47 People In Long-Term Relationships Reveal The Secrets For Making It Work

Found on AskReddit .

1. If things are tense, hug each other for 20 seconds.

“• When you are starting to bicker with each other, check if you have both eaten recently and are relatively well-rested.
• If you are actually fighting, make sure you have understood what the other person has said BEFORE you respond. It will save you so much headache from misunderstandings. It’s as simple as, ‘So I think you’re saying _______; do I have that right?’
• Respect each other’s privacy and take time for yourself. Regularly spend time with friends independent of your SO.
• Lastly, this one sounds silly but it works. Me and my SO can say to each other ’20 second hug?’ at any time and often it dissolves the tension and reconnects us.”

2. Buy each other presents every time you see something that they would like.

“Buy each other presents every time you see something that they would like. Doesn’t have to be big. Just once in a while my wife come home with a comic book or a video game for me, and sometimes I buy her Pokémon cards or amiibos or some shit. Feels good. I don’t know if it’s the best tip, but it works for me. AND DON’T GET A FUCKING DOG. Fuck dogs. Unless you like shit up the goddamn walls like Dumb and Dumber.

3. Choose wisely and treat kindly.

“{m69, married 40 yrs}
Finding them:
Choose Wisely.
Keeping them:
Treat Kindly”

4. Don’t keep score. You’re on the same team.

“Don’t keep score. You guys are on the same team and have to work things out together.”

5. Separate bathrooms, blankets, and bank accounts.

“Separate bathrooms, blankets, and bank accounts.”

6. Spend a day together in your pajamas just playing games, reading, or binging shows.

“Spend a day together in your pajamas just playing games, reading, or binging shows. Fiancee and I do this. We end up having a lot of fun and talking constantly throughout.”

7. Smoke weed and bang a lot.

“I know everyone is going to say things like communication, honesty, blah, blah. yes, those things are important.

But seriously, just smoke weed and bang a lot.

You’d be surprised how much less hostility and frustration you have toward your spouse if you get high and screw 5-6 days a week once the kids are in bed.”

8. If they’re looking really good, let them know.

“I read this in Psychology Today or something like it: Don’t say, ‘I love you but …,’ say ‘I love you and .’ Use I statements. Avoid the royal we when talking to others unless you’re certain you have a united front. And if they’re looking really good, let them know. Explicitly.”

9. Don’t stray.

“Don’t stray. The relationship will never be the same. He did, a couple years ago, and I forgave him. The trust just isn’t there anymore, though.”

10. Always be the first to say sorry.

“Always be the first to say sorry. If you’re still angry, wait until you’re calm enough then be the first to apologize. 9/10 this leads to either an apology in return or an explanation as to why hubby did the thing that made me mad. You don’t need to be right to be happy.”

11. Spend time apart.

“Time apart. I love my husband dearly, but I look forward to Saturday when he works but I don’t. We both agree that we need our space and we’re OK with that. I didn’t know this in my 1st marriage, and it caused a lot of problems.”

12. After any argument, always tell them you love them, and MEAN IT.

“After any argument, always tell them you love them, and MEAN IT. It’ll make both of you feel better and will remind your S/O that you still love them a lot despite the argument(s).”

13. NEVER belittle or make fun of each other.

“Never speak to your spouse with sarcasm or condescension. NEVER belittle of make fun of them, in private or in public. Never use an ‘ugly’ voice. This can be VERY hard to remember in a moment of anger when you want to use every weapon at hand. But it is worth the effort to learn. That one time you fail will be remembered, is endlessly hurtful, and really breaks trust.

Know your own personality quirks and your spouse’s. Anxieties, sensitivities, etc. Each must tolerate the other’s. And if you can, help your spouse in dealing with hers and let her help you in dealing with yours. In the long term, you’ll help each other grow and help the relationship grow.

Humor. Learn to make running jokes about everything, including the way you annoy each other.

Don’t take everything your spouse does personally. My wife can occasionally leave things in awkward places that I could trip over, even though I have asked her not to. I used to take it personally (‘She doesn’t respect my needs!’), but the one time out of 10 that she might forget is not about ME. She just forgot. I instead learned to focus on the 9 times out of 10 she remembers (and I therefore don’t notice), and take that as a sign of caring. And for sure, I am equally forgetful about three times as many things that she HAS asked me to do. Let go of perfection.”

14. