Justin and I don’t have it all figured out. I’ll start there. But as I’ve observed and witnessed other relationships, and talked with friends and family and acquaintances, I think I’ve come to see that there are a few things we do a little differently or really well, that work for us and I think make our relationship stronger. So, this post is all our best advice and tips for how to make a relationship last.
It’s always easy at first
When a new relationship begins, it’s easy. You’re super interested, you’re eager to learn about this person and you want to do all the things with them. So, what happens once you settle into more of a norm with your new partner? What happens when you start to do real life with them? Do you get comfortable, stop working on the relationship, just let it coast? Well, here are some tips for building a lasting relationship so that when the newness wears off, you’re still growing and evolving together.
11 tips: how to make a relationship last
1. Dream together
It’s no accident that Justin and I have had a radical life change – new career, new house, new city, etc. We dream together, and we dream big! And it’s a huge part of what builds excitement in our relationship. We are ALWAYS dreaming together…this biz of ours is a dream we’ve been working on together. Starting a family, owning some property, living on our own terms…yep all dreams of ours. And we keep them coming.
We are always working on our dream life together. It gives us a common thread to strive for and work toward. It gets us excited and bonds us, and it makes us feel like it’s us against the world. Ever felt that way – it’s unstoppable, right?! We think so, and we are always working on our dreams together to re-create that feeling of excitement and togetherness.
2. Have a passion or hobby together
Having something you enjoy and love doing together is great! This can be as simple as going for walks with your dog (we do this every day). It can be something like being die hard sports team fanatics together. Whatever it is, do it together. Get immersed in the activity to the extent you lose track of time together, and do it often. Who knows, you might even turn your passion/hobby together into a business you work on together like we did!
3. Have a passion or hobby for yourself
This can be tough, especially when life gets busy. For us, so much of our lives are intertwined – our business, our dreams, our goals, etc. that it gets easy to forget that we can’t do everything together or be everything to each other. So, make sure you have your own hobby or passion that you work on as well. It’s important to fill your own cup up and have something for yourself. This is probably the thing we struggle with most in this list of tips, but we know it and are working on it.
4. Support each other in all the things
I’m all in with Justin. Wherever we want to go, whatever we want to do, I’m in. All the way in, and I’ve already decided I’m here for it. So, if he wants to spend $2,000 on a personal development course, I’m all “Yes, that’s a great idea!” If he wants to go hunting for two weeks with his buddies – “Yep, you should!” And when I want to teach barre fitness classes because it fuels me, he’s like “When do you start?” We support each other because we know that feeling fully supported is what gives us the courage and the space to continue to grow and achieve and become. Basically, it doesn’t matter what Justin wants to do (within reason), I’m there for him and it doesn’t matter how it turns out. If the ship goes down, we’re going down together, and I’d rather that than either of us never having worked up the courage to take a leap. Because when we take leaps, when we go out on a limb, magic happens and it’s worth the risk.
5. Push each other to strive for more by being the example
We are often working on improving ourselves, trying to become the best versions of ourselves as individuals. And we both find it really motivating and inspiring to continue to strive when the other is working so hard. It’s not a competition, but rather, it’s just that we want to grow and evolve over time together, always becoming the next best version of ourselves. And there’s nothing more persuasive or motivating than the person you’re doing life with working hard to become better. So, be the example. Lead with your actions. And it’s ok if there are times where one of you takes the lead a little more than the other. It’s ok to go through rough patches and need to follow someone else’s lead. Just be open to being the leader sometimes and stepping up and paving the path for the both of you.
6. Tell him/her what you love about them
These are the little things (and sometimes big things) that often go unsaid. But why not just let him know you’re crazy about his facial hair three days after he shaves? Or why not tell her that you appreciate the way she supports your ambition? Even though Justin and I are often on the same page, I know he cannot actually read my mind, so I’m always trying to make sure he knows what I feel and think. You can’t leave your partner in the dark, left to guess and piece together where you’re at. Just say the words, whatever they are, big or small. We are often way harder on ourselves and our inner critics are often undermining our efforts, so throw your partner some compliments and love, and do it often.
