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Everyone who has a loving relationship wants it to endure but the sad truth is that most relationships don’t stand the test of time, lasting only a few years on average. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to grow your bond for many years to come.

Embrace change

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Both you and your man will change. You can’t avoid it, so you need to put conscious effort into positive growth. Support your partner through challenges, encourage them to achieve their goals, and celebrate their accomplishments. As you both grow, you’ll cultivate trust, and your partnership will flourish.

Communicate effectively

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It sounds cliché, but great communication skills really do make a difference. How are you supposed to overcome relationship hurdles, if you can’t listen to, understand each other, and express your needs? You can’t, so it’s vital to practice by talking putting your feelings out there and addressing problems.

Shared dreams and goals

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Having goals that you’re both passionate about, will bring you together, foster a sense of partnership and purpose, and energize you, growing your bond. So, keep note of your similarities and shared dreams, and go for them, while making sure that your is partner involved every step of the way.

Be honest and transparent

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Reliability, consistency, and transparency help your partner feel safe and trust you, so you need them if your relationship is going to last. Sadly, trust is fragile. To avoid damaging your relationship, approach difficult conversations with integrity and care – avoid hiding information and keeping secrets.

Romance and intimacy

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Intimacy is the glue that holds your relationship together, and it takes work to build and maintain. So, it goes without saying that you’ll need to put conscious effort into keeping the spark alive with thoughtful gestures, dates or outings, fulfilling sex, and expressions of affection.

Meet their needs

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Everyone knows that it’s wise to treat others how you would like to be treated. Just as your partner needs to meet your needs, it’s also crucial that you proactively try to understand them and keep them happy, while being realistic about what you can do.

Patience and forgiveness

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Even if you’re going the extra mile and doing everything on this list, you’ll still have arguments at some point. How you handle these hurdles is crucial; focusing on the action, not the person. Looking at growth instead of mistakes, constructive criticism, and forgiveness can help you overcome relationship challenges.

Be realistic

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During rough patches, it’s easy to let negative events color your perception. To keep your bond alive, it’s vital to practice emotional awareness and look at the bigger picture. Be realistic; your partner can’t meet all your needs all the time, and making mistakes doesn’t make them a bad person.

Get support

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It’s okay to struggle to keep the spark alive and to power through hurdles. If you’re straining to solve disagreements and resolve conflicts, getting a professional involved can save the day. Working with a couples counselor can resolve problems before they cause permanent damage to your relationship.

Take your time

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Forever is a long time, so you can always slow down and figure things out. This is a good thing to keep in mind during periods of high stress and tension since the brain tends to shut down a lot of higher functions and make threats seem imminent. Whether it’s a big life decision or an argument, keep it calm and navigate with confidence.

Make decisions together

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There are whole foundations of philosophy built on the idea that two minds are better than one. If you’ve found the person you want to spend your life with, they probably think quite similarly to you anyway, so most problems can be shared and solved effectively. Even issues that don’t directly affect the other should still be brought to them, to gain an alternative viewpoint.

Take care of yourself

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While your partner should always be your priority, looking after them also involves looking after yourself. Keeping on top of your mental and physical health will mean your relationship doesn’t become an outlet for repressed issues, which is going to avoid a lot of conflicts and stumbling blocks. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get help if you need it.

Divide work accordingly

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Keeping any shared space clean is the key to any peaceful cohabitation. Obviously, everybody has to do their share, or resentments are bound to start festering. When you’re planning for an entire life together, work out which things you can both do and which you don’t mind doing to ensure you’re both on the same page. The same, very clean, dust-free page.

You’re always on the same team

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In 99% of circumstances, your loyalty should be to your partner. That 99% will encompass times where your partner is definitely in the wrong, but in some small way that seems foundational to their venting. That’s fine, just let them vent. If you want love to last forever, you need to know when to let disagreements go for the sake of the pack.

Learn to let go

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Life-long love is a lot more common than you might think, it just doesn’t necessarily mean ‘still together’. You may be with somebody who will always be a huge part of your life, just not as a romantic partner. Knowing when to walk away from a make-0r-break moment without it becoming an ugly fight is key to this.

Have a life outside of each other

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You can’t expect your partner to be your sole source of interaction and excitement, they have a lot of their stuff going on. As they should, since building a life together requires you both to have your drives and motivations as independent people. You should continue learning, growing, and failing by yourself, as well as with your partner.

Know how to apologize properly

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It’s difficult to admit you were wrong, everyone understands that. That’s why apologies are a big deal in the first place – everybody hates saying it. A true, sincere sorry means acknowledging your actions, why they were wrong, and what you can do moving forward. Knowing this will put a premature end to so many unnecessary arguments.

Never go to bed angry at each other

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This is an ancient piece of dating wisdom for a reason. Laying in bed with someone post-argument is one of life’s most horrible interactions, and usually, all it takes to avoid it is an apology. You’re going to get into arguments with a partner from time to time, just don’t forget the big picture, and make sure you both at least apologize before bed.

Share everything you have

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To help love last forever, remember you and your partner are a unit. Not every compromise is going to be exactly 50/50, but over time you should both be working to equalize things. Money can complicate relationships if it’s micromanaged, you should both trust each other to make good on any inequalities over time.

Keep things spicy

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Bedroom woes are one of the main causes of relationship decay. It takes effort to keep on top of this aspect of the partnership, and it can be embarrassing bringing up your wants and needs to a spouse. They should be understanding and excited to try out these potentially new and interesting things with you!

