I always take notice when I am out and I see an old couple walking together holding hands, smiling and seeming to actually like each other. How on earth do they do that? Is it possible to have a happy relationship that lasts the test of time? Is it possible these days or is it a thing of the past when divorce was frowned upon and you put up with an unsatisfying relationship?
I find it fascinating watching these couples interact and could probably be accused of staring rudely when I come across it because it seems so rare these days. Great couples seem to have their own private language going on with small gestures and looks that only they know. Working with couples to help mend relationships, I see so much potential and so much love and yet the statistics show that this does not often convert to long term success.
So, what are the secrets to a happy marriage and a successful relationship long term? I asked a few couples that have a happy marriage lasting between 18 and 50 years, who still really love and like each other (really!!). It turns out that it is a pretty simple formula as to what makes a good relationship.
There were 4 things that came up repeatedly.
If you have read some of my other articles you are probably getting tired of hearing this, but successful couples say this is an integral part of avoiding problems in the relationship. The reality is that none of us are taught how to communicate effectively and so we go with what we know.
Resolving problems in a relationship over many years is going to take really good communication. So unless you are one of the few lucky ones that do it naturally, it is important to take the time to learn how to communicate effectively.
Not sure if you do communicate well? Have a look at your current relationship or past ones and assess them. Were there any issues that were outstanding or came up repeatedly? Did you ever yell and scream? Did you call each other names? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then chances are you could benefit from learning some effective communication. [Read more…]