We live in a world where divorce can quite easily be seen as the norm rather than the exception. According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50% of married couples in the United States divorce, a number that is truly astonishing considering how many of us still long to one day "tie the knot" with a significant other.
Why is it that so many of us continue to say "I do", or hope to one day soon, despite the odds of those vows holding true being about as likely as successfully calling heads or tails in a coin flip?
I personally believe that a key driving factor is the romantic gesture that marriage offers. It's one thing to first muster up the courage to ask someone out, it's another to say "I love you" for the first time, but it's a whole other level to profess your desire to spend the rest of your life with that person -or at least we are led to believe that to be the case.
While I'm yet to marry myself, I am certainly a part of the global population that one day hopes to. But the last thing I want to do, is to be another contributor to divorce's impressive stat line. So in order to hopefully minimize my chances at that being the case, I recently decided to do some informal research.
I decided to ask a number of couples that I personally have observed and identified as admirable. It didn't matter whether they were married for twenty years, or were yet to do so, I was curious to see what they felt was critical to the success of their partnership. Some I asked directly, while others I would get the answers I was looking for through casual conversation.
Here is what I found to be 3 of the most important factors in a truly happy and long-lasting relationship:
1. They Give Each Other Space
While you and your partner are bound to have a number of common interests, chances are you aren't a carbon copy of one another -and that's probably a good thing. That being the case, there are always going to be a number of things that your spouse enjoys doing that you do not, and vice versa.
And one of the frequently stated keys to a long-lasting relationship is the ability to give one another the time and space to do those things without guilt or jealousy attached. If your partner is passionate about knitting and you're not, don't take their desire to regularly knit without you personally. Support them in making regular time for that activity and celebrate their accomplishments within it.
2. They Make Regular Time For The Things They Both Love
On the other side of spectrum, the second key factor to come about is the importance in making regular time for the interests that you do share. So perhaps you don't share your partner's passion for knitting, but you do both have a great love for gardening. Make a point of engaging in that passion together regularly!
Chances are that that commonality played a role in you determining them as "relationship-material", so why not celebrate that by making it a regular part of your time together. Think of how much joy doing what you are passionate about feels to you, doesn't adding one of your favorite people in the world (who also just so happens to love doing it as well) sound like a great thing to do?
3. It Ends With A Kiss
While this was actually only being done by one of the couples I gathered information from, it cracked this list because it's an extension to what most of the others would make a point of saying. We've all heard the phrase "never go to bed angry", and that's what most I spoke with shared, but one particular couple took it one step further by sharing that they make a point of ending every night with a romantic kiss.
The hopeless romantic in me melted a bit when I heard this, but their logic behind it really resonated with me as true. To them it ensures that they not only always go to bed at peace with one another, but that they also remind each other of the connection they share and choose to celebrate even when times are tough.