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How to build a lasting and loving relationship (Part 1) by Gill Wier

Posted 05 Dec '12 by Gill Wier

 

Photo by Roberto Burgos S
Photo by Roberto Burgos S

In the movies relationships begin with love at first sight and proceed naturally on to great sex and happily ever after.  There is a myth we are told that relationships “just happen”, that if you love each other everything else will work out. 

In reality relationships are hard work!  After the initial “honeymoon period” of falling in love, if we want to stay together for the long term we need to be deliberate in working at the relationship.  There are many practical decisions to make about our lives together, different preferences to accommodate and conflicts to resolve.  We aren’t born knowing how to form lasting and loving relationships!  There are skills we can learn to improve the way we relate to each other.

Here are 5 tips on how to build a lasting and loving relationship with your partner:

1.     Learn to communicate well – both talking and listening are essential skills to develop.  Share your inner thoughts and feelings with your partner and be ready to listen to theirs with respect and kindness.

2.     Spend time together and apart – quality one-to-one time together is essential to keeping your friendship with your partner alive.  Plan in time each week to spend together, just the two of you.  Too much time together can equally be unhelpful for the relationship – give each other space and permission to spend time alone or with friends.

3.     Nurture each other – seek to meet each others’ emotional needs for support, encouragement, comfort etc.  It’s easy to focus on our own needs and feel aggrieved when we don’t get what we want from our partner.  If we are proactive in showing love to our partner they are more likely to feel loving towards us in return.  People give and receive love in different ways – learn your partner’s “love language”  - ask your partner what helps them feel truly loved.

4.     Value sexual intimacy – sex is a profound way of communicating our love and deepens the bond between us, not only physically but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.  Sex is not the icing on the cake in a relationship, it’s one of the key ingredients in the cake that makes it all hold together!  All couples go through different seasons in their sexual lives.  40% of women and 30% of men will experience a sexual problem at some time in their lives.  Many problems can be resolved by talking openly with your partner but if you continue to struggle, seek help from your GP or a counsellor.

5.     Affair-proof your relationship – most couples set out with the intention of staying faithful to each other but no one is exempt from finding someone else attractive.  Talk together early on in the relationship about what you will do if this happens.  Agree boundaries and be accountable to each other about how you relate to other men/women.

These are just a few of the building blocks of a healthy relationship.  I will share 5 more tips in my next blog post so watch this space!