We all want to have a successful relationship. Things to consider throughout the process are...
1. Do You Trust Your Partner?
Trust is the most important predictor of long-term relationship success. Without trust, its hard to tackle the other aspects of the guide. Ask yourself the following questions: Is your partner reliable and dependable? Can you count on your partner as the “rock” in your life? What about you for your partner?
2. Are You and Your Partner Compatible in the Dimensions of Intimacy?
The four dimensions of intimacy are: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Shared Activities. Here’s a quick exercise to check you and your partner's compatibility in intimacy. List the four dimensions as follows:
Partner A Partner B
Next to each dimension, rank whether this is a “Must” have, “Should” have, or “Could” have for you in your romantic relationship.
After answering for yourself, next ask your partner to rank, or on your own put down how you think your partner would prioritize. The more “must-must” and “must-should” combinations between you and your partner, the greater the possibility of an intimate relationship. Since Relationships are not static, a couple may evolve in the dimensions of intimacy. Understanding one another’s priorities, and connecting in ways that are important to both partners help ensure long-term relational success.
3. Does Your Partner’s Communication Lift You Up or Bring You Down?
Ask yourself the following: Does your partner’s communication lift you up, or bring you down? Is your partner’s communication with you “soft on the person, firm on the issue,” or the other way around? What about your communication with your partner?
If your relationship suffers from ineffective communication, the good news is that as long as you and your partner are willing, improvements can be learned quickly and put to use immediately.
4. How do You and Your Partner Deal with Conflict, External Adversity and Crisis Together in the Relationship?
One of the traits of highly successful and enduring relationships is the partners’ ability to stand together in the face of external challenges. A true test of a relationship is whether two people have each others’ back when times are tough.
Couples with poor conflict resolution skills typically engage in Fight, Flight, or Freeze behaviors. They fight and stay mad, sometimes holding grudges for years. They flight and avoid important issues by sweeping them under the rug. Or, after endless arguments with no resolution in sight, they freeze emotionally and shut down. Someone who freezes in a relationship typically goes through the motions on the outside, but has stopped caring on the inside.
Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time. Once the matter is resolved, they forgive and forget. Most importantly, successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties. Like fine wine, their relationship improves with age and gets better over time.
5. Do You Have Compatible Financial Values?
Differences in financial values often appear early in a relationship. For example, who pays for the first date? What about the second date? And the third? Is your partner happy when you give a thoughtful but non-monetary birthday gift, or will he or she feel disappointed because you didn't purchase something? Additional questions to consider include: Is your partner generally happy with what he or she owns, or is there a constant, insatiable desire to always acquire more? Are you and your partner able to solve financial difficulties and differences as a team?
Formulating with your partner a viable financial plan, paying attention to patterns of financial discontent, initiating conversations early to resolve differences, and seeking financial or couples counseling when needed are some of the keys to maintaining financial peace.
In closing, whether you’re single, dating, or in a committed relationship, this guide to long-term relationship success may serve as a “check-up” of your relational health and well-being. With self-honesty, openness, and a desire to grow, you can significantly increase the possibility of not only having a wonderful partner in life, but making the love last. To grow old with your life mate, knowing that in each other’s warm embrace you have found Home.
Tips formulated from: Preston Ni