We all love being in love, the excitement of having found the one, the adoration you see in your partner’s eyes is the best high in the world – the joy of being present in this moment. It’s hard to imagine how ANYTHING could change this special bond. And, yet, it does.  As time passes and the years add on, plus family stress, work stress, and money stress just to name a few, the sweetness of the beginning can start to seem like a distant memory.

Successful couples share a few things that have helped make their relationships last over the decades:

Treat your partner like a best friend

Think of a best friend in your life, how you guys share secrets and stories, events of the day, laugh about small things and support and encourage each other through the tough times. In a relationship, your partner is probably looking for the same love and openness that we give our best friends – not competitiveness and judgement.

The space to have their own experiences and a friendly loving environment to come back and share in.

Their feelings, my behavior

In a relationship we tend to immediately start thinking about how this impacts me? Instead of having empathy, we always want sympathy for what we are going through. He wants to go out with his friends, well does that mean less time spent with me? The “poor me” thinking can take over the joy in any relationship. It helps to shift focus away from victim, to taking control of your own feelings and behavior.

Instead of thinking about how their behavior impacts your feelings and wanting the other person to change their behavior, it may be fair to think about their feelings (what is your partner going through?) and your behavior (how can I support with my actions?).

That can take a little bit of getting used to! In this case, you would focus on – that’s great he gets to blow off some steam and have fun with his friends, and I can do my own thing as well.  This allows you to look within and become responsible for your own behavior while having empathy for your partner.

Being in service

Relationships, from a personal self-development perspective, is all about growing and learning about ourselves. One way to grow ourselves is to rise above our nature than giving without expectations. Being in service is an act and also a mindset.

When is the last time we did something for another person, without wanting reciprocity or at a minimum, a thank you?  Have them be indebted to us in a small way. If you step away from that expectation, and make it about giving because you can and you want to and nothing else.

You allow your mind to feel a totally different kind of inner joy and peace.

Whether its household chores or just doing small things for your partner just because you can. By being in service you can set the foundation for a fulfilling relationship for yourself.

Kindness over rightness

Time and again, arguments can become volatile as two people are bent on proving their rightness.  Walking away from situations with frustration and anger. Giving rise to lingering thoughts of hatred and contempt.  These feelings once surfaced are hard to put to bed and can become a wall of bitterness between an otherwise like-minded couple.

It’s important to understand that being right, being smarter are thoughts that only serve to feed our personal ego. They end up driving isolation, which can be broken down by choosing kindness instead. Kindness can look like tempering statements, tone of voice and expression, not saying the last word, letting the other person get their way. Instead of contemptuous statements, exercising compassion can go a long way to strengthening the bond between two people.

I am Me, they are them

Getting to know someone, understanding a different point of view, all takes time, care and effort. It has to be accompanied with patience and acceptance. This means, once you do get to learn something new, being okay with it as well.  Being okay with likes, dislikes, how the person plan for things, how they handle emotional or difficult situations, how they get things done, how often they call family and friends.

Finding ways to manage differences, compromising vs attempting to change, acceptance instead of judgment allows you to be you and them to be their person. All the little things we like to criticize our partners for, build grounds for anger and contempt.

No two people are ever alike.  When you stop WANTING your partner to be like you, think like you, and act like you, you allow for both of you to just BE who you are. You stop trying to control the other person. And you put an end to the power struggles that can bring the demise of any good relationship.


Relationships are tricky but with these foundational shifts in mindset, we can enjoy lasting love and companionship with our partners.

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