The butterflies, flirty exchanges and romantic dates are an exciting and wonderful part of the dating process; but how do we know if our love can stand the test of time? Lifelong commitments take hard work and are bound to have their challenges, so choosing the right person in the first place is paramount.
Here are 4 tips to set the foundation for a happy and lasting relationship:
1. Common values and goals are important to relationship longevity
When my husband and I were writing our wedding vows, I came across a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that has really stuck with me: “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction”. While passion and romance are important components of a relationship, our core values and how we envision our future are imperative for relationship longevity.
Far too often, I come across couples who have not had open conversations about their values and goals. Sometimes people get wrapped up in the romance or may fear rejection if they are honest about what they really want. Others might be aware of potential differences but turn a blind eye or assume that things will get better once they’re married. There is no doubt that these conversations can be difficult but they shouldn’t be avoided.
2. Set aside time for frequent open dialogue
To help facilitate open dialogue, I recommend setting aside some time (without distractions) where you and your partner can explore what’s important to each of you. You may already have some questions in mind, such as “do you want to have kids?” or “where do you want to live?” but if you are not sure what to talk about, or feel uncomfortable bringing up certain topics, I recommend using a questions guide.
3. Practice patient listening
As you and your partner discuss your responses, remember to practice patient listening and respect for one another’s opinions, even if they differ. You are not going to see eye to eye on everything and relationships must find a compromise, however, each of you might have certain deal breakers that are important to figure out before you walk down the aisle.
Going through the questions can also be a fun exercise in getting to know one another even better, building intimacy, and looking forward to your future together.
4. Expect the unexpected
None of this is foolproof, of course. People change and life throws us unexpected curve balls; but if we start with a solid foundation of shared goals and understanding, we have a much better chance of growing together and walking hand in hand in the same direction.