In a lasting relationship, couples demonstrate their love by doing things every day to support each other. Although a loving, committed couple can make a relationship look easy, it actually takes a little bit of work.
Linda and Charlie Bloom, authors of Secrets of Great Marriages, write about lasting couples that over time ‘the experience of nurturing the relationship no longer feels like effort or work, but literally becomes a labor of love that feels more like a gift, a joyful opportunity for which we feel grateful and blessed.’
4 HABITS OF LASTING COUPLES
One thing that lasting couples do is care for each other’s feelings by doing the emotional work that the relationship requires. Emotional work is something that we rarely hear about but psychologists study this topic as a factor in relationship happiness.
Researchers in the Journal of Family Issues say of emotional work that ‘Family members do work to meet people’s emotional needs, improve their well-being, and maintain harmony. When emotional work is shared equally, both men and women have access to emotional resources in the family. However, like housework and childcare, the distribution of emotional work is gendered.’ Women are the ones who typically take on the emotional work in a relationship.
The researchers show how important the emotional work is to healthy relationships; partners with a gender imbalance with emotional work tended to see an erosion of the marriage, which ‘posed a health risk to women and helped explain gender differences in psychological distress.’
For a lasting relationship, men need to learn to identify emotional cues from their female partner and help her to release feelings of anger/sadness/fear. When male partners are able to support their companions emotionally, they have the skills needed for a lasting relationship.
1. WORK ON SOLVING PROBLEMS
Every day couples face challenges just to get coordinated and get out the door for work, and they haven’t even discussed what they are having for dinner. Beyond that, larger problems come up with regard to finances, health, family planning, social commitments, etc.