Relationships take work, and anyone who has been in one for a fair share of years knows this in and out. There’s no shame in having some difficulties now and then, and no matter how well you get along with each other, it’s impossible to have a perfectly straight line without some bumps. This is natural, and though it means there are lows, it also makes room for those wonderful highs. There is also beauty in the long plateaus.
However, there is still a difference between healthy disagreements and toxic behaviors. If you’re looking to find ways to make your long-term relationship stable, read on. Though it is not one-size-fits-all, it could help you find what works for you and your partner.
1. Don’t shy away from asking for help (and discussing whether it’s time to seek it out).
This is an important factor down the line, especially when navigating misunderstandings and the like. A reliable outside perspective mixed with your own personal knowledge of your own relationship combined can be a good way to positively work through things. Telling a couple that “good communication is the key” may seem like a contrived cliché, but the paths to really staying in tune with each other are more complex. For this kind of stuff, it could be beneficial to seek out marriage counseling. There are many great counselors nowadays as society realizes that the bad connotation of getting therapy as a couple is only a counterproductive stereotype.
2. Anticipate the push-and-pull and know when to give way.
Too often, the frustration stems from missed expectations. It should be known to both of you that, as time goes on, things may not always be a balanced 50/50, where each side tries to take on the weight. Naturally, there will be times when one has to pick up the slack, and there are moments where either might have to learn how to compromise.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a major sacrifice, either. Just as there can be a push and pull, there can also be give and take. As long as you and your significant other aren’t demanding or defensive, it’s possible to navigate these weaving turns together even as the balance shifts back and forth. The key to keeping this healthy is by ensuring that neither one is taking advantage or building up unwarranted expectations.
3. Let go of the “winning” mentality in fights.
It can be a very problematic mindset to get trapped in. It doesn’t really make much room for understanding each other, learning, and growing together. Disagreements should not simply devolve into trying to one-up the other. Especially since this can establish resentments and feed unhealthy habits. Psychologists note that, while couples can disagree, fights should not be an arena where all compassion and respect for each other are thrown out. Try to resolve the conflict together, even from opposing sides.
Psychologists suggest figuring out the right time and manner to talk it out. Know that the presence of conflict itself should not be fuel to the fire. After all, they state that couples who have no conflict whatsoever are actually more prone to end up in divorce. Just make sure any conflict is actually constructive and not just chronic negativity from either one.
4. Make sure you understand each other’s love languages.
It has been widely established that there are five different types of love languages. You may not think that this is a legitimate concept that you need to really know about. Still, it can actually help you navigate your relationship and understand your partner much better. A lot of unresolved feelings or misinterpretations happen. Because we don’t realize that we have different ways of expressing care for each other. In their basic form, the five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving or giving gifts, physical touch, and acts of service.
Make sure you both know how each person expresses their love. And in turn, what each looks for when they want to affirm that they are loved.
5. Root everything in care and honesty.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important that through the ups and downs, the complications, the boring days, and confusing times, you root everything in caring for each other and maintaining honesty. This guides your intent and actions overall. When you are transparent, but everything comes from a place of love, you can have a genuine and sustainable relationship with each other.
These are just some of the most effective ways to keep up a healthy relationship for a long time. Though is every couple is different, you can apply this to your situation accordingly.