This month I thought of writing about common qualities I see in couples that have found after many years of being together the equilibrium of a healthy relationship. They teach us valuable lessons and they make us want to work that much harder on our own relationship. Here is what they may tell us:
Don’t forget the small touches
While grand, sweeping gestures are lovely every once in a while, it’s the little, frequent ones that will make your partner feel loved on a daily basis. A kiss hello or goodbye, a cup of tea while your other half is working to show them you care or a quick shoulder rub in front of the television. You may find these things insignificant, but the small things really do nurture relationships in time.
Couples who laugh together stay together!
Sharing a giggle with the one you love has to be one of the most invigorating and bond-strengthening things ever, am I right? If you can’t quite get the laughs going on your own, why not pop a funny film on the television or watch a silly video on YouTube together? You’ll not only feel happier, but also closer to your partner.
No, I don’t mean that (although that’s fantastic, too!)—but physical contact with your lover is crucial to keeping that feeling of intimacy going over the years. It doesn’t have to be massively awkward public displays of affection but a kiss on the forehead, a comforting stroke on the back of the neck, a massage or even holding hands will help you feel more connected to your partner.
Listen to each other
This may seem like Relationship 101, but it’s incredibly easy to fall off the bandwagon, even with the basics! Being available to listen to your partner when he is having a bad day, being there to share their personal victories or hearing them out in an argument instead of ignoring them are simple steps you can take to help your couple thrive over time. Having said that…
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
No matter how close you are with your other half, most of the time, they won’t be able to magically sense when you’re upset unless you get your feelings out in the open. Don’t be afraid to let it all out and communicate with your partner: keeping your thoughts bottled up is a sure way to build up resentment over the years, while sharing them will lead to a closer relationship.
Celebrate the good times together…
There’s something to be said for sharing happy moments with your sweetheart! Bonding over something that brings you joy is exhilarating and will make you feel closer than ever. With that said…
…And support each other through the bad
When things go badly, be there for each other. Just like sharing the good times will make you feel closer to one another, supporting each other through rough patches will make you feel like a team.
Remember where you started
If you’re feeling a bit blah about your relationship (don’t beat yourself up, it happens!), think back to where it all began for you two! Think of happy moments and experiences you’ve shared, and remember why you fell in love in the first place. In fact, why not take this trip down memory lane with your other half? With photos and a glass of wine, even better!
Love isn’t always easy
These sweet old couples have been through thick and thin together; they’ve weathered their share of arguments. It can’t always have been easy. Sticking together even through the rough patches is a test of character and of the strength of your love: if you can make it through the storm, there’s nothing that’ll get in your way!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years and that these cute oldies will agree with, is the importance of setting some time aside for just the two of us. Even if you’ve been together for years and years, keeping a date night ritual once a week or twice a month is a lovely way to keep the connection going in your relationship!
Remember that love is a long-lasting friendship
Sure, your other half is your love interest, but he’s also one of your closest friends. Be silly together! Be open with each other and support each other like friends would. Have fun together. Being friends as well as lovers will add another layer to your relationship. Nurture that—it’s invaluable.
Try something new together
Instead of settling down in front of the television, why not try something new and different together? It’s a brilliant way of bringing some spice to your relationship!
Sorry goes a long way
Sometimes, it feels like the hardest thing to say, but that simple word work wonders! Try just saying “I’m sorry” next time you are not seeing eye to eye, even if you’re not necessarily in the wrong. What’s more important—being right or moving on from the problem?
Start a tradition
Whether it’s a picnic every Sunday afternoon, pancakes at the diner every Saturday or a trip to the theatre every third Wednesday of the month, start a fun tradition together! Don’t underestimate the value of having something to look forward to on a regular basis with your loved one: not only will it give you an excuse to spend time together it’ll also become “your thing” and you’ll be one of those couples.
Love yourself, too
While showering your other half with love and affection is super important, don’t forget to show yourself some TLC, too! By loving yourself, you become able to love others more. Enjoy an activity on your own and see your own friends.
Surprise each other!
While having date nights and traditions is great, there’s much to be said for spontaneity and surprising your partner every once in a while to bring a little spark back into the relationship! Do something out of the ordinary every once in a while: swing by your sweetheart’s office at lunch for an impromptu bite together. These surprises don’t necessarily have to be huge; even the smallest change to a routine can be delightful!
There will be times when it’ll be tempting to lash out at your partner, using unkind words to hurt. Although satisfying in the heat of the moment, fighting unfairly—with harsh words and accusations—doesn’t help the situation. Try to keep your calm; listen to what your other half has to say and tell them how you feel, too. Communicate. Try as best you can to not tear each other apart, because the more you do, the harder it’ll be to come back from. And remembers that some words are hard to take back.
Choose to forgive rather than to hold a grudge. Choose to lend a helping hand rather than be cold out of anger. Be a shoulder to cry on, rather than the accusatory finger. Relationships take work and forgiveness. Choose kindness.
Remember: it gets better with age