When you survive the excruciating recovery period following the end of a relationship, you will ask yourself one particular 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 ten straight to the point basic rules and can be found here.