We live in a world where divorce has become accepted as the norm rather than the exception. According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50% of married couples in the United States divorce, a number that is truly astonishing considering how many of us still long to one day tie the knot with a significant other.
Why is it that so many of us continue to say “I do,” or hope to one day soon, despite the odds of those vows holding true being about as likely as successfully calling heads or tails in a coin flip?
I believe many are still drawn to this practice because asking for someone’s hand in marriage is still viewed as the ultimate romantic gesture. It’s one thing to muster up the courage to ask someone out or to say “I love you” for the first time, but it’s another entirely to profess your desire to spend the rest of your life with that person — or at least we are led to believe that to be the case.
While I have yet to get married myself, I am certainly a part of the global population that one day hopes to. But the last thing I want to do is become yet another divorce statistic. And so, in order to minimize the chances of this becoming my fate, I recently decided to do some informal research by speaking with a number of couples that I personally have observed and identified as admirable. It didn’t matter whether they had been married for twenty years or not at all; I simply wanted to know what they felt was critical to the success of their partnership. Some I asked directly, while others I would get the answers I was looking for through casual conversation.
Here are three of the most important factors I identified for a truly happy and long-lasting relationship:
1. They Give Each Other Space
While you and your partner are bound to have a number of common interests, chances are you aren’t a carbon copy of one another — and that’s probably a good thing. That being the case, there are always going to be a number of things that your spouse enjoys doing that you do not, and vice versa.
And one of the frequently stated keys to a long-lasting relationship is the ability to give one another the time and space to do those things without guilt or jealousy attached. If your partner is passionate about knitting and you’re not, don’t take their desire to regularly knit without you personally. Support them in making regular time for that activity and celebrate their accomplishments within it.
2. They Make Regular Time for the Things They Both Love
On the other side of spectrum, the second key factor is the importance of making regular time for the interests that you do share. So perhaps you don’t share your partner’s passion for knitting, but you do both have a great love for gardening: Make a point of engaging in that passion together regularly!
Chances are good that your common interests played a role in your relationship developing in the first place, so why not celebrate that by making it a regular part of your time together? Think of how much joy doing what you are passionate about brings you. Doesn’t including one of your favourite people in the world (who also just so happens to love doing it as well) in it sound like a great thing to do?
3. It Ends With a Kiss
While this was only being done by one of the couples I spoke with, it made this list because it’s a cute extension of other common advice I’ve heard. We’ve all likely been told to “never go to bed angry” with our partner, and most couples I spoke with offered that advice, but one particular couple took it one step further by sharing that they make a point of ending every night with a romantic kiss.
The hopeless romantic in me melted a bit when I heard this, but their logic behind it really resonated with me as well. To them it ensures that they not only always go to bed at peace with one another, but that they also remind each other of the connection they share and choose to celebrate it even when times are tough.
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