It seems challenging for marriages or relationships to last “’til death do us part.” However, how do some couples stay together for decades, still hold hands, and act as giddy in love as a day one? A positive relationship doesn’t just happen, as it takes a great deal of work.

Beverly B. Palmer, Ph.D., is a psychologist who studies marriage. She advises other couples to put one another first, and since she’s been in a marriage for fifty years, she knows what she’s talking about. She states there is great importance in elevating your spouse above yourself.

Your partner must know you’re thinking of them. In her years of private practice, she’s met many couples in turmoil. Nonetheless, she stated that it’s always easy to see the ones who will work through it through their love and dedication to one another. So, what do these folks have that other people don’t?

Habits That Will Create a Positive Relationship

If you were to panel folks that have been together for many years, each would give you a different recipe for how they made it work. Consequently, here are some tried and true methods that will help you foster a positive relationship for life.

positive relationship
1. Honesty

Don’t lie to your partner, ever! Even when the truth is too hard to speak, don’t risk your relationship with a lie. If your partner finds out about your untruth, and they will, it will cause them to distrust you.

No matter how bad the scenario, if your partner truly loves you, you will find a way to resolve the issue. Lying is just compounding the problem, as no one wants to be married to someone dishonest.

2. Trust

Do you trust your partner with your life? You must believe in them above all else and have confidence in this person. You must have faith in them to tell you the truth and have your back whatever comes your way.

Trust is one of those foundational blocks of a relationship that can be devastating if missing.

3. Respect

Respect means different things to different people. However, it’s a general admiration for one another. You wouldn’t take the last piece of cake because your partner may want it. It’s about putting them above you and valuing them as human beings.

4. Unplugging From Social Media

When did you turn off all electronics and social media and just spend alone time with your partner? It doesn’t have to be romantic, just talking to them without the interruptions of email and television is a refreshing break. Make a habit of turning off all distractions and having alone time.

5. Take Care of One Another’s Needs

A relationship has emotional and physical needs, and you must care for both for your partner. If your partner is upset, you must hold and comfort them. Also, physical needs are just as much a part of living as breathing, so you must take care of these too.

If you ensure you meet your partner’s needs, they won’t have any reason to look elsewhere to be fulfilled.

6. Show Admiration and Appreciation

Do you thank your partner for making your coffee before work, or tell them how delicious dinner was tonight? Admire your partner when they do something good, and never let a day go by when you don’t tell them how much you appreciate them.

How will they know if you never tell them how much they mean to you? The last thing you want is someone else giving them the admiration they long to have for you.

7. Be Eager to Forgive

There will be many disagreements, arguments, and misunderstandings as you grow old together. However, be just as easy to forgive as you are to get angry. When you’re stubborn, moody, and only consider yourself, then you’re not doing anything to foster a positive relationship for the future.

positive relationship
8. Spend Time Together

Make time for one another. No matter how many hours you must work or how demanding your schedule is, you must fit each other into the day. There’s no reason why you should stop dating just because you’ve been together for ten years.

In fact, one of the ways to keep things new and fresh is to have dates and new adventures with one another. Sorry, going to the grocery store or laundromat together doesn’t count as a “date,” even if you get out of the house without the kids.

9. Spend Time Apart

Just as it’s essential to spend time together, it’s also necessary that you spend time apart. As the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If you never get a break from one another, you’re just setting up reasons to be grumpy and nit-pick.

According to Rob Pascale and Lou Primavera, Ph.D., a healthy balance between time together and time apart is essential. Spending too much time together can suffocate, but too much time apart can cause doubts to slip in. So, it’s all about finding the right balance to keep things flowing.

10. Show Affection

There’s nothing sweeter than an elderly couple holding hands on a park bench. It’s a sign to those around them that they’ve stood the test of time and still love one another. The gentle peck on the cheek he gives to her, or the smile when he looks into her eyes shows that they’ve weathered life’s storms and did it together.

Ensure you show affection to your partner, even when you don’t like it. Affection can be a warm embrace, a kiss, or romance. However, this is an integral part of a relationship that shouldn’t be left out.

11. Dream and Set Goals Together

Remember the nights you would sit dreaming together about a life with one another? It’s something that a newly dating couple in love does. However, there’s nothing that says that you should ever stop dreaming.

Without a vision for the future, you will become stagnate. Sit down and have sessions where you dream and set goals, which will help solidify your future relationship.

12. Don’t Go To Bed Angry

You’ve probably heard often that you should never go to bed angry. Well, there’s sound reasoning behind that adage. First, you’re not promised tomorrow and don’t want to leave this world with unfinished business. Second, the longer you let a situation drag on, the more powerful it becomes.

Did you know that most arguments start over the silliest of things? Some couples haven’t spoken in days because one forgot to take out the trash or didn’t do the dishes. Is your relationship worth the pettiness? Get over the issue and move on.

13. Laugh Together

While marriage is about paying bills, working, caring for the children, and running the household, what would it be without laughter? Ask any parent who’s raised a child from birth to adulthood, and they will all tell you the same thing; they wish they worried less about the house and more about having fun with their family.

Kids grow so fast, and people age in the blink of an eye. Don’t let these precious moments to laugh and enjoy one another pass you.

14. Use Spontaneity

Sure, routines are good as they keep you on track. Consequently, your life can’t be all regimented. Make time for spontaneity and fun.

Being a free spirit occasionally is very liberating, and it helps you cope with your stressors. A last-minute getaway may be just what you need to spend time together, ease your stress, and build a positive relationship.

15. Don’t Throw in the Towel

Do you know why so many couples stay together for so long? They never quit, no matter how hard things get. Even if they have every reason to walk away, they stay and try to work things out.

So many people are eager to end a relationship when it hits a rough patch. Thankfully, many folks choose to stay and work on things. When you see a couple that’s been together for a long time, it doesn’t mean their relationship is perfect, but they refused to give up.

positive relationship
Final Thoughts on Creating a Positive Relationship That Lasts a Lifetime

Your relationship is what you make it. If you argue and fight with one another constantly, how can it be anything but harmful? Those people who work on their differences and don’t give up no matter what happens to change the dynamics of their union.

The determined couple will go to counseling, reconnect, and do whatever it takes to foster a positive relationship. Even when the whole world is against them, and they should give up, some folks think their relationship is worth fighting for. Do you have the relationship you want, or is there much work to do?