“It’s easier to fall in love than to stay in love” – we couldn’t agree more.
Whether we admit it or not, we dwell in deeply romantic culture with big, and often unrealistic expectations of how love should be. When things get rough, people immediately give up, abandon and find comfort in new ones, instead of fixing what’s broken. That’s why we admire rare couples who, through the years, have kept their love for each other alive.
It’s not that they have a perfect connection since no relationship is flawless – every couple has issues and bad times. Every couple gets tired and bored of each other at some point. Every couple discovers each other true colors, including the quirks, gross habits, and shortcomings.
It’s just that some couples are wise and emotionally capable enough to build a solid foundation, deal with these obstacles, try to work things out, and focus on the things that truly matters, making their relationship stand the test of time and hardships.
Here are 6 of the biggest obstacles couples in long-term relationships face, and what strong couples do to deal with them and create a love that lasts a lifetime.
Sex connects people and brings people closer together. It releases hormones that help the bodies physically and mentally. It also keeps the chemistry of a healthy couple healthy. However, it’s inevitable for the “fireworks of hormones” to fade in the latter part of your relationship.
You’ll slip into a sexual routine that seems predictable and not exciting. And when the demands of work interfere, you may find that you have no time for sex.
Only couples with a strong and healthy relationship overcome this obstacle. They solve it using the following strategies:
• They plan and set an appointment, preferably when both aren’t that exhausted. Perhaps during the kids’ afternoon nap or a “before-work quickie.” When sex is put on the calendar, it increases the anticipation.
• They change it up. Make love not only in the bedroom. Do it in the kitchen. Or by the fireplace. Have you tried standing up in the hallway? You may also use other enticing materials, like a new nightgown or lingerie.
• They go out. Schedule an occasional “honeymoon” for you and your spouse. It doesn’t have to be really far and expensive – just somewhere distant enough to escape from responsibilities and do nothing but cuddle and satisfy each other.
You might initially find it adorable that your partner farts in the middle of a meal, but when it’s his hundredth time of doing it, you’ll probably not find it cute and funny anymore.
We’re not only talking about gross mannerisms or annoying habits. Even the things you love about your partner at the beginning of your relationship may cause infuriation and arguments after a couple of years. For example, you were attracted by his adventurous nature and enthusiasm, but now you may find him irrational and impulsive sometimes.
Every couple gets to see the unpleasant side of attraction – and it’s completely normal, as long-term relationships allow you to discover the pretty and ugly parts of each other. You can use these differences to break out of your comfort zone to dig deeper and understand each other’s point of view.
Money problems can range from having different spending behavior to hiding existing debts. Couples who are in a relationship, particularly later on when they’ve gotten married or moved in, see money as a pain point. Financial disagreements are common, and they’re the number one reason for filing divorce.
Healthy couples talk about money, but they avoid fighting about it. They may have different “money personalities” but they create a plan, go over their finances regularly, disclose any income or debts to each other, and make sure they’re on the same page. They also have common short-term and long-term goals.
Just because there’s a lack of time doesn’t mean there’s a lack of spark. Another challenge strong couples can overcome is the physical and emotional distance brought by the lack of time and busy schedules.
They know the value of good communication. Even when they’re away, healthy couples make sure they never let the day pass without greeting, complimenting, and expressing affection to each other via call or text messaging.
They plan date nights too. They schedule quality time together on their busy calendars just as they would for other important events. And when they meet up, they make sure to communicate, remove distractions, and savor every moment.
Occasional conflicts are inevitable – it can even help build a healthier relationship. But If you’re continuously fighting over the same lousy reasons day after day, it becomes a toxic routine. Maybe you need to look into how you communicate during and after the argument.
Strong couples know that whenever there are conflicts, it’s not them against each other; it’s them against the underlying problem. They have learned to argue in a more civil, helpful manner, and they keep their statements geared toward resolving the conflict and finding comfort. They know when to talk and when to listen. They use humor too, and they know how to let some things go. Lastly, they can apologize and forgive.
Couples without a solid foundation may find the “boredom” in the long-term relationship as a bad sign. They often slip into predictable routines and often get tired of seeing each other’s faces. Partners tend to seek “excitement” and “comfort” in other places, which often leads to infidelity.
The truth is, every relationship gets boring at some point. Strong couples who truly love each other know that the excitement of the early “in love” phase will fade to a degree. However, they work to find happiness in the everyday things of life – they have sex, use humor, explore different places, give each other time with their friends, talk about anything else, and change their routine to work it out.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships