Do you want to learn how to build a lasting relationship?
Building a lasting relationship is hard work and it takes more than just finding the right partner. That is probably because relationship needs commitment and a lot of other ingredients that the couple need to work out. It is not news that men and women act really differently, process things differently, handle and see things differently.
So for a couple to successfully work out a relationship, they have to both seek to understand their differences and celebrate their similarities. For many relationships, unfortunately, they are not able to get past the human dynamics to make it work but although relationships are hard work, they can work.
Relationships do not have to be full of sad times and unhappiness, they can be happy and fulfilling if certain things are put in place by both parties.
15 Steps to Take Today to Build A Lasting Relationship
- Effective Communication
There is a reason communication always comes first in discussions like this. The reason is that many relationships would have otherwise worked out if the partners had taken the time to communicate effectively. Many of the fights that people have are simply as a result of a misunderstanding. If one or both parties are not ready to communicate, then the relationship would be hanging on a thread. Effective communication cannot be overemphasized in a relationship. Talk about any and everything. Ask questions and let your partner explain as against making assumptions. Talk about your fears and insecurities. Talk about your goal and dreams. And while your partner is talking, listen. Even if there is a quarrel, discuss it rather than fight it out. A relationship is not a battleground.
- Let Trivial Things Go
Some people are in the habit of wanting to deal with any and every issue that comes up in a relationship. Of course, if you have doubts, talk to your partner about it rather than keep mute and acting out. However, many of us are in the habit of wanting to fight over anything, even the most trivial thing. Sometimes, even arguments can escalate if we let it. You don’t have to agree over everything, you are two different human beings. Agree to disagree sometimes and let some things go. Ask yourself if it is truly worth it before engaging your partner. If it isn’t, then there is no point letting it steal your joy.
- Understanding Differences
You and your partner are two different individuals. Even twins are different, so you cannot expect to have the same likes and dislikes or have the same personality. But the differences can be used to work for the good of the relationship if both of you are willing. Understand, rather than dread the differences. Of course, there are certain differences and even similarities that cannot work in a relationship, but you should have known that before starting the relationship. Working under the assumption that you both know and agreed despite your differences, you can learn to understand them. One way to do that is by accepting them for who they are and not seek to change them. Seeking to change your partner is a recipe for disaster. Another thing is to accept you are different, you might not agree with what this person likes but you understand that is how they are and you let it go. Then, regarding hobbies, try to engage in something the other person likes once in a while. Get your adventurous spirit on and try something new.
- Celebrate Similarities
Just as you are different, there are certain parts of you that would be similar. It is even impossible for a relationship to work between people who are completely different. The opposite does attract and is fun, but there are certain values and principles that have to align for a relationship to last longer and be happy. So, celebrate your similarities. If you have the same hobbies or some of them, then do them together, create memories, especially over things you both enjoy.
To err is human, to forgive is divine. It is impossible to relate with another human being, wherever and whenever and there won’t be offenses except there is pretense involved. We are humans and sometimes, we just step on each other’s toes. A relationship that would last will need a high dose of forgiveness from each side, sometimes, even without getting an apology. Sometimes, our relationship is more important than getting an apology. Now, of course, we should not subject ourselves to people who will not readily apologize when they hurt us and we should also not be that kind of people, but there are times when people hurt us and they don’t even know they did or offenses that can be easily overlooked. Wear your forgiveness cloak on when you are about to get into a relationship.
- Be Committed
Some people have no idea what being a relationship entail. They want to have their cake and eat it. You cannot have an enviable relationship without working on it. There is virtually nothing on earth that can be excellent without a high dose of commitment to make it excellent. Have it in mind and be deliberate to make your relationship last and not just last, but happy and fulfilling as well.
- Be Realistic
Quite a number of times, we have an unrealistic expectation of our partners, ourselves and our relationship. When that expectation is not met, we become disappointed and sometimes, resentful. It is not your partner’s fault they cannot meet the high expectations you set for them. Have expectations and standards but be realistic about it. Your partner is not God; he/she cannot be perfect, just like you are not perfect. And the relationship cannot be all rosy, there will be downtime, expect it and ride over it together.
- Laugh and Play
Yes, life can be difficult and yes, life can be unfair but in all these, find time to play and laugh. If you cannot laugh with your partner, who would you laugh with? Tell each other corny jokes and laugh it out. Be silly with each other without judgment. Life is too short to spend it being serious all the time. There is indeed time to be serious but there is time to be playful and laugh.
- Be Tolerant
Things will not always go your way in the relationship; your partner will not always be how you expect them to be. Be tolerant. Give room for offenses and be ready to forgive and let it go. Everybody has a deal breaker, so there is no problem with you having a deal breaker but if everything you don’t like or want is a deal breaker, then there will be a problem. In order to have a lasting relationship, both parties have to tolerate each other.
- Spend Ample Time Together
Life can really get busy. The hustle and bustle of life can get in the way, many times but in all these, find time to spend with your partner. Spend a lot of time together. Many might not like it but out of sight can be out of mind, especially if when in out of sight, you don’t deliberate seek to find ways to be in each other’s presence. Technology has made even partners in a long distance relationship spend time with each other without being physically present. So if you stay in close proximity, you have no excuse. We always find time for what we consider a priority.
- Give Room for Alone Time
While you should find time to be with each other a lot, you should also take time away from each other to breathe. Some people are in a relationship and joined at the hip, and many times, it causes friction. Have a life outside of each other. Have friends who respect and support your relationship. Have a career or business that would keep your busy and not in each other’s faces all the time. Take time to go out on dates with friends or even alone, so you can appreciate the time you spend together.
- Be Each Other’s Biggest Cheerleader
Your partner should be your biggest cheerleader and vice versa. It is not fun to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t support and celebrate you. Celebrate each other’s victory as though it is yours. Grieve each other’s failure as though it is yours. Encourage each other and always be there for your partner. When they know you are always in their corner and always have their back, it increases assurance they have towards the relationship.
- Be Affectionate
It is normal for people to start taking their partner for granted after they have been in a relationship for long. You see them no longer try to look good for their partner, no longer complement each other, exchange gifts, go on dates and be generally affectionate. Some even commit the heavy crime of forgetting birthday and anniversaries. No matter how long you have been in a relationship, don’t take the spice away that was there at the beginning. Tell each other “I love you,” exchange gifts, go out alone on dates and do those little things for each other. They will always matter.
- Respect Each Other
Respect for each other is very important in any relationship. At the core of it all, we all want to be loved and we also want to be respected. Respect your partner by discussing issues before making decisions that will affect you both, respect them by not doing things you know they wouldn’t like, just generally show them respect. Even when you are having a disagreement, present your case with respect.
- Make Your Partner a Priority
Your partner should always come first. Don’t always put work and other things before them. Making money is important and your partner should understand your need to work and make some. But they should always feel like they have to compete. Assure them through your actions about their position in your life.
Relationships can really be lasting and they can be happy if we are ready to take extra care and put in the work. Nothing good comes easy, we have to remember that. If we can put all these to heart, we are on our way to having a happy and lasting relationship.