7. Communicate + get uncomfortable
This one will be on pretty much any list about how to have a relationship that lasts, but we included it anyway because it really is important. And it’s especially important when times get rough or are uncomfortable. Being vulnerable, talking about heavy things and happy things, and all the things in between is key. That’s when it matters the most. Create a safe space with your partner, where no topic is off limits.
When we miscarried, it was so hard to talk at first because we mostly just cried. But also because we didn’t know how to put into words what we were thinking and feeling, so we just pieced it together. We said whatever words would come out, and whatever fragments we could share. And it made us closer. We had to learn how to navigate each other’s grief and pain in addition to our own. It was a tender, complicated and scary time. But talking, even if only with a few words, made a big difference. You can’t keep life all bottled up inside if you want to have a lasting relationship, and it gets way less scary the more you just talk openly.
And be willing to get uncomfortable. Whether it’s talking about your sex life or sharing your deepest fears or talking about any other uncomfortable topic, give it a go. See what happens. You will likely learn a ton about each other, break down some barriers and create a deeper bond. It can be scary, and it can also be really rewarding. Choose to make it more like an experiment to see what happens. You can keep it playful and fun most of the time.
8. Leave the past in the past
There’s no point in digging up the past. Whatever happened in the past brought you to where you are, and hopefully that is enough to appreciate all the good and bad that happened before your relationship. And when things come up in your relationship that you have to overcome, remember that you can learn and grow from it, or you can let it eat away at you and your relationship. You get to choose!
9. Be willing to be changed by your relationship
I can 100% say I have been changed by my relationship with Justin and our life together. Sometimes we fight change, we make plans and we try so hard to stick to them. But honestly, so far life has turned out way better than any plans I tried to make. Yes, there have been some really difficult and shitty things that have happened. And there have also been some really beautiful and amazing things that have happened as well. We take them all, and we are willing to be changed by them. We are willing to be molded and grown into better humans because of them. So, while we are different than when we first started dating and different than the day we got married, we are even more in it together. And our openness to being changed by our experiences together is something that keeps us evolving together I think. I mean…do you really want to be the same person you were when you got into your relationship…like forty years from now?! No, you want to be better. So, be open to change.
10. Check in often
We are always checking in with each other. It is as simple as “how are you doing?” or “how are you feeling about xyz today?” I think we both check in with ourselves often, too. It’s good to reflect, assess where you’re at and determine if you’re on track for where you want to be, both individually and together as a unit. This way you can catch things early, work through them and hopefully avoid any snowballing.
11. Show up every damn day
Life gets busy, life gets hard. If you want a relationship that lasts, and you want a relationship worth fighting for, you have to do the work. You have to show up every single day. Whether you’re married or not, I think of it as waking up every day and saying “I do.” I choose to marry Justin every day. I choose our relationship and our dreams together every day. It’s work. And it’s hard work. It’s also the best and most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
And if you find yourself unable to do these types of things with your partner (but you like the sound of them and want to), start small. Try one new thing we’ve talked about in this post. Maybe even start by sharing this post with your partner. And lastly, if you’ve shared, tried and it still seems like you can’t get your partner on board…well, it might be time to reconsider your relationship. Really great relationships take a lot of work, let’s just be real. And you have to be with the right person to want to work so hard on the regular. Find your person…and then do the work.
Some other posts you might enjoy
- How to Make New Friends as an Adult
- Morning Routines: Daily Habits that Support Happiness and Productivity
- How To Create Positive Affirmations For Success
- Live With Intention: A Guide to Intentional Living
- How to Practice Gratitude and Change Your Life
Now, take these tips for how to make a relationship last and do the work!
Leave a comment below, and let us know if these tips are helpful! We’d love to hear about your experiences with your relationships or any tips you have. Also, if you love this post make sure you share it – you can share about it on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Tag us @realsimplegood on Instagram and use #TheRSGLife. Make sure to give us a follow as well if you don’t already – let’s stay connected!
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