I hang out with a group of couples who have been with their spouse or partner for 10 years or more.

We all seem to be happy and loving people. Of course our relationships are far from perfect, but somehow we all have decided to make this journey with our significant other, for better or worse.Here are 15 relationship lessons we practice to keep our relationships healthy, happy, and loving.

1. Genuinely like each other.

You have to like the person you are with because to be honest, the intense “in-love” feelings may not always be there. Some days you want to kill your partner, but what stops you is the feeling that you actually like this person.

Crazy talk aside, when it comes down to spending hours upon hours with a single person, liking them becomes very important.

When you say you “like” someone, what you’re really saying is, “he or she is cool to hang out with, they don’t get on my nerves all that much, and to tell you the truth, I feel good when I’m around them.”

2. Enjoy the sense of humor you share.

I find that each couple has their own sense of humor.  They each find the other funny and laugh at the same things that perhaps others wouldn’t find as humorous.

This commonality is something to be valued because finding someone that can make you laugh, especially when things are tough, can be the glue that makes you stick and stay.

3. Cherish the good in the other person.

Focusing on the good traits of your partner will increase your loving feelings for them which may help you overlook the annoying things they do. Because there’s no perfect person, but what there can be is your positive perception of that person.

Also, I have found when you focus on the wonderful qualities of a person, you start seeing more of those qualities come out.

4. Birds of a feather, flock together.

Men and women who want and are drawn to be in long-term relationships hangout together.  Couples, who do “couples activity” with other couples create friendships and a bond that acts as a support system for the overall health of all relationships involved.

Your couple friends will be there to share the good times. They will also be there to comfort and support the both of you when and if that situation ever arises.

5. Use your words.

I know there’s some science to back my next statement because it’s the honest truth.

Men cannot read minds. Women on the other hand can, especially if they’re related. Therefore when men and women talk, they must use their words.

Joking aside, the healthiest relationships are the ones who communicate well with each other.

I believe both men and women must clearly ask for what they want from their partner in order to receive it.

For example, my boyfriend knows, if I ask for 12 lemons for a 12 lemon center piece, he will bring 12 lemons home. (Share this post if you know my movie reference!)

More importantly, couples who say what they mean in a loving way get to the heart of an issue and find a way to resolve it.

6. Cultivate your individual existence.

The healthiest relationships are where each person has their own lives. Build a life together, but don’t lose yourself and your individual purpose.

Healthy couples support each other in their individual interests such as hobbies, sport activities, or meaningful work.

When a person has a purpose and a sense of meaning to their life, they behave in a more positive and loving way to their partners and other people in general.

7. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

At any moment in time, you can change your thought, mood, and reaction for the better. Your partner may not always do the right thing, but you have the power to react in a more positive way no matter the situation.

Acting positively and lovingly towards a situation will bring about a more productive resolution.

8. Let them be.

Don’t be afraid to give each other a “cooling-off” period. Not everything needs to be resolved right there and then.

Let each person find their own understanding of a situation so that they can hopefully return with some sense and compassion.

9. Spend time apart.

Nobody likes anybody who is underfoot too long. It is healthy to spend time away from each other.

My boyfriend and I did a long distance thing for three years in the middle of our relationship and I believe it only made our bond stronger.

Let each other enjoy a weekend away with friends and find your own relationship rekindled upon their return.

10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the best things you can do for a long-term relationship is to not be bothered by the idiosyncrasies of the other person.

There are some things in a person that may never change and you just have to accept that. Yes, you may think your partner was raised in a barn, but he or she is still the one you want in your little universe.

Be quick to forgive dumb, maybe even thoughtless mistakes because as long as it doesn’t make you distrust the person or question your entire relationship, then it can all be worked out with some understanding, compassion, and compromise.

11. Act like a team.

This is one of the lessons that I believe can really help a relationship survive and thrive.

When you know that your partner has your proverbial back, you feel a kind of peace. A sense that you’re not alone, that someone else is looking out for your best interest, and that feels amazing.

A lot of my couple friends own businesses with their spouse and in my observation it brings them closer together. Owning a business with someone teaches you about cooperation, compromise, and the importance of making a decision together.

12. Show your appreciation.

The words “thank you” should be said as often as possible because everyone likes to feel appreciated and respected.

Day in and day out, your partner is always doing something in the name of love and family and that should not go unnoticed. From making dinner, working long hours, and performing simple acts of kindness, give your gratitude.

It’s a universal truth. The more you say thank you to what the universe offers you, the more you receive those kind of things.

13. Say I love you and show it.

No matter how long you’ve been together, always tell your partner you love them because this short, but meaningful sentence could have such an impact on their day.

For instance, these simple words may be the best thing they hear all day. It can make them feel honored, safe, appreciated, and wanted. By just saying these three little words, you can give these wonderful feelings to each other.

Then show one another the love you feel with small acts of kindness or big gestures of devotion. No matter how you do it, the point is that you do it.

14. Spend romantic time together.

Spending romantic time together is different from the other times you’re spending with each other. Romantic time implies that your sole focus is to connect romantically with your partner and this is very important if you want the fires of love to burn for eternity.

I love the saying, “The grass is greener where your water it.” So if you want the love between the both of you to last, you have to take care of that lawn like it’s the Bermuda grass of the Carolinas.

In plain English, date night is a must-do.

15. It’s about the journey.

You will walk in the sunshine together. You will hold each other tight during a freak storm. Sometimes you will even dance in the rain together.

All that matters is no matter the weather, you will expectantly share the experience together.

But if there comes a time that you don’t, hopefully you’ve done all of the above so you know that you gave it your best, and you showed them how big you can love.

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