As we all know, attraction and passion can start a relationship off on the right foot, but it can be the little things - or not so little things - that end up having the most impact on creating long-lasting, stable, and loving relationships in which both parties thrive.
You've seen the Hollywood version of love: fairy tale stories where cute and quirkily endearing people sweep each other off of their feet and then they ride off into the sunset without many of the normal 'growing pains' that accompany real relationships being included in the film. In real life, peaceful, loving relationships are a result of effort, mutual respect, and loads of compromise.
Don't worry, though! It can be quite easy to have a peaceful, loving relationship (most of the time). ;) It's a matter of following a few simple tips and tricks to help to create a positive foundation for your relationship to blossom in.
1) Respect one another - and yourself. Giving respect and appreciation is one of the most basic ways that you can have a happy, calm, and peaceful relationship. Feeling respected and valued is extremely important for most people. Don't belittle your partner, make fun of his hobbies or shortcomings, and try to respect him or her as a unique and inspiring individual.
Also, don't degrade yourself or negatively compare yourself to your partner's friends or exes. You both chose to be with one another, and you should continue to respect and value each other throughout the lifetime of your relationship.
Respecting your partner includes respecting a person's time and effort. Make sure that you aren't overreaching in requests for attention or support, that your relationship isn't one-sided (one person giving all the effort), and also make sure to continue to say thank you when your partner goes out of his or her way to help you.
2) Give without expectations and continue giving throughout the relationship. Give because you want to, not because you are keeping score or because you want something out of it. Don't use generosity as a means of controlling your partner's affections, actions, and behaviors. Happy, positive relationships do best when neither partner feels necessarily obligated to give, but when they both give because they genuinely love to see their partner happy.
Don't underestimate, though, the importance of continuing to give little signs of affection, trinkets, love notes, and flowers. Too many times, these small and simple acts of kindness and love are abandoned once the relationship matures. Continuing little rituals and gifts can help to keep a relationship feeling as exciting in the 7th year as it was on the 7th date!
3) Keep a life of your own and spend time on your own. Happiness in a long-term relationship requires that both partners have a full and rich life together and separately. You should make time to spend with your own friends or doing hobbies that you enjoy that have nothing to do with your partner. Also, give your partner time, space, and trust to do things without you.
While you might want to be attached at the hip early in the relationship, there will come a time when freedom and independence are just as necessary for your sanity and the health of your relationship as the time you spend together.
Honestly, too, the longer you are together, the more you might need a break from time to time from your partner. Go on a girl's night out, take a weekend at the spa, go on a fishing trip with the guys or meet your college buddies for a drink. You'll be happy to come back to your partner with stories of what you did while you were away.
4) Learn to fight fair. Of course, even the happiest and most loving partners will have struggles and all out battles from time to time. The way to make sure that you keep calm and peace in your relationship is to learn to fight fair. Fair fighting maintains respect for both partners and doesn't delve into character assassination, name calling, or bringing up issues that have already been resolved.
In order to have a fair fight with your partner, remember to:
5) Continue to keep your love alive through the years! If you would like to have a peaceful and loving relationship, you should plan to be in it for the long-term. Continue to do little, loving things for your partner, create goals and plans together that you can daydream about, keep taking care of yourself and your partner, no matter how long has passed in the relationship. Make time to connect with your partner. Plan dates, hold hands, touch one another. Don't allow the TV or computer to occupy all of your time and attention. Be there; be an active person in your relationship. Don't let the love flow just because a year or ten has passed. Remember that your relationship is important, and you should treat it like it is.
6) Learn your partner's Love Language™. Many people express their love in a different way than their partner does, which can create tension, conflict, and confusion in relationships. The book, The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman, explains what the different love languages, or ways of expressing love, are, and also includes a quiz to help you figure out what your love language is and also to sort out your partner's love language as well. Once you are able to understand how you and your partner show love, it helps to avoid miscommunication of love, bringing more peace and harmony into your relationship.
Those are only 6 ways to have a peaceful and loving relationship. Of course, things like maintaining mutual respect for one another is essential, but it is often the little things, like making time and watching your tone of voice, that can go a long way in creating a calm environment and allowing your love to flourish throughout the years.
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