Keep the small talk exciting

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Partners who find enjoyment in even the small day-to-day conversations of the relationship have a strong chance of making love go the distance. It shows you both enjoy the most mundane situations and that you have great chemistry keeping to chat going. The ‘How was your day?’ talk should be something you both look forward to.

Good morning and goodnight

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A good sign you have love that can last forever is when you’re both the first and last person you interact with. A good morning message or hug, and a goodnight call or kiss are small moments of intimacy that do wonders for your connection to each other. It also helps build moments of affection into your routine.

Tell them you love them

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Quite simple on its face, granted, but you’d be surprised how many people just forget or assume it’s implied. It is implied, of course, you should always be showing your partner they are loved and cared for through your actions. That being said, the minimum daily ‘I love you quota’ is one and, since nobody gets tired of love, the commission is uncapped.

Celebrate their independence

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Part of the beauty of love is having someone there to support you and encourage you as you grow and develop as a person. Stagnation in relationships is toxic, and best avoided by accepting you both are going to change over time. This is scary, but it’s inevitable! Love and celebrate who they are and who they chose to become.

Respect each other’s boundaries

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As a partner, you above everyone else must respect your partner’s boundaries and, in turn, set your own. It’s one of the core benefits of a relationship – knowing you have somebody who, no matter what, will treat you with love and understanding. Setting down clear lines that should never be crossed is going to keep you from accidentally overstepping.

Remember, you don’t own them

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No matter how long you have been in a relationship, or how much money and energy have been invested, you do not control your partner. It’s fine to disagree to voice concern, but you can’t make them do anything. Controlling behavior is always a red flag and something you should try to work on before looking for a life-long partner.

Be a little competitive!

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Healthy competition between you and your partner is a sign that things are still alive and playful. Ultimately, you’re still working together, and that should take the negative aspects of competition out of the equation. In the broader scheme, seeing your partner as an inspiration you want to surpass and make proud is going to keep you both on your toes.

Make the best of a bad situation

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There will be times when plans fall through at the last minute and suddenly the evening becomes a depressing FOMO session. To help make love last, try to make the most of the times that everything seems to go comedically wrong. Be creative together to salvage something positive from the ashes – end the evening on a high note!

Don’t hold grudges

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Despite how fun they can be, there really is no healthy way to hold onto a grudge. In relationships, they can happen incidentally. One person may accept an apology despite not being quite ready to let the transgression go, and over time they either hold it over their partner’s head or misdirect their emotions. If you truly can’t see yourself forgiving them – that’s a sign it isn’t meant to be.

Have something you can nurture together

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Kids are classic, they’re a real exercise in bonding and sleep deprivation, but there are other ways to scratch the mothering itch before you prematurely settle down. Bear in mind, however, that plants and animals are still commitments – that’s the whole point! Having something you can co-operate on nurturing is going to show you how compatible you are in that area, and give you chances to bond.

Don’t view the relationship as transactional

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When you see your interactions as having winners and losers, where you feel you gave too much for too little return, you’re going to start building resentment between you. You start thinking in terms of what you are owed, and that is antithetical to the unconditional love needed to make it last.

Make each other laugh

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It’s not that you need this for true, everlasting love, but couples who share a sense of humor tend to navigate conflicts better, feeling closer than those with a stiff upper lip. Laughter is beautiful, it floods the brain with delicious endorphins. Evolution wants us to laugh. Perhaps those ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ posters have even more truth in them than we thought.

Be vulnerable with each other

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Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, especially not in a relationship. A lot of people carry around this resentment and guilt surrounding their own emotions, which doesn’t benefit them or their potential partners. You need to get to know each other on a deeper level to get a sense of how long the love between you can last.

Share music with each other

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Streaming has potentially provided us with the lowest cost/highest benefit gift of all time: the playlist. It’s the romantic mixtape for the modern age! Somebody’s taste in music can’t tell you who they are, but it can give you a sense of what they value and enjoy. Whether you’re into 90s RnB slow jams or death metal, music is a good way to gauge compatibility and give you something to dance to.

Make memories together

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Find a way to make the most of your special occasions. Or even not-so-special occasions! It takes some effort, but a thoughtful gift, a surprise, or even just a night in that’s all about them, these things will keep you two loved birds up, and those memories will keep you going through the hard times.

Have your own support networks

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You’re not going to be able to take every problem you have to your partner for several reasons. It could be to do with them, or something you’d like to ruminate on before discussing. For things like this, having a support network of trusted friends or family that will listen to you and offer advice will be invaluable to your long-term health.

Let go of your ego

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To be a fully attentive partner, you’re going to have to dampen your ego a little – especially if you’re used to putting yourself first. It takes humility to make love last, you’re not going to be right and reasonable all the time. Sometimes you might look silly, but that’s completely fine! It’s not the end of the world and not worth getting mad about.

Treat them like a priority

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Most people start to lose romantic interest in a partner when they feel as though they aren’t being treated as a priority. It’s often unintentional and a result of stressful circumstances, but clear communication is still key. You might not always be immediately available, but reassuring them and setting an appropriate time to talk is always doable.

Cherish what makes them unique

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We’re all weird and idiosyncratic in our own special ways, and long-lasting love is all about enjoying those oddities. Some people move from obsession to obsession, some spend their entire lives being super into metal detecting. It doesn’t matter how strange or mundane it is to you, respecting your partner’s passion is the bare minimum.

Don’t compare yourself to other couples

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It’s fine to have goals and expectations for the relationship, but they should be based on what you want – not your friends romantically ‘doing better’ than you. Everybody moves and progresses at their own pace and you should be communicating that to your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page. Jealousy is a dubious approach to personal motivations, let alone for a relationship.