Enduring Love: Ingredients For A Relationship That Lasts

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated April 16, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Laura Angers, NCC, LPC

Relationships are not always easy. They often take a lot more work than you might think based on what you see in the movies and television. Long-lasting relationships are built on enduring love, which is itself based on a healthy foundation. Couples can plan about building that foundation. Couples who find their relationship lacking what they want can take corrective action to strengthen their foundation. Learn more about the ingredients needed for building a relationship that lasts:

  1. Compatibility

One major component of a successful relationship is that the partners must be compatible. You may have heard that "opposites attract," which is largely true in science class when discussing magnets. It may also sometimes be true in relationships, which is how the phrase became so popular.

However, please note that the phrase says that opposites attract; it does not say they last. Often, "opposites attract" because they find the discord and drama between them interesting. But most relationships cannot sustain that, and trying to do so can lead to unhealthy outcomes for both parties.

In truth, most successful relationships are built on compatibility between the two people, which is not to say that the two partners must be completely alike and agree on everything. Rather, the two people may have some differences. Those differences should be complementary and in areas that do not affect major life decisions. For example, compatibility in plans for the future and major ideologies is ideal.

  1. Communication

Beyond being compatible, couples need to communicate. This includes communication in all forms ranging from daily discussions, learning about each other, and even having healthy disagreements. Along with communicating regularly, each partner in the couple needs to feel safe saying what they want and need to say, while the other party needs to be open to hearing what is said.

Sometimes couples do have to work diligently to make and use good communication skills. One key skill is active listening, which involves hearing what your partner is saying. It means listening to listen, not just to think of a response and wait your turn to say what you want. Active listening also involves reflecting or paraphrasing what you hear and asking questions about things you do not understand.

When being the talker and not the listener, good communication skills sometimes require getting your emotions in check, so you do not say things you might regret. At times, you may need to pause, think things over, and then express yourself when you can do so in ways that will not be harmful to the other person or the relationship. This can prevent excessive or unproductive arguments.

At the same time, sometimes couples do need to communicate to work through a disagreement. If a couple never disagrees and never argues, it could mean they are avoiding difficult conversations. Some confrontation of difficult matters is necessary also to make a relationship healthy enough to last. When disagreements do occur, use good communication skills to sort things out in a productive manner.

Simultaneously, communication does not just occur through words. Some people give and receive love in ways aside from just saying the words. Figure out how you typically communicate your love (is it through giving gifts, spending quality time together, or something else). Also, figure out how your partner communicates their love. If you use different ways to communicate, you might miss the signals. However, by talking about it, you can communicate love in ways they will recognize.

  1. Honesty

You have likely heard the old phrase, which says "honesty is the best policy." Indeed, that is generally the case in a healthy relationship. That is true from the very start. You may be tempted in the early stages of a relationship to be misleading about who you are and what your future may look like. However, being dishonest will not lead to an enduring love or a relationship that lasts.

As you build your relationship, you need to be honest with your partner about your past, present, and future. Making up lies will only undermine the relationship. They will fester and erode at an already poor foundation to the relationship. Now, this is not to say that you must be brutally honest. There may be times where you tell a small fib ("yes, that dinner was fine") so as not to hurt your partner's feelings. However, you should certainly weigh out whether the lie is necessary and not selfish.

  1. Compromise

You may have heard, "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need." This is true when it pertains to compromise in relationships. The reality is that even if a couple is very compatible with similar mutual goals, there will still be times where each person wants something different. In those instances, the only solution is an old-fashioned compromise.

Now, compromise is not as simple as when one partner gets their way, and the next time the other does. Nor does it always mean meeting in the middle, because sometimes there is no easily found middle-ground solution. Real compromise is about talking things over and finding the best solution in each specific situation. Sometimes one person may have to give more. Sometimes the other person will. Make the focus on finding the best outcome each time so that you do not feel tempted to "keep score."

  1. Understand

Being in a relationship also requires a high degree of understanding for one another. You are not always going to be on the same page as your partner. They are going to do things that seem foreign to you. Remember that you were each living your own life with your own families and unique environmental settings until the two of you met. As such, you each learned certain ways of being and doing.

It can be very tempting in a relationship to get judgmental when your partner approaches something vastly different from how you approach that thing. Instead of getting judgmental (which would be detrimental to the relationship), seek understanding. Ask questions to learn about why they do what they do in the way they do it, and you will learn more about your partner. This will strengthen the relationship and contribute to the likelihood that it stands the test of time.

  1. Patience

Patience may be a virtue, and it is also an important ingredient in a lasting relationship. Just as you need to avoid judgment and practice understanding, sometimes you will also need to be patient with your partner and patient in the relationship. Your partner may approach life. Differently, they may communicate, and they may sometimes move through life at their own pace. If you push them and rush them, it will harm the relationship. Instead, practice patience.

  1. Kindness

Kindness can go a long way in life and relationships. You and your partner may love each other completely. However, sometimes actions speak louder than words (and of course, actually saying the words is pretty important too). You can show your love for your partner by practicing kindness. This can happen in small and big ways daily and sometimes in less frequent grander ways.

There are all kinds of ways you can communicate kindness to your partner. Give them compliments, make them lunch, and leave them a little note to cheer up their day. Plan a party, take them to dinner, and go on a trip with them away from the doldrums of daily life. Not only are you showing kindness, but you are also showing your appreciation. Those acts of kindness help them feel loved, which can continue to strengthen a relationship for enduring love that will last a lifetime.

  1. Forgive

Finally, enduring relationships require a willingness to practice forgiveness. Everyone will mess up from time to time. Your partner may forget that dinner date. They may neglect to pick up milk from the store. Holding grudges will only chip away at the relationship. Forgive the small stuff and let it go. For the bigger stuff (such as a breach of trust or infidelity), you may still need to work towards forgiveness to maintain the relationship. In those cases, you may need outside help to make that fully happen.

Final Recommendations

Many couples choose to seek couples' counseling early on in their relationship to help them build a solid foundation with all the right ingredients in place. Couples counseling can also be useful as a form of pre-marital counseling, which can be quite helpful when transitioning to that lifelong commitment. Beyond that, relationship counseling can be helpful at any time when a couple starts to feel unhappy, suspects there are some underlying and potentially big problems, and needs help sorting it all out.

If you are interested in utilizing Couples Counseling to build a strong foundation for your relationship, strengthen your relationship, or repair some damage, you can seek a nearby counselor or find one online. Many people choose to pursue therapy through online formats, called teletherapy, because of the added convenience and confidentiality.

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