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6 Types of Relationships That Last the Longest and Stay the Strongest

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6 Types of Relationships That Last the Longest and Stay the Strongest

How do you know your relationship will last? How do you know it was meant to be? How do you even know that the current one is ‘the one?’ Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could predict how strong and happy your relationship will be?

Many of us are cautious and even cynical about love. And no one can blame us: all the statistics out there about relationships are really grim. We get into relationships wondering whether they will last; indeed we doubt that they will.

Your relationship can beat the odds.

Contrary to what we have been conditioned to think, love, can last much more than we give it credit for.[1]

A study that was carried out in 2012 revealed that 40% of couples that had been married for a decade indicated that they were still intensely in love.[2] In the same study, 40% of women and 34% of the men among couples that had been married for more than 30 years revealed that they were very intensely in love.

Any relationship is a risk but there are signs that indicate that your relationship is harmonious and it will last a long time.

Here are the 6 types of relationships that are successful and lasting (including a few to avoid):

1. Relationships shared around forgiveness

How do you and your partner deal with conflict in the relationship? Misunderstandings are not the problem in a relationship; how you deal with them is the issue.

A strong relationship does not seek to reduce conflict because there is always going to be some.

Daniel Wilde said, “Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems.” There is no partner whom you will not fight with, get annoyed at and complain about. Indeed, fighting is good. Research shows that a couple that is not fighting three years into the marriage has an unhealthy relationship.[3]

In a stable, healthy marriage, arguing is not a sign of doom; it is healthy and natural. Successful couples focus their attention on solving the issues rather than attacking the other person. Also, when they resolve the matter, they forgive and forget.[4]

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According to Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. a licensed marriage therapist, the true measure of the strength of your relationship is how fast you reunite after a disagreement. Spouses who are in strong relations take the initiative to invite each other back into their world after a disappointment.[5]

What to do if you have poor conflicts in your relationship?

Unhealthy relationships are characterized by poor conflict resolution skills.

Do you stay angry with your spouse after you have fought? Do you hold grudges long after you have had misunderstandings? Do you ignore essential issues by sweeping them under the rug? Or do you freeze emotionally and shut down when your spouse has wronged you?

The need to reestablish the emotional connection between you and your spouse and to the desire to restore security in your relationship must override your hurt feelings.

Many times, we must choose between being right and being happy. Holding a grudge will breed resentment, which will in turn destroy your marriage.

It is not about what you fight about, it is how you fight.

2. Relationships that are based on an adventure

Boredom can be a massive obstacle to a lasting relationship. After a period of marriage, it is easy for couples to get into these grey areas where everything is repetitive, predictable, uninteresting and boring.

Between careers, kids and all the side hustles, it can be challenging to stay connected to your partner.

Research shows that couples who enjoy the most intense love are those who enjoy participating in new or challenging activities together. New activities are arousing, which your brain can misinterpret as an attraction to your partner; and reignite the original spark. Seeking adventure is an excellent way to shake it up.

What to do if you feel bored in your relationship?

A study revealed that couples are happier with their relationship after taking part in exciting activities.[6]

New experiences have been found to activate the brains reward system. Novelty floods the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same hormones that are released during the early days of romantic love. Doing exciting things together will bring back the excitement you felt on your first date.

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3. Relationships that are built around intimacy

Marriage therapists indicate that a couple who are unhappy with their sex life will strain in their relationship and could even be headed to a split.[7] Sex is essential in cultivating a thriving relationship.

And it gets even more interesting: the more you have sex, the more you want it. The opposite is also true; the less you have sex, the less you want it, and the less you feel connected to your spouse.

Sex boosts the chemical of love. During sex, oxytocin is released.[8] Oxytocin is referred to as the bonding hormone. Very happy couples have sex on average 74 times a year.

What if you aren’t having lots of sex in your relationship?

If you are worried that you are not having enough sex, you will be pleased to know that intimacy is not all about sex. Oxytocin is released when touching, holding hands, cuddling and during extended loving eyes contact. Research shows that a man’s’ oxytocin levels go up by 500 percent after making love.[9]

4. Relationships based on trust

Trust is the most important predictor of long-term relationship success. A relationship will not be strong if there is no trust between the partners.

Is your partner dependable and reliable? Can you count on them?

What about you to your partner? Are you trustworthy? Do you hide purchases? Do you have online relationships that your partner is not aware of? Are you hiding your true feelings from your partner?

Couples in strong relationships do not keep secrets.

What if you have little secrets in your relationship?

Do not be paranoid. Do not focus on the small things where your partner has not been completely honest.

Instead, focus on the big things: Maybe he told you he is a lawyer only to discover later he never passed the bar! Or she said she loves children but later on insists that she would never want to have one.

If you have no belief and trust in your partner, they will never believe in themselves!

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5. Relationships that are built around a shared future

For a long-lasting healthy relationship, the more the similarity, the better.[10] Partners should especially be secure that their values and goals match before they embark on a relationship.

Research done interviewing couples that had been married for 43 years on average revealed that sharing core values, interests and having a similar outlook on life will stack the odds in your favor. A 2009 research study also revealed that that happier couples have the most similar personalities.[11]

All the couples indicated one thing: opposites attract in the movies, but they do not make great marriage partners.

Evidence suggests that people like dissimilar partners more and find them more stimulating but only when the relationships are short term.

For long-term relationships, greater similarity translates into more staying power of the relationship.

What if you aren’t sure about your relationship goals?

Common goals work together make your lives together work in harmony.

What are your goals as a couple? Do you want to start a family together? Are you planning to own a house? How many children do you want? These kinds of common goals will help to strengthen your relationship.

If you ever find that in your mind, intentionally or subconsciously, you do not want your partner to participate in your plans, it is a sign that it is time for you to move on.

6. Relationships that are based on shared vulnerability

Why do many people find falling in love so scary? Why are people afraid of commitment? It is because of an intense fear of vulnerability.

Here’s the thing: many people want relationships, but they are so scared of opening up and being hurt.

Research shows that people fear vulnerability because of the fear of rejection. There is the fear that if someone finds that we are not as perfect, intelligent or strong as we appear to be, they will no longer like us.[12]

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Unfortunately, we cannot build healthy relationships without vulnerability. Vulnerability is the secret to a strong connection. To know that someone loves you for who you are and to love someone else in all their vulnerability is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences.

The fear of vulnerability is a self-sabotaging trait. Your fear of vulnerability will prevent you from being totally engaged in the relationship.

How to know if you and your partner can embrace vulnerability in the relationship?

You can find out if you are afraid of being vulnerable by answering the following questions:

  • Do you fear to expose some parts of your personality that you think your partner may find unacceptable?
  • Does keeping your distance from your partner make you feel safe and in control?
  • Are you embarrassed about exposing your true feelings and discussing difficult topics?
  • Do you have this intense fear that your partner will betray or abandon you?
  • Have you been picking partners who are wrong for you in a bid to stay safe by distancing yourself?

Vulnerability can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but it is actually a strength. It takes tremendous strength, character, and self-confidence to be vulnerable. A genuine partner will respect you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is very attractive. Honest people are drawn to people who are really authentic and imperfect

A lasting relationship is what you make

Ultimately, be committed to your relationship. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

The biggest killer of relationships is the comparison with those around us. Other couples always seem more beautiful and happier than us.

A happy couple does not look to see what is happening on the other side. They are content with the view out their own front door.

Put in the effort and time and you will get your relationship right where you want it.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

Do Rebound Relationships Work Out? Why They Will and Won’t How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger 10 Fun Relationship Quizzes to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Partner

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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