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How To Make A Relationship Or Marriage Last… The Hard Way

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When you survive the excruciating recovery period following the end of a relationship, you will ask yourself one specific question:

What can I do better in future relationships to make them last?

It is a substantial part of the recovery to understand the reasons that initially led to the split, but apart from that, is there something we can do that can make the relationship long-lasting and fulfilling?

According to an article I recently read from Jane E. Brody, a 71-year-old personal health columnist for The New York Times, there is plenty you can do.

It takes active work and we cannot rely on the “flame of love” to fuel a marriage or relationship.

Research shows that the “flame” only continues to burn for about two years after the wedding or the beginning of a relationship. The passion eventually cools down, and we have to build a foundation of companionate love, deep affection and connection.

This is easier read than done.

But what can we specifically do to strengthen our relationship and bulletproof it against a break-up?

You probably know that I have been happily married now since 2007, and if I had to list two of our secrets, it would be profound communication, and keeping the “we” alive despite the kids.

Jane E. Brody lists a few more, some of which you wouldn’t think of, like “the 5 to 1 rule”.

It implies the observation that happy couples tend to “average five positive verbal and emotional expressions toward one another for every negative expression”. Unhappy couples, however, display a ratio less than one.

What that actually means, is that giving your partner positive energy on a daily basis, is the key ingredient to marital happiness – which completely stands to reason, (who wants to be with someone who constantly slams you emotionally).

There are other, more obvious methods to get your love life on a happier track, like talking often and truly listening to your spouse, or to avoid marital boredom by finding new activities, places, friends and skills.

One of the things suggested in this article that made the most sense to me was, to unconditionally support your partner’s goals, dreams and values.

This is where we have built a strong foundation for a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship. One that makes us stronger, and where both partners benefit from it.

You can read this excellent article by Jane E. Brody here.

Another very helpful article about how to keep your relationship healthy, simply lists 10 straight to the point basic rules, and can be found here.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

6 Responses to How To Make A Relationship Or Marriage Last… The Hard Way

  1. Tom March 13, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Hey Eddie,

    I’m no expert on this front (my longest relationship has only been ten months) but I can’t help but agree with you. That and not trying to be someone you are not. Keeping up that ruse is all but impossible — as far as I am concerned, if you have to wear a mask to be with someone then that person isn’t for you.

    One last thing — I think out-of-the-blue gestures can do a world of good to. It’s one thing telling someone you love them — it’s another to do little things here and then that truly demonstrate your feelings. Words are easy to say, after all.



  2. Alexandria March 20, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    I think part of why so many relationships derail is that they are utterly unprepared for the period after the “flame.” Interesting points also about the high ratio of positive affirmations among happy couples. Seems obvious but how many of us are actually doing it?

  3. Sandy March 30, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    I think the hardest thing to deal with after the breakup is find yourself. I wish it was that easy but the more I get back into my life the more I feel I have come seperated by it. I reached the point where I never what to go back with him. I realized he would of hurt me more if I stayed. Therefore that gave me the incentive to leave.

  4. xyz April 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    You are doing great work!!

  5. C October 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Don’t mind me if I don’t agree with everything here. Even with daily communication, daily affection and love, no fighting or arguing, full support of everything she has ever wanted my marriage is failing.
    My wife separated from me 7 weeks ago after 19 years married and 24 years together. Says she was never meant to get married and feels she got married for the wrong reasons like that’s what she was supposed to do in everyone else’s eyes. We’ve traveled a lot, hang out all the time, never fight or argue, financially stable, no kids. She said she has tried to find a reason to leave and can not except that’s what her heart is saying. Says I have always been there for her, always supported her in everything, made her the woman she is today and is extremely guilt ridden.
    I am seeing two psychiatrists, and she refuses to see anyone regardless of how torn she is and how indecisive she is about all this. She has gone through these episodes about 5 times in the past 19 years but this is the first where she left. She is missing something and is not sure what, she is asking for space but yet can not seem to leave. You see she lives in a second house we have directly next door. She sees when the lights go out, see’s when I leave and when I come home. There is no one else in each of our lives at all. Recently we decided she has to find an apt but she has yet to start looking. We’ve gone out a half a dozen times since the split. She has not been straight with her family, refuses to get help, blocked out a lot of friends. She enjoys the arts and enjoys hanging with the people who also enjoy that even though I also like the arts! Going to see her at shows that she participates in would ruin her fun at the show even thought it may have been 2 hours away and I would go way out of my way to go and show my support to her. Puzzles me…
    She says waking every morning and giving her a kiss good morning and expressing my love to her daily even after 19 years has become repetitive and boring….everything about relationships I’ve learned through strong family values seemed to have failed in my own relationship. I’ve been a mess for the past 7 weeks even with the professional help I am seeking. We have a lot invested in our relationship and I am basically begging her for the opportunity to fix this together. We need to figure out what she appears to be missing because she doesn’t know. She has never communicated her needs and wants to me, she does have an extremely hard time to open up to me which we have identified as a major issue but she says that it is now too late but in my eye’s it’s not because since she is having a hard time, she is still connected and still talking to me like she was months ago that there is something still there we need to dig out. I am perfect the perfect husband woman dream about she says but yet she’s unhappy…
    I am puzzled beyond words, the pro’s are a bit baffled and just tell me to leave her alone and move on. I see more there and can’t just leave her because I have no closure, I feel cheated from being able to work on this after she says I’ve been the perfect husband (I don’t deserve this). I think for the sake of both of our mental states we need to bring closure to ourselves so that if it’s meant to move on then we feel like we gave it our all but right now she wants out and we both don’t know why. I’m trying to rope her back in for the sake of our history in order to give this a fighting chance.

    • Dt February 7, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      I feel very bad for your situation.
      All I can say is that you can’t fix her. She has to learn to figure out what she really wants out of life.
      You are a great husband, but that doesn’t mean that’s what she wanted.
      You are just not lucky to have this kind of treatment from her. But you will soon find a new love, if you let her go and let her explore her own world. And you explore yours. She may come back to you later when she realized you are the best thing that ever happened to her.
      At the moment, she doesn’t appreciate you, because you have always been there for her.

      I am speaking from my experience. I saw how my step father did everything for my mom, but my mom had never appreciated him. She left him. Later on in life, she realized he was the best for her, but it was too late. He remarried, and happily married too. He died few years ago. My mom still keeps his picture.

      Be strong, stand your ground. Don’t let your wife keep leaving you like this. She will never change, if you keep on enabling her to treat you that way. You can only blame yourself.
      Good luck.

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