Falling in love is easy; staying in love is not quite as easy, as any couple who have been together for some time will tell you. Commitment in relationships takes hard work, dedication and requires both parties to put in the time and the unconditional love that the other person does every day.
With modern relationships falling apart and ending in divorce all around us, left right and centre, it is easy to think that people just can’t make it work anymore these days and a lifetime of love and companionship is nothing more than a fallacy, and that in the rare occasion that couples do stay together for so long it is out of necessity and not out of choice.
Here is how to stay in love.
But this is not in fact at all true, there are many couples that do manage to stand the test of time – very happily – and it is out of choice and love that they are still together today. And before you think that kind of long haul relationship is just for your grandparents, then have a look at some celebrity couples in the media: Like Michael Caine and his wife Shakira who are still happily married after 30 years together; and Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward who were married in 1958 and stayed together until his death in 2008.
And the fact of the matter is that couples don’t get to those kinds of milestones by just good luck and by have just been lucky enough to marry Mr or Mrs Right – they get there by being totally and utterly dedicated and committed to their marriage and their relationship. So if you and your partner are totally committed 150% each, then you are already half way there.
There are a few instances where it is okay for you to call it a day and leave, but drifting apart is hardly a good enough excuse to walk away and split up families. Here are a few non-negotiables in relationships that make it okay to get out for good:
Abuse – Physical violence and emotional abuse are never, ever acceptable and must not be tolerated. If it happens once, it will happen again and only in very rare circumstances does a relationship work after any such an incidence. The first time somebody hits you, you are a victim, the second time a volunteer. Just walk away and never look back.
Substance Abuse and Addiction – This can come in many forms from gambling, drugs and alcohol abuse. Support your partner to get the help they need, but if recurring offerings of help and support just come full circle and your partner is unable to acknowledge the problem and take active steps to face it head on, you have the right to pack up and go. They have to do it themselves; it is possible and there is nothing you can do to help them if they don’t want to help themselves. Make a new life, take your children and get out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Affairs – If your partner is a serial cheater, you need to make some very hard decisions. If it happened once you might be able to find a way to work around it – it might have been a wakeup call for you both and in the end the best thing that ever happened to you. If it happens again, walk out and close the door behind you for good.
Being together for the long haul doesn’t mean that you are going to be madly in love with the other person every single day of your life. There are going to be lots of boring bits in between, you are going to see them at their worst and they are going to see you at yours. You will irritate you and drive you mad with their idiosyncrasies and lazy habits but that is all about setting boundaries.
Set boundaries so your partner knows what you like and what you don’t like and what you absolutely will not accept ever, right from the word go and you will be off to a flying start.
Marriage and relationships they say, are a 50/50 partnership, when in fact, they should be an 80/20 partnership. You need to put in 80 % and only take 20% out, and your partner needs to do the same. This way you will always be giving way more than you take and your relationship will flourish for years to come.
Relationships are built on respect, friendship and trust – the three main ingredients of everlasting love. If you do not have those 3 key ingredients, the foundation of an everlasting relationship will really struggle to make it to anywhere.
One of the biggest components of any successful relationship and the key to staying in love forever is total and utter, unconditional respect. If your partner doesn’t have respect for you, puts you down, criticises and demoralises you –none of the other ingredients you need for love and friendship will be able to flourish right from the beginning.
And if you cannot give the same unconditional respect to your partner, you are not going to be able to get anything out of your relationship and it will be doomed from the start. Don’t try and change the person you fell in love with; respect them in every sense of the word - and you will have a relationship bond that will be invincible and unbreakable years and years over.
Always, always put your partner first and if your partner does the same for you, the entire dynamic of your relationship changes for the better, for the long haul and before you know it you and your loved one will be celebrating 20, 30 and even 40 spectacular years together of love, family and friendship. Celebrate each other as individuals and cherish each other as companions and you will be set for life.
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