The Best Ways To Build Long-Lasting Healthy Relationships

Share Article

Evelyn Aldous MBA and Masters in Psychology, “I believe that our relationships have a profound impact on our lives. My mission is to support more people in becoming empowered to create the cherishing relationship they desire.”

Stay curious!

We often take our partner for granted. We love them, we get so familiar with them and their presence. We live side by side but do we truly appreciate them? Do we really know them?

Sometimes, we just think we do. In my practice, I often ask clients who are mourning a lack of common interest, to tell me what makes their partner sparkle. 

What makes them feel safe? What fascinates them? Where do they like to be touched?

Much to my surprise, a lot of partners say that they’ve never asked! I would like all couples to turn to each other with a spirit of inquiry.

Turn to each other with an eager desire to find out what attracted you to each other in the first place?

Who are you now?

What have you learned from the other person?

What goals do you have as a couple?

And the all-important question:

What elevates them?

What makes them sparkle?

Image Source: Mr Skepper

A fascinating journey with your other half can begin. 

Become more relational! Couples in healthy, long-term relationships usually master the art of giving and receiving. They sense that we all co-create behavior in the other person and understand that we are the architects of our relationships. It is all too easy to get stuck in behavior patterns, where nobody takes the initiative anymore to suggest what to eat, to go out, or even to discuss better ways of talking to each other or making the time together more memorable. A sense of boredom or flatness might creep in. This is a common source of frustration that leaves both partners in an unhappy ambiguity, where couples want to stay together but each partner is waiting for the other to take make the first move. My advice is to take the first step! Don’t wait for your husband or wife to do that. You might be waiting forever and just drift further apart. Always remember, taking the initiative to create change is not only for you or your partner, but it is also for your relationship! Have you ever bought a gift for someone you love and got so excited yourself? Have you ever cooked a meal for your partner and this made you feel so happy? Giving the person you love something positive, something that will make him or her happy. Then unleash the power of giving and experience the happiness it evokes in yourself. Not only are you stepping out of your old behavior pattern, you will almost guarantee to elicit a positive response in your partner who may have also been waiting for this moment of taking the initiative. This is so liberating! 

Discover your needs and learn to express them. Couples in successful long-term relationships fight sometimes. Having an argument can clear the air and we all know that make-up sex afterward can be amazing. One of my great mentors, Terry Real, once said: “Relationships are an eternal dance between harmony, disharmony, and repair”. I could not agree more. Relationships flow from greatness into rocky parts and back to greatness. What kills them, however, is constant arguing, criticism, and negativity. Behind every criticism is a wish. Sometimes we get so frustrated that our wishes and needs are not fulfilled and we literally start shouting at our partner.  We might explode and attack them with an aggressive “You never wash the dishes”, — “you never have time for me.” — “It is a sure way for our desire not to get fulfilled.” Successful couples learn to communicate in calm ways. They might say, “I would love to go to the cinema with you.” — “It was wonderful when we used to do this.” — “I bought some tickets.”  Or, “I have had a really bad day. It would mean a lot to me if you could put the dishes in the dishwasher.” The moral of the story: Avoid non-essential, low-level arguments, ask for things in a calm, positive and validating way, and actually get them.

Speak the language of love. Communicate, attract and don’t repel your partner. It is all so easy to look away from ourselves and blame our partner for everything terrible that we experience.

Reignite The Erotic Flame Continuously…

As human beings, we are all wired for connection. We all crave intimacy. We want our partners to be our friends, confidants, advisers, entertainers, lovers, co-parents, and the list goes on. As the American couples therapist Esther Perel, puts it so poignantly, we have the need for safety and for familiarity but we have an equally strong need for adventure, otherness, transgression, and mystery. However, the erotic elan can only flow if there is space if there is a distance or gap that this spark needs to cross. In other words, intimacy is wonderful and great, but sexuality needs newness, a bit of space. One thing we need to understand is that love and desire are not the same. They can exist without each other but it is true for most couples that they feel happiest if they can reconcile being romantic partners and hot lovers at the same time. How do you do this is the burning question. First of all, discover for yourself how you are attracted to our partner romantically and also erotically. Make a conscious decision that you want to enjoy both love and sex. Discover some mystery in your partner (this is highly exciting) by creating a little distance or special situation out of the ordinary, for instance, go out or cook a meal at home, dress up nicely, make an effort, watch your partner in his element whilst for instance playing the piano, playing with the kids or talking to someone else. It is this special moment of mystery you have the magical distance to see your partner differently. Most people say, that in such a moment they feel overwhelmingly drawn to their partner. Please ask yourself, am I open for this to happen? I will leave you with a quote from Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Enjoy the magic of rediscovering your partner.

My final success tip for having healthy and happy long-lasting relationships is to have fun. Unleash your inner child and discover the power of playfulness. Nothing is more wonderful between two life partners if they can find a space in each other where they can be relaxed, natural, where they can be themselves without having to put on a show or where they can push the boundaries safely and be wild and a little daring. Experiment with yourselves how you can create a sanctuary for you as a couple, not for you as a family or with your kids, no this is your zone, for you and your partner where the outside world can wait for you to return, where the stresses of life are not allowed to enter and neither should anyone else, including your kids. Think of ways that you find entertaining, come out of your usual self, and start dating your partner again, write sexy and romantic text messages (or emails if you prefer). Have a romantic meal together. Put some music on and dance in the living room. Organize a babysitter if you can. Dress up or do a role play. Be creative and discover what makes you shine and have fun. Find something that suits you. Ask yourself: Are you inviting enough for your partner to have fun? 

Relationships are so profoundly important in our lives, they affect every area of them be it health, work, fulfillment, happiness, our entire existence. They are the stories of our lives. I would invite you to write a wonderful one.