When you see couples who have been together for years and are still happily in love, you may ask yourself what do they know that everyone else doesn't. The truth is,
maintaining a long-lasting relationship isn't easy. Not everyone can do it. But if you want your relationship to last, there are a few key things you and your partner need to do.
First off, it's important to remember that
relationships take work. As sex and relationship therapist, Cyndi Darnell tells Bustle, couples who last recognize that relationships are living things that need nourishment. "Relationships are not static monoliths," she says. "Just like a plant or a pet, living things need sustenance to survive. Love alone is not enough, especially when there's no identifiable expression of it on a regular basis."
Long-lasting couples not only love each other, but they also do things each day to show their love. Showing your partner that you care doesn't require anything special or out of the ordinary. It can be as simple as
doing a thoughtful act of service or really listening when they have something important to say.
Above all, couples who last make it a point to do things together. So if you want your relationship to last, here are some things experts say you should be doing with your partner.
Money can be a source of stress for any couple. But if you're on the same page financially and there are no secrets being kept, you have a good chance of making it work. "An extraordinary amount of divorcing couples have their finances separate and always have," divorce lawyer,
Russell D. Knight, tells Bustle. "I believe these people never really fully committed to the relationship and always had one foot out the door." While you don't have to share all of your money, combining some of your finances and sharing a checking account shows that you two are serious about having a future together. It also shows that you're on the same team.
travel together, stay together. "Who we spend our special times with, like a vacation, demonstrates who is is important to us," relationship counselor Monte Drenner, tells Bustle. Going on vacations together helps to build strong emotional memories, that will bond you together.
"This might sound so cheesy but a simple gesture such as holding hands is something long-lasting couples do but never think twice about," Celia Schweyer, dating expert at
Dating Scout, tells Bustle. Holding hands while you're walking in the park or buying groceries is a casual way to show affection and give reassurance. "Intimacy has so many facets that it just doesn't mean sex," Schweyer says. Something as simple as holding hands can turn a physical connection into an emotional one. Scheduling sex may not seem like the sexiest thing to do, but life gets busy. So if you have to do it, be sure to do it. According to Darnell, couples that last make time in their busy lives to have sex. "They recognize that sex is something that may require scheduling and attention, but they make room for it," she says. "They also talk about sex, what they like and want, and manage differences by listening and negotiating." Just like your relationship, your sex life also needs to be worked on.
One thing that sets long-lasting couples apart from everyone else is they keep dating each other. According to Schweyer, they make things interesting by trying new things together. Their date nights aren't limited to the same restaurants or activities. They still put effort into their dates in order to keep their relationship fresh, fun, and exciting.
Some people seem to think that listening means staying quiet until it's your turn to talk. But couples who are built to last practice active listening. As Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of
Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle, "They don't just wait to talk, but listen to understand." They ask questions that show they really care about each other's "inner and outer worlds." Most importantly, they get rid of any distractions.
Communicate Openly And Honestly
It's no secret that one of the ways to a healthy and happy relationship is communication. "When partners openly communicate where they are, what they're doing, what their plans are in the coming days, or what they want to do, it shows that they respect each other's time and space," Schweyer says. Honest communication also validates the trust you have for each other. If you can share your feelings without feeling the need to hold back, it shows that you have faith in your partner and your relationship. According to Schweyer, it also shows that you two respect each other's own identities.
Choose Each Other Every Day
"Long-lasting couples do one thing consistently and they must both do it or else they won't last: Choose each other,"
Rosella LaFevre, relationship expert and life coach, tells Bustle. Having someone to go through life with can make things both easier and more challenging. On one hand, you'll always have someone there for you. But on the other, you can't really be selfish anymore. The choices you make will affect your partner. When you choose your partner, you make decisions for the good of the relationship. According to LaFevre, choosing each other leads to other behaviors that support a couple's health and longevity, like doing nice things for each other and giving each other space when needed.
There are a lot of different things you can do with your partner to help your relationship stay strong. At the end of the day, couples that last are committed to the relationship and will do what it takes to make things work. If you and your partner are both committed and make an effort to nurture the relationship, you can have a relationship that lasts.