In our youth, we tend to associate true love with wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle, but as those who are older and wiser know, the real sign of a successful relationship is how you navigate the days and years that follow. It's no easy feat—40% to 50% of couples who tie the knot file for divorce—so PopSugar turned to experts to find out what it takes to make a relationship stand the test of time.
No, we're not talking about psychologists or marriage therapists. They reached out to married couples with one burning question: What's the secret to making a marriage successful?
Read on for their disarmingly honest, heartfelt advice:
- Take time for yourself to do what you love, what makes you happy and gives you energy—being successful as a couple will only work if each of you is strong and fulfilled as an individual.
- Don't be afraid to compromise. It sounds like a bad word and like you are giving up on your "ideals," but in reality, it's about the push and pull of a relationship. Try rating how much you want something on a scale from 1 to 10 and having your partner do the same. So if eating out is a 5 for you and staying in is a 9 for him, then you should stay in that night.
- Share everything with each other—most importantly, everything you are feeling. There is no way to be on common ground if you don't communicate how you're feeling.
- Marry someone you like killing time with.
- Affection breeds more affection. Touch each other, kiss each other good morning, and have plenty of sex (even when you're old!). It's too easy to get out of the habit, which makes you feel distant. Intimacy and physical affection really help keep you connected.
- Let the little things go and think big picture. Since you're in it for the long haul, are you really going to care who did or didn't run the dishwasher when you look back in 10 years? Remind yourself that your relationship is much, much bigger than any one minor incident.
- Enjoy the NOW. Add a house, kids, etc. to the plate, and things just keep getting more complicated. Whatever phase you're in, embrace it and enjoy it.
What's your best piece of advice for making a relationship last?