12 Tips for Creating a Happy Long Lasting Relationship

rog and tess rose bowl 2

The responsibility for the quantity and quality of love in our relationships belongs to each of us. We have the choice to infuse love into every moment of our day and to build an amazing life.  

Hubs and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary on Tuesday. We were married when I was 17 and pregnant. We learned very early, and sometimes the hard way, that improving and maintaining a loving relationship takes commitment willingness and effort.

You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride. ~ Jodi Picoult

We learn our greatest lessons in life from each other. We may have the best intentions, but it’s human nature to fall into habits, get cranky or take each other for granted. 

Don’t expect love to be perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking there won’t be difficult times. And don’t believe the old cliché, 'Love means never having to say you’re sorry'. Someone once told me that if a couple never argues, someone isn’t speaking up. 

Each day brings another opportunity to be more loving human beings. Tomorrow's relationships are the result of the depth of our love today. At the end of the day, we can add another page to our personal love story.

1. Live life from a soul connection.

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth. ~ Jess C. Scott

Allow kindness to create a mood of love. Behave in a kindly and complimentary manner towards each other. Notice your partner doing the right things. 

Enhance your relationship by having a big heart and a sparkling soul. Focus on everything positive.  Make it your religion to be positive and do good, it creates a place of safety and a happy atmosphere. 

2. Don't compare love. 

You can't expect everyone to have the same dedication as you. ~ Jeff Kinney

You’ll only get the love that a person is capable and willing to give in the form they want to give it. Demanding love doesn’t work. Needing love doesn’t work. Love a person where they’re at and they’ll be more likely to grow their love for you. When you love a person unconditionally, you alter their life. 

To every problem that exists, the solution is always love. Always.

3. Rise above the battlefield.  

When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. ~ Donald Miller

The very traits you fall in love with in your mate are the same traits that will begin to annoy you after the passion wears off in your relationship. Criticizing and nagging each other never solves problems. Verbal abuse shatters one's spirit and heart. It destroys love.

When you are angry, stressed or tired, learn to soothe yourself by allowing yourself to spend time alone. Give yourself a time out. Wait at least 24 hours or until you’re completely calm to discuss difficult issues.

4. Know what brings you joy.

Participate in activities you may not particularly enjoy. I like to hike. Hubs likes to golf. I learned to like golfing. He learned to like hiking. I like to run, Hubs likes to walk. When I’m training for a race, he rides his bike with me. If I’m not training for a race, I walk with him.

We have learned to enjoy each other’s company while having fun together. With a little willingness, every couple can learn to create harmony and delight in all aspects of their lives.

5. Love is a verb.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

We often mistake love for a feeling. There will be times when you will feel like you aren’t “in love” with your partner anymore. People mistake love for infatuation or fantasy.

Love is a verb, it’s about taking action.  Choose to take loving action by complimenting, helping, appreciating, listening, sharing, praising and pleasing your partner. Give away the love you want to feel. Give the love you want to receive and there will always be more than enough. 

If you want to be understood, be empathetic. If you want joy, be joyful. If you want to be forgiven, become a forgiving person. When you behave lovingly, you begin to feel loving and loved. Learn to breathe love, when you least feel like it.

6. Understand money.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. ~ Jim Rohn

Debt is the number one cause of failed relationships. Learn to separate your needs from your wants. Discuss and agree upon how your money will be budgeted and allocated.

Don’t compare what you have your home, car, job, children or your life, with others. Wanting what you don’t have creates misery and suffering.

Hiding purchases or hoarding money destroys trust. Honesty creates transparency. Practice gratitude and appreciation, together, for what you have today.

Financial help is always available. If your debt is the result of an addiction, seek help from a professional and attend Debtors Anonymous. Don’t allow money to get in your way.

Establish an emergency fund. Remember, it’s never too late to save for your future.   Love is more important than money. Your relationship is at stake here.

7. Don't blame your partner for your misery.

Take 100% responsibility for your relationship. It’s your thoughts about the conflict or person that causes your pain. Notice what story you tell yourself when you become hurt or angry.

If you are willing to drop your story or change your perspective, you will change your emotional state. Leave the past in the past and be present in the moment.

Psychologist, John Gottman found that criticism of a partner's personality, contempt, defensiveness and emotional withdrawal from interaction cause couples to divorce. Happy couples handle conflicts in mature and supportive ways. 

