New relationships have a ‘honeymoon’ phase, which is not meant to last. When you commit to someone and share a life with them, you will discover that staying with them requires a special set of skills. A lot of couples find that their relationship starts to fall apart after seven years because so few of us are taught the skills that are needed to maintain or strengthen the emotional bonds that made us want to get married in the first place.
That’s where these tips from LP can help. These seven principles, which come from four decades of science, could help your love to last a lifetime.
- Seek help before troubles get serious:
Many couples wait for six years before they seek help for their problems. Remember that half of all marriages end within the first seven years. The average couple lives with their unhappiness for too long, and if they had sought help earlier on in the relationship, they may have been able to salvage it.
- Watch Your Words:
Successful couples make an effort to be kind to each other. They try not to say every critical thing that comes into their head, and they will find ways to express their concerns or needs respectfully, without blaming or criticizing their partners.
- Communicate Without Trying to Fight:
Arguments often get sparked by one partner making a contemptuous remark or being overly critical in a tense moment. If you bring up problems early on, gently, and without blame then this will allow your partner to understand what you are thinking and work towards a solution.
- Be Willing to Compromise:
Relationships work best when a couple is willing to accept influence from each other. For example, if one person says “Do you have plans for the weekend. My family is in town and I would like your help to prepare for their visit”, but the other partner says “No, I have already made plans and won’t change them”, then this is not a good sign. Sometimes plans can’t be changed, but if that happens every single time one partner asks for something then this could be a sign of a shaky marriage. The couple should always be willing to work with each other, with no one partner always ‘being in charge’, despite what some cultures have raised people to think. The true partnership comes from both sides.
- Maintain high standards for yourself and each other:
People in successful relationships tend to have high standards for themselves, and for each other. A happy couple will usually set the expectation early on that they will not accept hurtful behavior. Having a low tolerance for bad treatment during the ‘honeymoon period’ means that you set boundaries early on, and weed out bad partners.
- Learn strategies for ending arguments:
Happy couples usually have ways of repairing situations before an argument gets out of control. They may make a joke or show that they’re on common ground so that their partner doesn’t feel isolated or attacked. Backing down if the argument is not major is also important, and can lead to long-term happiness. If things are getting too heated, then it can be helpful to take a short timeout, and come back to the situation when you both feel calmer.
- Find the good:
Happy couples usually have a lot of good to say about their relationship and tend to limit the negative comments. So, find the good things, say “we always find ways to have a laugh” or “we can communicate well” rather than “we never do anything fun together”. Finding the ‘fun’ can build up your emotional bank account.