Linda and Charlie Bloom, authors of Secrets of Great Marriages, write about lasting couples that over time ‘the experience of nurturing the relationship no longer feels like effort or work, but literally becomes a labor of love that feels more like a gift, a joyful opportunity for which we feel grateful and blessed.’
4 Habits of Lasting Couples
One thing that lasting couples do is care for each other’s feelings by doing the emotional work that the relationship requires. Emotional work is something that we rarely hear about but psychologists study this topic as a factor in relationship happiness.
Researchers in the Journal of Family Issues say of emotional work that ‘Family members do work to meet people’s emotional needs, improve their well-being, and maintain harmony. When emotional work is shared equally, both men and women have access to emotional resources in the family. However, like housework and childcare, the distribution of emotional work is gendered.’ Women are the ones who typically take on the emotional work in a relationship.
The researchers show how important the emotional work is to healthy relationships; partners with a gender imbalance with emotional work tended to see an erosion of the marriage, which ‘posed a health risk to women and helped explain gender differences in psychological distress.’
For a lasting relationship, men need to learn to identify emotional cues from their female partner and help her to release feelings of anger/sadness/fear. When male partners are able to support their companions emotionally, they have the skills needed for a lasting relationship.
1. Work on solving problems
Every day couples face challenges just to get coordinated and get out the door for work, and they haven’t even discussed what they are having for dinner. Beyond that, larger problems come up with regard to finances, health, family planning, social commitments, etc.
Couples who have a lasting relationship are looking to the future together. They usually share a common goal, for example retiring early or paying off the house so that they have money to travel. A shared goal is a common problem that each partner is working on solving.
2. Communicate openly
Of course you talk to your partner, but when you are in a lasting relationship you seek to understand your other half rather than just talking to them. You express your viewpoint and ask your partner to contribute their opinion as well.
Communication is a gift that you can give your partner in the form of excellent listening skills. Misunderstandings can be a source of tension and anger in a relationship. Prevent problems by being fully present when your partner is speaking. Eliminate distractions, make eye contact and do not wait to speak. Ask questions about what your partner said and restate their words so they know that you truly understand them. The importance of excellent communication cannot be overstated for lasting couples. Open communication is also the basis of trust. Lasting couples do not hide things from their partner.
3. Create a shared special moment
Successful business leaders know that reviewing the workday to find the lessons learned is an excellent practice to follow. In a strong relationship with your romantic partner, you should also look back to see how your day went as a couple.
Was there a learning experience that you can apply right now? Did your partner smile or laugh with you today? Are you free of worries or is there something you need to get off your chest? What one thing would make your day together even better?
Creating one special moment each day with your love is not difficult. All it takes is knowing your partner well and finding the right moment to connect with them deeply. Think right now of one thing that your partner likes that you can give them.
For example, you might share a private joke while watching your favorite movie. The special moment could be when you sense your partner’s tension and give them a backrub. Maybe your special moment is a cuddle in bed together. These small, but significantly intimate moments are what make a lasting couple blissfully connected.
4. Reaffirm their commitment
This may sound corny, but really, each day that you choose to stay with your partner, you are making a conscious commitment to them. Let’s face it, you do have free will and you could choose to find another partner. The fact that you don’t do that is a very important decision that you have barely even been aware of making.
The author knows a man who each day says to his wife, ‘Thank you for allowing me to continue to stay with you.’ Bring your awareness to the reasons for your decision to stay with your partner. Think about the importance of your relationship and how you have managed to be a lasting couple, no matter how long you have lasted so far.