You’ve probably met some of them: Couples who have been together for years—maybe even decades—and are still madly in love with each other.
Perhaps it shows in the way they look at each other, or in the subtle ways they stay connected by touch, or in the kindnesses they show each other. However it is revealed, their passionate bond is unmistakable. Long after the first blush of infatuation and young love has faded, these two people not only love each other, they’re delighted to be in each other’s company.
What do couples do to stay in love through the years? While nothing in life is guaranteed, here are seven daily choices you can make to increase your odds of joining the ranks of those delightfully happy couples:
Listening to your partner reaps benefits in every area of your life together. When you listen, you’ll learn things that will help you love the other person more deeply. You’ll catch a glimpse of your partner’s hopes and dreams, hurts and fears. You’ll hear about things you do that make your partner want to withdraw. You’ll discover ideas and thoughts previously unknown to you. If you’re not in the habit of listening—really listening—you’ll miss all these things and more.
2. Value each other
When you value someone, you won’t want to belittle or tear down that person. You’ll also be less inclined to take that person for granted. And you definitely won’t be careless with his or her heart. When you truly value someone, you’ll see and appreciate what that person brings into your life on a daily basis. Even better, you will find ways to communicate that appreciation every chance you get.
No matter how deeply in love, two human beings are bound to hurt each other with thoughtless words, selfish actions, or inconsiderate neglect. Forgiving each other for those hurtful acts is the cornerstone of any lasting, harmonious relationship. Without forgiveness, slights and offenses accumulate like boulders on a highway. Devote yourself to clearing obstructions in your relationship through forgiveness.
4. Laugh together
Laughing reduces stress, improves communication, gets past facades, and releases feel-good hormones in the brain. It creates great memories, helps grudges fade, and knits hearts together. Maybe your partner is always cracking you up. Or maybe neither one of you is all that funny, but you both laugh-until-you-cry at the same movies. Wherever you find it, laughter is good for love.
5. Be kind
When it comes to keeping love alive, kindness is essential. For one thing, it breeds appreciation. It also builds trust. It’s hard to stay in love with someone around whom you walk on eggshells because you never know when the next criticism or putdown is coming. In this manner, kindness is the antithesis of abuse and mistreatment.
Flirting helped you fall in love, and it can help you stay in love. And don’t just flirt with your words—some of the flirtiest things can be said best with body language. Flirting says to your partner, “I’m still attracted to you and still crazy about you!”
Couples stay in love because they value the love they have. That means they do whatever is necessary to defend and safeguard their relationship. All kinds of unwise behaviors–addictions, affairs, lying, misplaced priorities—can jeopardize your unity and undermine your intimacy. That’s why it’s critical to be intentional about protecting what you have together.
Falling in love is one thing. Staying in love is another thing altogether. Practice these strategies on a daily basis, and you’ll definitely increase your odds of staying in love for the long run.