills long-term partners have mastered:

1. They know intense arguments or long periods of silence are not problems in themselves.

Many couples tend to focus on arguments. Long-term couples have the ability to resolve these differences. This experience that creates a deeper level of understanding between couples.

2. They listen — and effectively communicate.

When we talk about being able to effectively communicate, we are talking about listening to understand, not getting ready for your reply whilst the other person is talking.

Take the time to give your partner your total attention when they have something to say.

3. They have mutual respect for each other.

Treating each other with respect from day one will become part of your relationship makeup — and this means having respect for you, first. 

4. They keep things interesting.

They indulge in each other’s passions, they continually cultivate their intimacy, and they spend quality time together.

5. They realize love grows.

It doesn’t stand still so being flexible is key here, as your relationship will not stand still. You cannot expect to continually do the same old thing day in day out and have a happy relationship.

Relationships require effort; interest and excitement to keep the spark alight.

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6. They laugh a lot.

When facing challenges, humor is one the elements that really help couples through these times, along with being flexible, having respect and sticking with it; working it out. When facing a hurdle find common ground together or make a decision to leave it alone.

7. They have daily rituals that help keep their bond in place.

Couples make a point of starting each day with a hug or holding hands when they walk or enjoying a cup of tea together at the end of the day.

8. They trust in each other.

Having trust in every aspect of your life, whether together or apart, being able to discuss everything without fear of what the other person might think or say; this creates vulnerability, an openness that takes your feelings to a deeper level of commitment.

9. They're friends.

Being friends is really a must to stay together for the long term; being able to turn to your partner for absolutely anything brings a comfort and an appreciation to the relationship.

Friendships take time and need nurturing so spend time together regardless of work or the kids.

10. They can't imagine life without each other.

I know Ian and I we couldn’t imagine life without each other. Above all, the positivity in your marriage must outweigh the negativity for you both to create a happy lasting relationship.

After all these years I still have some wonderful illusions of Ian, some of the time keeping him on that pedestal; we are always looking to create new ideas together whilst we maintain our independence ‘doing our own thing’ — he’s passionate about cars while I love sports and personal development.

I truly believe that if we want passion, commitment and fulfillment in a long-term relationship we must first discover this for ourselves in our own hobbies and interests, so we can then invest more time and energy into our partnership for it to be successful.

Bring to your partnership what you’d like to achieve from being together; don’t look to your partner to fulfill your needs, start fulfilling these yourself. We are born to love — can it last for the long-term? What do you think, I’d love to hear from you?

I am devoting my life to helping people all over the world with their relationships. Why? Simply because I have transformed every relationship in my entire life and now professionally qualified to help others I have the drive and passion to make it my mission in life.

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Louise Armstrong is a Family Relationship Coach, Counsellor and Clinical Hypnotherapist. If you’re struggling with your relationship, come and join her closed FB group especially created for women to move forward in a caring, non-judgemental environment, "Let’s Talk Relationship & Life." Take the relationship quiz and see where your relationship is right now.