8. Eat together.

Love that does not renew itself every day becomes a habit and in turn a slavery.  ~ Khalil Gibran

Eating together is one way of gathering around the heart of a family. Technology is an invader of intimacy and connection. There isn't space for it at the kitchen or dining table. Make eating together a sacred time. Honor it.

Eating together provides nourishment for your mind, body and soul.  

Mind – Families learn to communicate more effectively as they discuss current events, values, children and other everyday activities.

Body – Dinners cooked at home are likely to contain more nutrients and less fat. There is time to eat, taste and enjoy your food.

Soul – Bonding occurs when emotional support is offered and a couple learns to enjoy and relax in each other's presence.

9. Dream together.

Where will you be in five years? 10 years? 15 years? What will your relationship feel like? What will it look like? Where do you want to live? What activities are important to both of you? You have the power to design the future of your dreams. 

If you keep yourself happy and healthy today, you’re more likely to be happy and healthy in the future. For us, the best is yet to come. We’re planning on it! 

10. Don't judge.

You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not. 
~ Jodi Picoult

Focus on what goes right and what each of you get right. Foucus on what you love about each other. Forget any feelings of superiority. Forget perfection. There is no such thing. Spiritual teacher, Jacob Glass teaches to end any judgment or criticism with the words, "Just like me." He never remembers to pick up his shoes, just like me. He is such a picky eater, just like me. He doesn't get it, just like me. Put everything in perspective, doesn't it? 
 
11. Enjoy each day.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. ~ A. A. Milne 

One of our biggest arguments is over who will die first. We love each other's company. We’ve lived with each other for so long we can’t imagine living without each other.  I want to die first and so does he. When you love someone with your heart and soul, you can’t imagine a life without each other. ~ 

12. Create fun and play.

A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men. ~ Roald Dahl

Always leave enough time, money and energy for play. Try new activities. Visit new places. Surprise each other. Be silly. Travel together. You can tell how healthy a relationship is by the amount of laughter that is shared. Never underestimate the power of creating good times for yourselves.

In the end, it's all about love. Express love. Give love. Act out of love. Be love, loving.

"And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God. ~ Les Miserables

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julie January 13, 2014, 11:13 am

    How perfit and fitting to come across this blog today — currently dealing with some struggles in my relationship. My biggest problem is refusing to let go of my stubborness and pride. I’m working it, I think. 🙁

  • Tess January 13, 2014, 12:11 pm

    Hi Julie,
    I hear you. However, everyone is a lot happier when you shift your perception. It comes down to, would you rather be happy or right? You can’t have both. Practice taking the high road. Watch how life opens up!

  • Sandra Pawula January 13, 2014, 12:42 pm

    There’s so much personal experience and wisdom in these suggestions, Tess. I feel like you’ve learned so much in your 42 years of marriage that can be so beneficial for the rest of us.

    I’m especially loving the idea of dreaming together. My husband and I have started having weekly or bi-weekly check in meetings where we check-in about our emotions, our practical affairs, and our dreams too. They are a wonderful way to stay connected!

  • Tess January 13, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Sandra,
    Thanks for your kind words. I think your check-ins are a wonderful way to connect. Dream on! It’s so much fun!

  • Larry Hochman January 15, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Wow!!! It’s not just that I really like Jodi Picoult because we grew up in the same neighborhood (inside baseball…she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet).

    But the whole myth of an egalitarian relationship where everything is perfectly symmetrical, it just doesn’t make sense. The best marriages have flexibility and fun built into them. A great reminder! Thanks, Tess.

  • Jordan Phoenix January 21, 2014, 1:26 am

    I think the dream together step is a major one. Many times, I see people deny what they truly want, out of a hope that it will all just work out. But it’s definitely better to find a natural fit rather than try to force a relationship to work. Thanks for posting!

    • Tess January 21, 2014, 12:30 pm

      I think you’re absolutely correct. Thanks for sharing your input!

  • AJ Everton February 9, 2014, 7:57 pm

    This is great advice!
    I particularly like what you said about love being a verb. People depend too much on feelings bringing about actions in relationships rather than actions and experiences bringing about feelings.
    This is a refreshing and practical post. Thank you so much!

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