Ah, the sweet smell of love. Why can it fade?
When singles dream about being in love and in a relationship, they seldom dream of getting together with a partner for a few months or years, only to break up and go on to find another partner. They’re looking for that one person that’ll last their lifetime.
And, for those of us in relationships — even in relationships that may be experiencing turbulence — hope we can be in our relationship for a lifetime as well. We hope we can find a way to work out our difficulties and make our love last.
There is a way to have love and passion that lasts a lifetime, but the road there is not easy and requires courage and perseverance. Actually, the road to a lifetime of love requires many things and many ways of being that are extraordinary. Here are some things you must do to create a lasting love:
1. Reframe How You Look at Relationships
Most of us think a relationship is OK when it’s working and we’re happy. Once the relationship encounters difficulties, however, we think it may be a mistake. The truth is that having tough times is normal. In fact, when you begin to encounter those rough patches, you know your relationship is reaching a deeper level.
2. Learn to Speak Up
We’re not trained to speak up when our feelings are hurt, when we’re angry or when we don’t like what’s going on. Rather, we are trained to look the other way, to suppress our feelings, to let the situation blow over. But if we don’t speak up when our feelings arise, they’ll fester in our minds and hearts and cause resentments, which in turn will cause us to distance and shut out our partner. There’s no way around this — you must deal with your feelings, no matter how subtle, or they’ll eat away at your relationship.
3. Learn to Be Your Own Person
Many people surrender who they are when they enter a relationship. They may surrender all or parts of their hobbies, friends, wants, needs, thoughts, likes and dislikes. The idea is that the more like their partner they become, the more harmony there will be in the relationship — which will make love last.
In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Either you maintain and enhance who you are, or the relationship will get stale, boring and angry.
4. Learn to Grow and Develop Willingly and Eagerly
A relationship must be a dynamic entity in order to stay viable. This means the two partners need to grow and develop, growing their capacity to deal with more emotions, to deal with deeper conversations, to look inside themselves more effectively. This is the one key behavior that you absolutely need to keep your relationship alive and happy.
5. Learn How to Create Good Feelings
We often think that good feelings in the relationship will arise naturally if the relationship is working. This is true some of the time. At other times, the way to deal with relationship difficulties is to bring generosity, love, compassion, trust and understanding to bear on what’s happening between the two of you. This is not the same as swallowing your feelings or pretending they’re not there. Rather, the process is one of identifying your feelings, then rising up above them to also feel for your partner. This creates connection instead of distance and keeps the relationship growing rather than falling apart.
6. Learn How to Maintain and Deepen Passion
Passion is both a reflection of how well the relationship is doing and the glue that keeps the two people together. Without passion, a relationship is guaranteed to disintegrate.
How do you deepen passion? Keeping things lively and interesting through innovation is certainly one way. Romance is another. Generosity toward your partner in all aspects of life is yet another, as is revealing — not hiding — what’s inside of you — both in and out of the bedroom.
7. Learn to Take Care of Your Own Needs
There will be times in any relationship when your partner will either be unwilling or unable to take care of your emotional and/or physical needs. During these times, your choices will be to:
- Suffer over it and make your partner suffer over it later
- Get your needs met in a way that causes damage to your relationship, such as having an affair
- Find a way to temporarily take care of your wants or needs
- Ask others to help with your needs in a healthy way
I’m sure you can tell which of the choices above will promotethe health and well-being of your relationship, and which choices will help it disintegrate.
8. Learn to Deal With Emotional Pain and Discomfort
Emotional pain and discomfort is par for the course in a relationship. To identify whether the pain is good and productive, simply ask yourself whether it’s a part of your growth. For example, the pain felt from having to confront a part of yourself you don’t like is good. Pain from being beaten up by your partner is bad. The first must be embraced and experienced. The second must be handled and the situation remedied immediately.
9. Learn to Share What’s Inside of You
Many of us hide what’s inside of us for fear of becoming vulnerable. But this is exactly the way to make love last — to become increasingly vulnerable with our partners, increasingly seen by our partners. Isn’t that what you really want — to be truly seen and still loved? This isn’t possible unless you reveal yourself. Even if you are not completely embraced and loved for what you reveal, it’s better to keep delving deeply into yourself and to be known as much as possible. Depth guarantees connection and longevity of the relationship.
10. Learn to Be Courageous
It takes courage to speak your mind. It takes courage to keep revealing yourself. It takes courage to take risks and explore new parts of yourself, not knowing how your partner will react. It takes courage to keep looking inside and growing. It takes courage to do every single thing listed above. These maybe the most courageous acts you will be asked to take in your lifetime. Yet each one is necessary if you are to have the love you desire.
Master Certified Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries coaches singles to attract and build loving, fulfilling, long-term relationships.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.