We’re always hearing about the high divorce rate, but what about the couples who marry and stay together – happily - forever? What do they know that the rest of us don’t?
Relate’s Barbara Bloomfield says, “The top factors that make a good relationship are trust, communication, commitment, shared values and personality.”
That older couple still holding hands as they walk down the street? Chances are they built their relationship on these…
“Trust is the cornerstone of a relationship and it’s a process measured by actions, not words,” Relate’s Barbara Bloomfield says.
“Every time your partner carries out their promises, even if it’s just fixing the bathroom door like they said they would, they’re building faith in your future together.”
“The ‘good news sandwich’ is an amazing way to talk,’” she says. “Tell your partner how much you appreciate something they’ve done, then say what’s upsetting you, and finish with another positive.
“Your partner will be more motivated to listen and to act on your comments if they don’t feel attacked.”
“Planning your future and what you want your marriage to look like in five or 10 years’ time is crucial,” says Bloomfield.
“You need to understand each other’s relationship deal-breakers and why they’re so important, whether it’s weekly visits to your parents or being able to holiday alone sometimes.
“And you may need to compromise a little so you meet somewhere in the middle,” she adds.
4. Shared values
“Setting goals, like going on a gap year or moving house, can give you something to look forward to so you develop your relationship together,” explains Bloomfield. What doesn’t matter is if you partner has different political views or you can’t agree what to watch on TV.
“It’s more about having a joint belief about what your relationship should be,” she says.
“It’s easy to get into the habit of being negative so remember the quirky, individual personality you fell in love with. And try hard to be thoughtful and kind,” says Bloomfield.
“Fun and spontaneity can be lost in the routine of everyday life so sometimes you have to push yourself and your partner to try new things. Every time you have a lovely experience, you’re paying into the bank of your relationship and reinforcing why you got together.”
Words: Andréa Childs