When you initiate a new relationship, you hold your breath with guarded optimism, hoping against hope that this experience will stand the test of time. When the relationship ends, you may find yourself questioning what you could have done differently, or if you are simply “unlucky in love.” Luck does not play a role in the unfulfilling outcome of many relationships, but you can learn to recognize the specific qualities that contribute to a successful long-term relationship.
Fair-Weather Friends Need Not Apply
In your quest to find a spouse, soul mate or life partner, it’s easy to overlook the importance of actually liking the other person. This is crucial to surmounting the difficulties when obstacles come knocking. In other words, sharing a committed friendship increases the likelihood that you will also share a long-term relationship, according to marriage and family therapist Lisa Kift, who writes for the Family and Marriage Counseling Directory. It’s wonderful if your toes tingle when you kiss, but friendship ensures that her toes won’t curl when your relationship encounters a few bumps in the road.
Talk to Me
Good communication entails more than feeling free to tell your partner exactly what’s on your mind. Healthy communication, vital to long-term relationships, includes the knowledge that you can share your honest feelings related to your wants, needs and concerns with your partner, and she will do the same for you, according to the article, "Ten Qualities to Look for in a Long-Term Motivated to Marry Partner" on the SelfGrowth.com website. The new revelation that it makes you feel a bit nutty when your partner neglects to fill the pet’s water bowl should not instigate a fight, but it should be fair game for discussion.
Ready, Set, Laugh
Lighten up – seriously. A funny, but seriously significant quality in long-term relationships is the use of humor, reports Psychology Today contributor Dr. Randi Gunther in the article, "Who Are the 'Keepers?' The Behaviors of Successful Long-Term Partners." Partners in long-term relationships value humor, but take care to use it appropriately. For example, you shouldn't use humor in any way that belittles your partner, or that camouflages your discomfort about an issue that merits discussion. Humor can cheer your partner, defuse a tense scenario and moderate frustrating moments. Partners in long-term relationships may develop their own unique style of humor, and precisely when and how to use it to brighten their partner’s circumstance.
Give a Little, and Give Some More
Partners in a successful long-term relationship understand that love doesn’t necessarily conquer all. Compromise is a valued tool in long-term relationships, and partners do not hesitate to meet the other more than half-way when the situation mandates this action, according to the article, "Five Secrets to a Successful Long-Term Relationship or Marriage" on the Psych Central website. They know that their partner will reciprocate in the future. Truly effective compromise requires than a partner sometimes give more than she receives, with the understanding that the same allowance will be generously given for her.
- Family and Marriage Counseling Directory: Ten Characteristics of Successful Relationships
- SelfGrowth: Ten Qualities to Look for in Long-Term Motivated to Marry Partner
- PsychCentral: Five Secrets to a Successful Long-Term Relationship or Marriage
- Psychology Today: Who Are the "Keepers?" The Behaviors of Successful Long-Term Partners
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images