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Are you in a relationship? What stage is your relationship in? What do you envision for your relationship? No matter how long, what kind, or what stage your relationship is everyone is looking for the same thing. You thought I was gonna say “LOVE” well not exactly yes love is definitely important. However, what I have learned from my relationship is it’s about the connection. I was recently asked, “What makes a relationship last?”

I have been with my husband since high school and we are still going strong after 20 years. It confuses people to hear that we have been together since high school. Because these days those high school sweet hear love stories rare. It got me thinking about how we make our relationship last. I came up with many reasons, but the most important one is the connection never fizzled out.

Couple sitting outside at a cafe having breakfast together

Connecting in a relationship

How do you connect in a relationship? See anyone can love someone, but they can also hate them at the same time. That is why having a good connection is so important. A connection is a want, not a need. Being with that person brings you joy. They make you laugh when you want to cry. It’s that waiting by the phone hoping they call. That phone call or text just makes you smile. I know what you are thinking, everyone in a new relationship has a connection. Yes, it is easier to have a connection in the beginning because everything is new and exciting. I call this the “Butterfly Phase” It’s where both people are on their best behavior.

So… What about after you come out of the “Butterfly phase”?

This is where things can get really good or really bad. The choice is yours. Here is how you keep that connection going for years and years. You have to realize every relationship is a 2-way street. If you want them to be interested in your goals, dreams and interests you have to do the same. So many people complain that their significant other doesn’t listen to them and they are right they aren’t listening. They might hear you, but I find most people are so busy thinking about what they are going to say in response they are not listening.

I have done the same thing. After working on it I am able to listen to what they are saying and thoughtfully respond. There is a lot of advice about how to have the perfect relationship and all kinds of tricks to having a good relationship, but I am more concerned about having a healthy loving one.

I am coming from my own experience from my own relationship which has not been perfect not even close. What gives me the confidence to even talk about what makes a relationship last is simple. I know that without the struggles and challenges we would not be as strong and as connected as we are today. There are many things that make a relationship last. Here are the things that gave me and my husband a solid foundation that helped us weather many storms.  

Communication is key

Communication is truly key to any relationship. If your first thought is “I’m not good at communicating” again I am going to say that’s a choice. If you have difficulty communicating and voicing your opinion it’s never going to work. I have learned this the hard way and so has my husband. Now I chalk it up to being young, dumb, and stubborn. If you are feeling insecure and unsure of your relationship and don’t say anything it will wind up reflecting in your actions. The worst kinds of arguments start from your silence.

If you are worried that they are going to get upset and angry then make sure you think before you speak. I have learned that if you approach it in a non-confrontational way, they can’t get defensive. The moment you go off and go into attack mode they will instantly go on the defensive. Trust me when I tell you that never works out well.  Take a deep breath and stay calm. If you can’t talk calmly and want to rip their head off walk away and wait until you are ready to talk calmly and rationally.

This is not to say that communicating revolves around confrontation because it doesn’t. If you don’t tell them how you feel they don’t know. That goes for both good or bad. I know that for parents with kids communicating can get lost in the sauce and definitely can take some effort at times. When you have been with someone for so long it can be easy to talk about your day at work, the kids, the house, but don’t forget to talk about your relationship.  Telling the other one what they mean to you and thanking them for all the little things makes a huge difference.

Accepting them for who they are

Being accepting of your partner means taking the good and the bad. You love it when they buy you gifts for no reason, but you hate that they are not as affectionate as you are. That is when you have to learn to take the good with the bad. Accepting your partner for who they are. This took me so many years to figure out. The only way I can explain this is based on my own experience. My husband is not good at showing affection or expressing his feeling in words. I used to get upset about him not showering me with a ton of hugs and kisses it would shatter me. Then one day I finally spoke up and what he said helped me to understand.

