It is a common occurrence: Women gather around and sip cosmos and men chat while shooting some pool.
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They all listen as a sage, long-in-love member of the group explains how to make it work. The listeners hang on every word, trying to extract the formula for relationship success.
The well-hidden truth is, however, that this formula is neither complicated nor magical at all. In actuality, the adoption of a few simple habits can substantially increase the likelihood that your relationship will last.
1. Maintain Independence
Being incredibly, irrevocably in love with someone doesn’t mean dissolving into that person. For your relationship to stand the test of time, you must maintain who you are as a person outside of that relationship.
If you allow the union to become all-encompassing of your entire being, you will almost certainly begin to feel suffocated and, as a result, push away from your partner to catch a breath. Avoid this by retaining a level of independence from the start. Hang out with your own friends, keep up with your own hobbies and make time for things you like to do solo.
2. Set Relationship Goals
You and your partner are a duo in the same rowboat, traversing the river of life together. Shouldn’t you make sure you are both paddling in the same direction? Be frank in discussions of your life goals and don’t back down the first time you encounter disagreement.
Continue to debate your wants and needs until you have reached a mutually agreeable conclusion. Once you reach one, start rowing toward it together.
3. Focus On The Positives
Yes, it probably bothers you that your partner insists on clipping his toenails in bed, and let’s not even get started on the snoring, but don’t the strengths outweigh these overlookable annoyances? Put a conscious effort into reflecting upon the things that make your lover amazing to increase your overall happiness in this joint venture we call life.
4. Schedule Time To Be Together
You schedule your spin class and your hair appointments; shouldn’t you afford the same level of attention to your relationship? All too often busy people expect togetherness time to appear serendipitously.
Though the magical mutual blank space in shared schedules may occur from time to time, it is ill advised to depend on it. Mark out blocks of time in your day planner to reduce the likelihood that you inadvertently neglect your lover.
5. Do New Things Together
Happy couples don’t stagnate. While there are some consistently comforting pleasures, like that steamy morning cup of coffee and a shared newspaper, many of the best things couples share are new experiences.
Make it a point to try several new things a year with your partner. As you amass a collection of firsts, you will find that you have even more common ground on which to stand together.
6. Be Nice
Though it may seem like remedial advice that a kindergarten teacher gives to her bright-eyed learners on the first day of school, it bears repeating. Life is stressful and, when overwhelmed by it, simple courtesy can go out the window.
Focus on being kind to your partner. Say please and thank you. Tell him you love him, no matter how sure you are he already knows it. These simple gestures can go a long way in making him feel valued and cared about which will naturally increase his appreciation for, and allegiance to, you.
7. Talk About What’s Bothering You
Unless you have entered a relationship with the Amazing Kreskin, your partner isn’t a mind reader. Yes, maybe he should know what is bothering you, particularly if it’s something he did wrong, but who really cares? Why turn what can be a five-minute conflict resolution session into an evening-long battle?
If something is bothering you, cut through the crap and let him in on the secret. He will appreciate that you have foregone the guessing game and you will benefit from the smoother conflict resolution that will almost certainly follow.
8. Pay Attention
You know those times that you drive home from work and you get there and realize you don’t remember anything about the drive? Don’t let your relationship be like this. You can’t autopilot your way through your romance.
To connect with your partner on a deeper level, you need to be there. Maintain your focus by trying to employ all of your senses. Take your partner in, his smell, how it tastes when you kiss him, the feel of his skin.
Not only will he undoubtedly appreciate this almost super-human attention you are bestowing on him, you will benefit as well as you connect on a deeper level.