Love is often its most sweet at the beginning. All too often this wonderment fades with the hard work necessary to sustain a long-term relationship. How can we ensure that when we enter into a romance, we can build it to last? There are so many obstacles to a lasting love – daily tasks, lingering resentments, conflicting schedules and an imbalance between personal needs. If you feel like your relationship is in need of a tune-up, read the following seven tips to create a fulfilling romance.
- Be comfortable saying “I’m sorry”
No one is perfect and mistakes will happen in any relationship. When you are able to honestly apologize you can begin to heal any miscommunication or misunderstanding. By saying your sorry doesn’t make you weak or in the wrong, instead it shows your empathy. Saying “sorry” signals to another individual that their feelings are valid and you are “with them” in solving any issue they may face. Make sure that when you say “I’m sorry” you don’t follow it up with an excuse. Make sure you give your partner a platform to be heard and be willing to either validate their feelings or ask questions to gain better clarity on the root issues.
Being truly connected to a person, even if you share space together, requires healthy communication. No one is a mind reader! Take time each day to both spend time together and check in with other’s needs and thinking. By allocating quality time and substantive dialogue into even the most hectic of days, a couple can feel more in sync and build a deeper appreciation for one another.
- Understand how to balance a need for space
Just as couple need to find quality time together, it is necessary for personal self care to create a little alone time. Check in with your partner to understand when they are stepping away for solo time that it isn’t a way to avoid a bigger problem. Have an open discussion about what amount of solo time is perceived as healthy for each partner and at what point should one “check-in” on the other. It is important that when feel like the other is “pulling away” that you are able to communicate your feelings with each other, and the other partner doesn’t begin to withdraw as well.
- Balance time spent with each other’s loved ones both as individuals and as a couple
Just because you love someone doesn’t means all your needs and priorities align. This is especially true when it comes to balancing family and social time. Sometimes it is important to have a girl’s night out and sometimes you need to know just which family you both want to visit for Thanksgiving. Discussing and respecting both of your perceptions and wishes can cut down on potential miscommunication and resentments. These discussions are important for you both to know which family will give you the best possible Christmas experience and when a holiday should just be celebrated by the two of you. It also can bring potential conflicts to light like running into a creepy uncle at a wedding or avoiding an argument with an in-law.
- Cultivate a shared history rich with memories and special jokes
Nothing solves a tense moment quite like sincere laughter. Using a shared history can help you reconnect following an argument or difficult social situation. No matter how trivial they can seem, sharing an inside joke or memory can help you reappreciate your special romantic bond.
- Honor both your individual difference and common interests
Life would be boring if we were all the same, but it is also those shared interests or values that cement a bond. All too often when things go wrong, we focus on the differences. We can feel a false sense of control by the promise of potential being able to change someone. Sure, it is important to discuss and understand difference, but don’t fixate on them. When you honor both the differences and the commonalities you fully appreciate the totality of your partner. A healthy love is when you treasure what makes someone them and not loving them in spite of anything.
- Show both love and appreciate on a daily basis
Love is not a big idea, but the sum of all the small moments and special quirks. Life is hard and draining, but taking time out of each day to tell your partner that you love them and showing gratitude they are in your life, makes even the worst day bearable. Display love through both verbal and through thoughtful actions. If your partner is feeling exhausted, fixing them a bowl of soup could be a big comfort. Prior to a big meeting consider sending them a supportive text or humorous meme. Joy is a balm for even the weariest soul. By doing a kind act daily it will also reduce the pressure to produce a grand gesture at a later date.
To create lasting and fulfilling love we must be willing to be accountable, vulnerable and show up for each other. Meet hardships with grace, humor and sincere appreciation. Honor both differences and similarities to show your partner you love them for exactly who they are. Be loving and appreciative daily and not just on anniversaries or holidays, that way you both will always feel like you are still in the sweetest phase of your romance.