When you’re still in the honeymoon phase, all wrapped up in the excitement of new love, you might be blinded to know if this is the real deal. So what do couples who manage to stay deeply in love do more often than couples who don’t?
After being in and out of a few relationships myself, I have learned that the most important thing for a thriving relationship is that you have a great relationship with yourself, before you can be madly in love with anyone else.
You cannot put your happiness in other people's hands, that's your responsibility; and privilege.
In the beginning you may want to present the sparkliest version of yourself, hiding things that could make you seem less desirable; like the goofball nutcase that you are, but the truth is there is no real foundation with trying to create a loosely fabricate version of yourself.
When you are comfortable with who you are, only then will you be able to be that special someone for someone else.
Feeling comfortable and being yourselves around each other, allows your true colors to show and that is where you start to build trust and friendship, two core values if you ask me.
You know what they say about location. Communication, Communication, Communication. And this doesn't mean that if you are talking that it's actual communication. You want to communicate in a way where you are having a real conversation; understanding and being understood.
How comfortable do you feel expressing your true feelings about any given situation with your partner? Not bashing your ex or how they didn't treat you right or complaining about your boss, I mean things that you brush off and downplay to avoid an argument.
It takes courage, maturity and inner strength to be transparent and vulnerable, about the not-so-positive aspects about ourselves, the relationship and expressing what we want and need, even with your best friend; your partner.
Being a good partner also means that you are a good listener. When you are having a discussion does one of you constantly interrupt the other one, are you scrolling through Instagram or trying to eyeball your show while "listening"? Trying to maintain eye contact, respond thoughtfully and being present makes communicating and understanding so much easier. Remember the things your partner is sharing with you, even the little stuff, are meaningful to them and should matter to you.
Now sometimes the conversations can get heated and conflict is usually inevitable at some point in most relationships. You're human, this happens. It’s how you conduct yourselves during those heated moments that matters.
During tense conversations, you should be able to treat each other with respect, hear your partner out, rather than half-assing it while formulating your next point in your head.
There is no need to fight dirty even if tempted to stoop to a lower level, it's never ok to be nasty or call your partner names.
Instead of saying "You make me feel like" & "I don't understand why you can't", use "I feel", "I need" or "help me understand why".
Apologizing can sometimes be hard and needs practice to get good at, as everything else in life. Taking responsibility and sincerely apologizing when you’ve said or done something wrong, instead of rattling off a bunch of excuses for your behavior, will allow you to move through rough patches without lingering resentments.
Couples with longevity always remember that they’re on the same team. You should feel joy when your partner does well, because their success shouldn’t be threatening or a reason for jealousy. When they are happy, it’s a win for the both of you and should be celebrated as such. When you are enthusiastic about each other, you let each other know how proud you are of their wins and success.
Try something new together; laughing and wanting to be with each other is deeply relevant.
Though alone time is significant, wanting to do things together and having similar interests is going to add value and purpose. Opposites might attract but prolongation comes with wanting to spend quality time together.
When you are adventurous and enjoy trying new things together, especially after the honeymoon phase, you are more likely to go the distance. Because as the years go by, it’s only going to become more of challenge to keep things fresh. Exploring new things, having fun and truly being silly together help keep the passion alive in a relationship. Make adventure a part of your relationship and laughing together a top priority. Laughter may be the best medicine, but it’s also the best kept secret to keeping the spark alive.
Inevitably you are going to change as a person throughout the years; I found that couples that can and want to grow together, stay together.
It’s easy for a long-term relationship to get stuck and the truth is that even in the best relationships, romance will dwindle if you’re not working on it. When butterflies turn into to-do lists, and the relationship grows into a routine, this is where the communicating really needs to kick in. Think of your relationship as maintaining a good healthy body, you need to nourish it for it to stay well. That's why growing individually together is important.
So how about trust? What does it mean to you? I've witness work and hobbies being attended to more than your partner and as sometimes that's just life, it's important to acknowledge that keeping your promises to your partner is a big part of trust.
Call when you say you’re going to call, show up as promised and when you agree to do something, do it. Trust is when you know you can count on each other for things big and small. Consistency allows for trust to build, which then allows intimacy to grow because both partners feel safe and comfortable.
Intimacy happens in the little moments; making eye contact with your partner actually has scientific backing; your brain feels more connected with another person through eye contact.
And then there is sex. Being physical with your partner is only a natural part of being in love. Knowing your wants and needs and voicing them to your partner is crucial, there is nothing to be ashamed about. If this person is really your best friend, there shouldn't be anything you can't talk about with them, even sex and how you want it. Keeping an open mind and finding ways to satisfy each other’s needs will set you up for a fulfilling sex life for years to come.
Lastly, do not limit kissing to be just a means of saying hello and goodbye, or as a way to initiate intimacy. Kiss deeply and passionately when there’s no expectation or reason at all.
What does a thriving relationship look like to you? How do you maintain the spark in your relationship?