Every one of us who has been in a long-term relationship will, at some point or other, consider why things are no longer quite as they were. This is in many ways inevitable but doesn’t need to necessarily be treated as a negative consequence of your extended time together.
A healthy long-term relationship should involve the two of you growing and evolving as people and then, invariably, as a couple. The alternative isn’t quite as comforting as you might think.
If you are a couple that doesn’t develop or mature as individuals, then in a way, your relationship may actually be restricting you as a person. What is essential, of course, is that the growth you experience as individuals is also matched by one that occurs in your shared existence.
Often you’ll hear people talking about a relationship’s ‘honeymoon period’ and most often in the context of it being over. This is a problematic way of thinking about how a relationship changes and adjusts over a longer period.
The honeymoon period is obviously a different stage of a relationship when you are just getting to know someone and learning about them step by step. Clearly, this period of a relationship will end and be replaced by another phase, which is no less important or worthwhile in your continued growth as a couple.
This said, there is no issue with wanting to maintain a long-term relationship, and that may require changing your routines, attitudes, and approach to the connection you have.
Ways To Strengthen Your Long-Term Relationship
There are many ways to help maintain a healthy and flourishing relationship; here are a few suggestions that could assist you in this area.
Gifts Outside of the Blue
When you’ve been together for a long time, you grow accustomed to key dates when you have to make sure you put in the right amount of effort into gift-giving and any planned celebration.
While it’s important to mark anniversaries and birthdays, and forgetting them is a big faux pas, what would actually stand out are gifts and celebrations that are in no way connected to anything other than a desire to please and surprise your partner, wife, or husband.
So, why not randomly whisk them off their feet, maybe splash out on a bespoke gift, like this custom necklace for women that can have a personalized unique meaning and value to your loved one?
Never Underestimate the Power of Date Night
Though it is, to some extent, something of a cultural construct that exists in movies and TV shows, you should never underestimate the importance of ‘date night.’ Clearly, a ‘date night’ can take many forms, but the overall purpose of such an activity is to spend some quality time together away from any potential distractions (such as, most commonly, work and kids).
A ‘date night’ can be quite literal and might entail you both taking turns to cordon off a night in the calendar, perhaps once every two weeks (depending on commitments), where you go to a nice restaurant or bar.
Having this as an oasis of escape in your diary can help it act as a real pleasure to look forward to. It’s a chance to reconnect in a way that you may not be able to achieve at home, and above all else, it’s an opportunity to just have fun.
So with this in mind, you should try to adopt some ground rules for these ‘dates. They should be a place where arguments and conflicts are deliberately set to one side. You might even consider it a type of truce if, for instance, the two of you have been bickering a bit lately.
Never Stop Talking and Really Listen
The biggest obstacle that you may well hit when in a longer-term pairing will relate to your communication. Often when one, or both, of you, have issues or problems, you may elect not to discuss them with your partner, or you might do so in a way that isn’t conducive to a healthy discussion.
Sometimes you may grow too complacent about your relationship, and that can lead to either of you not paying enough attention to the other. This is, in some ways, understandable. You have known each other for a long time and pretty much know how the other thinks; this doesn’t mean you should take the other for granted.
Listen to each other; that doesn’t mean hear each other; it means genuinely taking on board what the other says and trying to resolve any disagreements that arise in a way that is productive and not a point-scoring exercise.
Be Honest With Each Other
If you’ve been together for a long time, you may be fearful that saying the wrong thing might have disastrous consequences. However, that shouldn’t stop you from saying what you feel, but it is better if you say something in a way that doesn’t actively exacerbate matters.
Be respectful and keep open the means of communication and dialogue. Many relationships have ended, not because of what someone has said but because of something they haven’t.
Many couples are reticent about seeking help, be that help from family or friends or from professionals who can be of genuine assistance to you. There is a sense that going down this route is akin to opening Pandora’s box.
Counseling can be hugely beneficial for all parties, and it’s an avenue that you should consider if you feel that other attempts to help keep your relationship on an even keel have failed.