‘Love is a many-splendored thing! Love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!’ And so Ewan McGregor sang in the movie spectacular, Moulin Rouge. He believed that love was the greatest thing one could ever experience because, oh, love is great! How dizzily happy life can be when one falls head over heels. A love like this will last forever and ever and…
Agh. Yep. That’s a different story altogether. The forever and ever part.
Love – the kind that you fall head over heels into – requires getting back up on two feet and learning how to make that last. That’s because, like all things in life, love needs work, care and respect. Sad to say but those exciting butterflies fluttering in your tummy will stop flapping their wings and settle, or even slow to a complete halt.
True love is a two-way game. However, played well, it can grow and evolve. So, without further ado, here are some ways to ensure your love stands the test of time.
Fun is Serious Business
Most couples fall victim to sitting side by side on the sofa with a TV dinner, glued to a boxset often not uttering a word to one another all night. But if you want your love to make the cut, you have to make time for the fun stuff. Be silly with one another. Tell jokes, act daft. You definitely laughed a lot when you first got together, didn’t you? Sharing good humour is food for the soul and as much as we all crave a life full of fun, complacency breeds laziness and that has a habit of overshadowing the comic relief. So work at making each other laugh regularly.
A hug is a bit like drinking a glass of water. You don’t realise how much you needed it until you’ve had it. Of course, during your early loved-ups days, you might have found touching one another hard to resist. Then normal life kicked in. Those long lie-ins and cosy nights together transition into sitting in different rooms catching up on phone-admin and scrolling TikTok. But human touch aids the release of feel-good endorphins for both the giver and the receiver. So hold hands when you’re on a walk outside, and brush cheeks as you say goodbye in the morning. Re-adding moments of intimacy can become electric, but releasing the effort of touch will turn off a switch.
Pick Your Battles
You can’t change somebody, no matter how hard you try. Even if you’ve accepted this, you will still clash from time to time. But going over the same ‘dance steps’, repeating the same arguments over and over again like a record on repeat, could one day become one argument too many. So step back from moments of conflict and observe the patterns. Can you reframe the situation? Shift in a different direction? Ask yourself: is this argument worth losing each other over? You’re not clones of one another. You’re both unique. So agreeing to disagree on certain irritations might be the better option. Make a conscious decision about which battles are worth fighting, and which are best left alone.
Nourish the Bond
Something special held you together in the first place. So chit-chat about each other’s day and your shared memories. Ask a lot of questions and now and then, check-in on your relationship to get an idea of where you both need might to make some extra effort. Leave your phones in another room and chill without the niggling distractions. You chose this person as your life partner. So take them on the journey with you and try new things together. Or redo some activities you did at the beginning of the relationship that made you initially fall in love.
You might think that you know your partner better than them; you spend enough time observing, right? But remember that change is constant. No matter how deep your relationship is, people change. So embrace it. Only this can help you know your partner better and forge an even deeper bond with them. Everything does and always will change. It makes the ride unknown, but exciting. So enjoy the bumps and surprises together rather than against each other.
Say the Good Stuff
When you’re in familiar territory, it’s easy to unleash. Or, well, moan. Boredom and frustration will occur and your partner will suffer the brunt of that. But seeing the good stuff must be a priority. Did you know that it takes up to 20 positive statements to outweigh the harm done by one negative one? So compliment your partner’s new shirt. Remind them how much you love their hair or their beard or their freckles. Thank them for making that cup of coffee. WhatsApp a kiss or love heart emoji if you know that will make them smile. You know how to push their buttons – the good and the bad ones, so the choice is yours.