How do you know your relationship will last? How do you know it was meant to be? How do you even know that the current one is ‘the one?’ Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could predict how strong and happy your relationship will be?
Many of us are cautious and even cynical about love. And no one can blame us: all the statistics out there about relationships are really grim. We get into relationships wondering whether they will last; indeed we doubt that they will.
Your relationship can beat the odds.
Contrary to what we have been conditioned to think, love, can last much more than we give it credit for.
A study that was carried out in 2012 revealed that 40% of couples that had been married for a decade indicated that they were still intensely in love. In the same study, 40% of women and 34% of the men among couples that had been married for more than 30 years revealed that they were very intensely in love.
Any relationship is a risk but there are signs that indicate that your relationship is harmonious and it will last a long time.
Here are the 6 types of relationships that are successful and lasting (including a few to avoid):
1. Relationships shared around forgiveness
How do you and your partner deal with conflict in the relationship? Misunderstandings are not the problem in a relationship; how you deal with them is the issue.
A strong relationship does not seek to reduce conflict because there is always going to be some.
Daniel Wilde said, “Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems.” There is no partner whom you will not fight with, get annoyed at and complain about. Indeed, fighting is good. Research shows that a couple that is not fighting three years into the marriage has an unhealthy relationship.
In a stable, healthy marriage, arguing is not a sign of doom; it is healthy and natural. Successful couples focus their attention on solving the issues rather than attacking the other person. Also, when they resolve the matter, they forgive and forget.
According to Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. a licensed marriage therapist, the true measure of the strength of your relationship is how fast you reunite after a disagreement. Spouses who are in strong relations take the initiative to invite each other back into their world after a disappointment.
What to do if you have poor conflicts in your relationship?
Unhealthy relationships are characterized by poor conflict resolution skills.
Do you stay angry with your spouse after you have fought? Do you hold grudges long after you have had misunderstandings? Do you ignore essential issues by sweeping them under the rug? Or do you freeze emotionally and shut down when your spouse has wronged you?
The need to reestablish the emotional connection between you and your spouse and to the desire to restore security in your relationship must override your hurt feelings.
Many times, we must choose between being right and being happy. Holding a grudge will breed resentment, which will in turn destroy your marriage.
It is not about what you fight about, it is how you fight.
2. Relationships that are based on an adventure
Boredom can be a massive obstacle to a lasting relationship. After a period of marriage, it is easy for couples to get into these grey areas where everything is repetitive, predictable, uninteresting and boring.
Between careers, kids and all the side hustles, it can be challenging to stay connected to your partner.
Research shows that couples who enjoy the most intense love are those who enjoy participating in new or challenging activities together. New activities are arousing, which your brain can misinterpret as an attraction to your partner; and reignite the original spark. Seeking adventure is an excellent way to shake it up.
What to do if you feel bored in your relationship?
A study revealed that couples are happier with their relationship after taking part in exciting activities.
New experiences have been found to activate the brains reward system. Novelty floods the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same hormones that are released during the early days of romantic love. Doing exciting things together will bring back the excitement you felt on your first date.
3. Relationships that are built around intimacy
Marriage therapists indicate that a couple who are unhappy with their sex life will strain in their relationship and could even be headed to a split. Sex is essential in cultivating a thriving relationship.
And it gets even more interesting: the more you have sex, the more you want it. The opposite is also true; the less you have sex, the less you want it, and the less you feel connected to your spouse.
Sex boosts the chemical of love. During sex, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is referred to as the bonding hormone. Very happy couples have sex on average 74 times a year.
What if you aren’t having lots of sex in your relationship?
If you are worried that you are not having enough sex, you will be pleased to know that intimacy is not all about sex. Oxytocin is released when touching, holding hands, cuddling and during extended loving eyes contact. Research shows that a man’s’ oxytocin levels go up by 500 percent after making love.
4. Relationships based on trust
Trust is the most important predictor of long-term relationship success. A relationship will not be strong if there is no trust between the partners.
Is your partner dependable and reliable? Can you count on them?
What about you to your partner? Are you trustworthy? Do you hide purchases? Do you have online relationships that your partner is not aware of? Are you hiding your true feelings from your partner?
Couples in strong relationships do not keep secrets.
What if you have little secrets in your relationship?
Do not be paranoid. Do not focus on the small things where your partner has not been completely honest.
Instead, focus on the big things: Maybe he told you he is a lawyer only to discover later he never passed the bar! Or she said she loves children but later on insists that she would never want to have one.
If you have no belief and trust in your partner, they will never believe in themselves!
5. Relationships that are built around a shared future
For a long-lasting healthy relationship, the more the similarity, the better. Partners should especially be secure that their values and goals match before they embark on a relationship.
Research done interviewing couples that had been married for 43 years on average revealed that sharing core values, interests and having a similar outlook on life will stack the odds in your favor. A 2009 research study also revealed that that happier couples have the most similar personalities.
All the couples indicated one thing: opposites attract in the movies, but they do not make great marriage partners.
Evidence suggests that people like dissimilar partners more and find them more stimulating but only when the relationships are short term.
For long-term relationships, greater similarity translates into more staying power of the relationship.
What if you aren’t sure about your relationship goals?
Common goals work together make your lives together work in harmony.
What are your goals as a couple? Do you want to start a family together? Are you planning to own a house? How many children do you want? These kinds of common goals will help to strengthen your relationship.
If you ever find that in your mind, intentionally or subconsciously, you do not want your partner to participate in your plans, it is a sign that it is time for you to move on.
6. Relationships that are based on shared vulnerability
Why do many people find falling in love so scary? Why are people afraid of commitment? It is because of an intense fear of vulnerability.
Here’s the thing: many people want relationships, but they are so scared of opening up and being hurt.
Research shows that people fear vulnerability because of the fear of rejection. There is the fear that if someone finds that we are not as perfect, intelligent or strong as we appear to be, they will no longer like us.
Unfortunately, we cannot build healthy relationships without vulnerability. Vulnerability is the secret to a strong connection. To know that someone loves you for who you are and to love someone else in all their vulnerability is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences.
The fear of vulnerability is a self-sabotaging trait. Your fear of vulnerability will prevent you from being totally engaged in the relationship.
How to know if you and your partner can embrace vulnerability in the relationship?
You can find out if you are afraid of being vulnerable by answering the following questions:
- Do you fear to expose some parts of your personality that you think your partner may find unacceptable?
- Does keeping your distance from your partner make you feel safe and in control?
- Are you embarrassed about exposing your true feelings and discussing difficult topics?
- Do you have this intense fear that your partner will betray or abandon you?
- Have you been picking partners who are wrong for you in a bid to stay safe by distancing yourself?
Vulnerability can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but it is actually a strength. It takes tremendous strength, character, and self-confidence to be vulnerable. A genuine partner will respect you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is very attractive. Honest people are drawn to people who are really authentic and imperfect
A lasting relationship is what you make
Ultimately, be committed to your relationship. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
The biggest killer of relationships is the comparison with those around us. Other couples always seem more beautiful and happier than us.
A happy couple does not look to see what is happening on the other side. They are content with the view out their own front door.
Put in the effort and time and you will get your relationship right where you want it.