He shows affection by cooking dinner, cleaning the house, and making me laugh when I am in a bad mood. One day he said something so profound to me that it was a game-changer in our relationship. He said that it wasn’t the big grand gestures because those only last for a few hours maybe a day, but it was all the little things that make a difference. He accepts me for who I am and I accept him for who he is. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make each other better it means that by accepting each other our relationship can grow deeper because we are not trying to fix each other.

A relationship saying: You Don't Need Someone To  Complete You. You Only Need Someone  To Accept You Completely

They are more than just your lover they are your best friend

I might just be saying this because I wound up marrying my best friend. However, when you are in a relationship that person should be your best friend because when sh*t gets rough that’s who you’re going to want by your side. If you can’t turn to your partner in your darkest hour then you need to ask yourself is this the right person for me. I believe that the person you are meant to be with is someone you can share your life with no matter what the circumstances.

Are you willing to step up for them and are they willing to step up for you? Being able to confide and have them know what you need when you don’t is what a best friend is. When you are struggling and they see that they are there to listen, understand and guide you back to where you need to be. A best friend doesn’t ignore and let you suffer in silence they are there no matter what. Like I say all the time for the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

A best friend is the one who lets you cry when you need to and also the one to makes you smile after a long day. It’s the person that after hours of putting together a Kids Kraft Kitchen you realized you missed a step and have to go 12 steps back to fix it and just laugh with each other. All the parents out there know what I am talking about and if you don’t I do not recommend trying to put together a Kid’s Kraft Kitchen set without a power drill. They celebrate your successes and pick you up when you are down. That is what a best friend is and that is what your partner should be.

Is it really 50/50?

Many people say a relationship should be 50/50, but I do not agree with this. Yes at times it is 50/50, but that is not what it will always be. That number will fluctuate based on the situations that will occur in every relationship. There may be times when the relationship is 80/20, 60/40, 70/30, etc… This is because again sh*t happens it’s called life. Are you ready to carry some extra weight in the relationship when life smacks your partner down?

If you think that you are going to have a smooth sailing relationship with zero bumps. I am here to tell you, you’re delusional.

Life doesn’t take into consideration keeping the balance of your relationship 50/50. That’s not how it works. There are going to be times when you can’t give it your all. You want someone who cares enough to pick up the slack without complaining. When you are both on your “A” game then you both need to show up 100% of the time, but this isn’t a fairy tale where you live happily ever after without putting in the work. Relationships take work at least the ones that last do.

Intimacy

Intimacy is a big part of having a lasting connection. Without it, no relationship can survive. Now intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. It’s those moments when you are doing something and they hug you from behind or touch the small of your back. Those moments make you weak in the knees and send shivers down your spine. When it comes to the bedroom, the kitchen the shower whatever floats your boat no judgment here having an active and healthy sex life is something that connects you on a whole different level. Figure out ways to keep each other coming back for more. Just a bit of advice…They might not tell you what they want, but if you pay attention their body speaks volumes.

Couple sitting on cement steps outside.

Balancing each other out

Balancing each other out is a necessity that I quite frankly depend on in my relationship. My husband is reserved, cautious and calm in the eye of storms most of the time. I am impulsive, hot-headed, and have no filter. Many times, we have had to balance each other out so when I go high, he goes low and vice versa. A great example of this is when he flew off the handle over something and I immediately stayed calm. Listened to what he was saying and then talked it out. There are going to be times in your relationship where you are going to have to adjust your personality to be more like your partners because both of you flying off the handle will solve nothing. It is a delicate balance that takes practice and knowing your partner’s personality.

Final Thoughts

These are the things that have made my relationship last. There are going to be times when you have to ask yourself the hard question “Do I want to make this last?” Only you can answer that. In saying that I want to leave you with one final thought. Know your worth not every relationship is meant to be. I count my blessings knowing my husband is my forever. If you are in a toxic relationship leave it. Know that you deserve more and find someone who will give you more. Every relationship is like a partnership and if that person isn’t looking to build you up and make you grow for the better than they are not for you.

Want to know more about me check out My Journey.

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