The willingness to be together – you may think that’s all it takes for couples to spend their lives together! You wouldn’t be wrong, but the nuances involved in “happily ever after” are quite intricate.
When a relationship begins, the romance is new and exciting. However, what are couples to do as time goes by and the chemistry starts to fizzle? What keeps them together then?
All relationships are different and experience their share of ups and downs. However, couples in healthy long-term relationships manage to get past them and come out stronger and more in love. In other words, achieving those much-coveted “couple goals” takes work.
It is crucial for couples to fortify their romantic relationship with a few robust pillars to strengthen their bond for the long haul. It is these pillars that will bring them closer together and keep them that way.
Wondering what these pillars are? Read on.
“Respect is love in plain clothes.” – Frankie Byrne
Without respect, love is incomplete. In fact, it is impossible to love someone we do not respect. Respecting your partner and being respected by them in return in thought and deed is crucial to creating a healthy long-term relationship. This means understanding that your partner is a person with their own individuality, likes, and dislikes, which may be different from yours, and still loving them without expecting them to change.
Love and admiration are the byproducts of mutual respect. Respecting your partner also involves valuing their presence, thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants. Accepting your partner as they are is a great way to show your love for them.
“A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.” – Anonymous
A relationship in which the partners do not trust each other is doomed from the start. It is necessary to maintain transparency with each other in order to create a healthy degree of certainty and security in the relationship. This puts the couple in a good space where they feel free to confide in one another.
The only way to develop trust is to ensure that your actions are in perfect harmony with your words. Both partners need to show that they are dependable and consistent by walking the talk. It also proves that each has their partner’s best interest at heart.
“Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships.” – Lauryn Hill
You know you’re in a healthy long-term relationship when you can be upfront and truthful to your partner without feeling that you will be loved any less. Keeping secrets and not disclosing the complete truth only cripple relationships.
The honest truth, despite how harsh it may be, can be made easy-to-digest by putting it across subtly and considerately to your partner.
“We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” – Billy Graham
Being a couple means sharing your lives with each other. This refers not just to sharing your home, belongings, and feelings, but also other practical everyday considerations such as the living arrangement, division of house-related work, organizing the home, managing finances, whether or not you want children (if yes, then how many), spending the holidays, and so on.
Whether there is agreement or disagreement in the above matters, it is important to share and discuss them rather than bottle them up and become bitter.
“When you are authentic, you create a certain energy. People want to be around you because you are unique.” – Andie McDowell
Being a couple does not mean that either one of you loses your individuality in a bid to please the other. Both partners need to always maintain their authenticity and clearly express their likes, dislikes, opinions, values, mottos, etc.
A big part of being in a healthy relationship is that you can be yourself with your partner. Remember, your partner fell in love with who you are, not who you’re trying to be.
While no couple is enthusiastic all the time, the curiosity to know what’s going on in their partner’s life is strong in healthy relationships. There is a huge difference between simply listening to your partner for the sake of it and listening to them enthusiastically.
Real enthusiasm cannot be faked. It is not possible to feel enthusiastic about something happening in your partner’s life if you’re not curious about them in general. Without this pillar, your partner will feel neglected.
“Gratitude is nutrition for a living relationship.” – Steve Maraboli
Couples in love tend to be grateful for their partners. They show their appreciation in several ways. Cooking them a fancy meal, gifting them designer rings, whisking them away on a luxury holiday, and taking them shopping to their favorite store every once in a while are some romantic ways to demonstrate an attitude of gratitude towards your partner.
“Communication to relationships is like oxygen to life. Without it… it dies.” – Tony Gaskins
A couple cannot hope to resolve their differences and make important life decisions if they don’t communicate well. In many ways, communication is the pillar upon which the rest of the pillars depend for standing tall.
It is essential for couples to regularly communicate, spend time sharing their thoughts and opinions, and decide how they want to spend their lives together.
Just like it takes two to tango, it takes equal effort from two people to make a relationship work. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Every couple has gone through tough times, but the ones who have built their bond on the above pillars have overcome them and achieved their “happily ever after.” Only a healthy relationship can survive the test of time, despite how bad things get.