Finding the love of your life and marrying them is the easy part. Actually having a successful marriage will require a bit of work. Unfortunately, getting married doesn't guarantee you that you'll be with your partner forever. So how do you know if your marriage is going to last?
"A long-lasting marriage embodies a pattern of consistency," licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Dani Moye, PhD, tells Bustle. "Each individual devotes time, energy, and continuous effort into growing together and not apart."
Couples that last longer tend to have more selfless love in their relationships. "Forever" is a long time to be with someone — you never know what life will throw at you. But as Dr. Moye says, "When you're committed to reaching longevity as a couple, your response to life's many shifts always comes from a place of selflessness." Marriages that last focus on the "we" more than the individual "me's."
Having a marrige that lasts isn't easy. As Maria Sullivan, relationship expert and VP of Dating.com, tells Bustle, "Relationships are hard work and a lot of the reason why people get divorced is because they give up putting in the effort and time that every successful marriage needs." But if you see the following signs in your marriage, experts say yours is likely to last.
1. You Love And Accept Each Other
If you realized early on that you love your partner for who they are and not what they have or what they can do for you, your marriage is going to last. People aren't perfect; your partner is bound to make mistakes. But as Sullivan says, "A willingness to accept your partner for who they are and embrace their flaws will make for a very happy and healthy marriage," Sullivan says.
2. You Stay Curious About Each Other
"The best way to ensure that your marriage is still cohesive, is to check in every once in a while," Dr. Moye says. "Be curious about how your partner views you in this season, as opposed to last season when you were in a different place." Always keep in mind that people change. It may not be anything drastic, but it's important to stay up-to-date on your partner's likes, dislikes, and what's going on in their world. If you never stop asking questions and you stay curious about them, your marriage can last a lifetime.
3. There's Open Communication
It gets said a lot, but open communication really is one of the most important things you need to have in your relationship. "Each partner should feel comfortable speaking their thoughts and feelings to the other," psychologist Alexandra B. Grundleger, PhD, tells Bustle. "This involves sharing with your partner when you feel both positive and negative emotions." If you and your partner have created a relationship that's safe for you to express yourselves, you have a good chance at making it last.
4. You Always Support Each Other
"Unsuccessful couples often feel stuck, unsupported, and unable to take positive steps towards their ultimate goals, either personal or professional," Grundleger says. "But lasting couples will consistently support each other in their dreams, goals, and endeavors." As long as you both feel like you're on each other's sides, you'll always have a strong relationship.
5. There's A Healthy Balance Of Responsibilities
"In all long-term successful relationships, there's a healthy balance of responsibilities," Grundleger says. There's no right or wrong way to split the chores or the bills. As long as you're both doing your fair share of the work, your relationship should be fine.
6. You Have A Solid Amount Of Emotional And Physical Intimacy
Intimacy is more than just sex. It's the connection that you have with each other, and it's the glue that will keep your relationship strong for a long time. "All healthy, long-term couples will have a solid amount of emotional and physical intimacy," Grundleger says. "While the amount of intimacy may change over the years, there will always be constant effort towards connecting with one another."
7. You Trust Each Other
One major sign that your marriage is going to last is that you and your partner trust each other completely. "To be able to trust is to be able to live who you are — openly, honestly, and authentically," marriage counselor, Gary Brown, PhD, LMFT, tells Bustle. "Couples that last are generally not afraid to be vulnerable with their partners." Without trust and vulnerability, there is no intimacy.
8. You Play Together
"Like the saying goes, 'the couple that plays together stays together,'" Julia McCurley, professional matchmaker and founder of Something More, tells Bustle. "Engaging in fun, novel activities will help couples grow closer to each other." When you're having fun together, you bring positive energy into the relationship. Couples who are happy together tend to stay together.
9. You Prioritize Each Other
For the most part, we're all busy. Making your partner a priority isn't about dropping everything in your life in order to cater to their needs. Instead, it's about making time for them because they're important to you. "We often associate spontaneity as the way to create romance," McCurley says. "But when we spend scheduled time together, we start to share and talk more. And as we share and talk more, we feel more intimate. We feel closer." That closeness with your partner is key to making your marriage last.
10. You're Both Self-Aware
"Marriages that last involve couples who are courageous," Brown says. "It’s not always so easy to look at ourselves and acknowledge that sometimes we have our own blocks to loving intimacy." When you're self-aware, you're less likely to play the blame game. You'll go into conflicts knowing that you're not perfect and you've made some mistakes. Because of that, you can resolve problems in a healthier way.
11. You Fight In Healthy And Productive Ways
If you know how to argue or disagree in a healthy way, that's a pretty good sign your marriage is going to last. "There may be times when you'll need to compromise, give in, or agree to disagree," relationship expert and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. If you know how to express your feelings without pushing your partner's buttons or blaming them, you're on the right track.
11. There's Financial Accountability
Money is one of the biggest reasons behind why people get divorced. So if you and your partner are on the same page financially, that's a good sign that your relationship is going to last. "Couples should regularly assess their income and expenses, come up with a budget that they both can live with (and modify when necessary) that allows them to pay their financial obligations, plan for the future, save and have a good quality of life," Rappaport says. "If they do this, their marriage will have financial stability."
13. You Go Out Of Your Way To Do Nice Things For Each Other
Doing small thoughtful things for your partner is a great way to show that you care. It's especially helpful whenever you're going through a rough patch. "By being considerate partners, you can pretty much be assured that your relationship will always improve with time," Rappaport says.
14. Rough Patches In Your Relationship Bring You Closer Together
If you've weathered a big storm together without turning on each other, Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle, your marriage is going to last. "Couples who can get through a serious hardship, traumatic event, or loss together without blame or turning away from each other, have proven they have what it takes to work as a partnership," she says. "Partnerships that have demonstrated strength together during hard times have a much greater likelihood of surviving long-term."
15. You're 100 Percent Committed To Each Other
"The most important ingredient to making a marriage last is commitment," Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, certified Imago relationship therapist, tells Bustle. "The couples that make it are those that are committed to making their marriage work." That means you don't give up whenever things get hard. You actually talk to each other when you're having problems. When you're committed to your partner, you will do whatever you can to see that your relationship lasts.
It's no secret that not all marriages are successful. But if you notice these things in your relationship, your marriage has what it takes to last.