In a world where divorce rates are sky rocketing to an all time high it can perhaps be timely to try to rediscover the secrets to what makes love last. But as the divorce epidemic sweeps through society is there a way to make love last? Why are so many marriages ending in divorce? Why are people falling out of love?
As I approach my 10th year of marriage these questions do echo in my mind. We are happily married with two wonderful children, we still have fun together and he is my best friend. But I have had friends divorce after 10-15 years of marriage so I am always mindful of the reality that marriages do take work to last.
A big realisation for me has been that we are all in such need of love. “I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real unconditional love”(Elizabeth Kubler-Ross). We search for love, we yearn to be loved and to feel loved as soon as we come into the world. Sometimes we don’t even realise—we are not even aware of how great our need to feel loved is. And how impossible it might be for someone to completely fill that need, given they are more often than not needing that same thing. To give and receive unconditional love is ideal, but sometimes we can’t always get there.
When the shine wears off the ‘honeymoon period’ I’ve found that you can read all the books in the world of how to ‘keep love alive’ or ‘rekindle the spark’ but it’s these simple often over-looked fundamentals that my grandmother recently reminded me of that have stayed with me that I wanted to share. It’s their simplicity that I think is the secret.
When I look at past relationships that I had before my marriage I know that one or many of these things weren’t there, which is why I think they are key to a successful relationship and a lasting love. They have proved again and again to be the secret to keeping our love strong, as they did for my Grandmother’s long and happy marriage. I admire her generation and their ways in love and think we can go and learn a lot from them.
In this busy crazy world, with so much advice flying around, therapy and how confusing and hurtful love and relationships can be, it’s nice to come back to the basics again—ideals we all can identify with and relate to being those generally accepted basic key principles to a loving relationship.
As someone famous once said ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ and it seems like a pretty good place to start.
Ultimately I guess when it comes down to it my husband is my best friend, I believe in him and in us. I keep it simple, because it is that simple. I love him. I don’t let the insignificant things get in the way. It’s not always rosy but the richness of our life together overwhelms those times. I nurture it and a lasting and complete love rewards us.
After the initial attraction, fireworks and chemistry which can be rekindled at any moment if you are with the right person here are 5 ‘secrets’ to nurturing your love and relationship.
Mutual respect between you partner and yourself seems a crucial aspect to a lasting love. Respect for who they are, for what they strive for and for their goals and passions. After many failed relationships I knew I wanted to be able to look up to and respect my partner. Showing and been given respect as a person is a wonderful thing to have and for love to last it is an essential key ingredient. Without respect for each other what basis can there be?
It’s such a simple thing, but kindness is so important, in life and in love. Often an argument my partner and I have can be disarmed by kindness, usually the one of us who is feeling the most generous at the time. (Usually my partner!). In a long-term relationship we often feel comfortable taking our frustrations out on the one closest to us but I have noticed how kindness can soften everything. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness, a little kindness goes a long way.
Letting each other know you are appreciated can help the relationship thrive. Love and appreciation are words that go hand in hand. To know how important this is think of how you feel when you are appreciated.
It goes without saying that trust is pivotal and seems to be the foundation of a lasting love. To trust another with your whole being puts you in a vulnerable position, as this quote illustrates, “We’re never so vulnerable that when we trust someone- but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy” (Walter Anderson) but with trust your love can be strong and fearless.
Above all, have fun with each other, make each other smile, play. You fell in love, and said you want to share your life with that person-your best friend. You know what makes that person laugh. Make them laugh, have fun. Enjoy each other. A meaningful relationship is what everyone deep down wants. Cherish what you have and make it fun. If you have fun together your love will last. Seeing us both having fun together is sometimes what I feel makes our children the most happy, relaxed and content.
So there they are! Pretty simple but ring true when I think of what it is that makes love last.
Image Credit: 1.