Ruth Graham - Independent Celebrant West Midlands, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield

How to make love last

How to make love last

If anyone knew for definite how to make love last, they’d be billionaires. And whilst there is no one definite way to ensure you’ll stay together into old age, there are certain truths that crop up over and over again, to give us a clue.

Mark Manson is a writer who undertook the task of discovering what made a successful relationship. He spoke to 1,500 long-term couples, and was amazed to see the same advice repeated by everyone.

www.westmidscelebrant.co.uk has boiled all this advice down into smaller chunks to ensure you all get a chance to read these potentially relationship-saving tips.

In a nutshell, here’s the advice:

  1. Be Together For The Right Reasons:

Not for looks, or money or peer pressure. Not because you’re lonely or broke. Quite simply, be with someone because that person makes you happy, and you love being with them.

  1.  Have Realistic Expectations

A love that’s alive is constantly evolving. It expands and contracts. It deepens and mellows.  It’s not going to be the way it used to be. And it won’t look the same in a year or two yeas’ time.

Understand that some days you’ll wake up and think, ‘Oh no - you’re still here – but also that the feeling is normal! And that sticking things out is worth it, because that too will change. In a day, or perhaps next week, or in six weeks, you’ll look again at that person and a giant wave of love will wash over you.

You’ll love them so much you think your heart is going to burst. Understand this dynamic, and there’ll be no rush for divorce at the first sign of problems.

  1. Respect is Key

Your love will wax and wane. Your communication will be better sometimes than others. But what can’t recover, is loss of respect. Always act honourably and decently towards each other. Be the best you can be – the hardest working, and the kindest. Good people foster good feelings towards each other. Respect each other’s individuality and their absolutely do not badmouth each other in private. This will erode respect quicker than anything.

  1. Talk Openly About Everything…
    including the painful things. Honesty, openness and transparency is key. Tackle the difficult things when times are good. And go for counselling sooner rather than later.
  2. A Healthy Relationship Requires TWO healthy individuals
    Co-dependency is not healthy. Each person must maintain their own identity, their own interests and their own perspective.

Attempting to coerce or control your partner is not love. Having to change to suit someone is not healthy, or sustainable.

  1. Give Each Other Space

Whether that’s separate bank accounts, credit cards, friends, hobbies, vacations, bathrooms or bedrooms. Insecurity is not a reason to stop someone having their own life too.

  1. Change Is Inevitable – Accept It.

One contributor commented that at her wedding, an elderly family member told her, “One day many years from now, you will wake up and your spouse will be a different person, make sure you fall in love with that person too.”

We’re talking about really deep changes here – perhaps changing religions, moving countries, dealing with the death of family members (including children), supporting elderly family members, changing political beliefs, even changing sexual orientation or gender identification. It’s unrealistic to expect life to stay the same.

  1. Learn How To Deal With Conflict.

Name calling, stonewalling, contempt and defensiveness do not solve issues. Neither does dragging old issues into a new one.

Talking and negotiation are better. Taking a breather always helps.

And remembering why you got together in the first place. List 10 reasons why you fell for your partner. This is hugely helpful in re-establishing balance and perspective.

And finally – when someone wins, there’s always a loser. Always aim for a draw.

  1. Learn To Forgive.

Most things are actually not worth getting upset over. Let it go.

  1. Don’t Make Kids The Complete Focus

You made them. You are all individuals, and whilst they will consume your life for a certain time, don’t make this the only way. Love produced them, and they will need to see that love around them, in order to grow into healthy adults.

  1. Create Relationship Rules
    Ways to live by that help you be harmonious. Things that are important to you, to each other. If one of you works in an office all day, and the other works from home, then it makes sense for the home-worker to get the washing done whilst they are there.

The same for finances – how much debt are you both happy with? Vacations – will they be together or apart? The list goes on, but just as in any democratic society, there has to be an agreed way of living, of co-existing to make the wheels turn smoothly.

  1. Sex Matters!

Sex keeps a relationship healthy, and heals an ailing one. When things break down, sex is the first casualty. Schedule in time for sex (whether you feel like it or not) – it’s a reset button that has amazing benefits.

  1. The Little Things Add Up

Don’t stop doing the small things in your relationship. Cumulatively, they mean a lot.

That means giving compliments, noticing your partner and acknowledging them. Sending flowers,  leaving notes, being good at buying gifts. Remember the song by Barbara Streisand, ‘You don’t bring me flowers?’….  it’s all in the words!

Love and adore each other. Work together as a team. Nurture yourselves and your environment. Be grateful for what you have. Discuss problems sooner rather than later, and go to counselling before you really need it, if you need it.

Ruth Graham is a celebrant working in the West Midlands. She offers wedding celebrant services in Birmingham, Lichfield, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire etc…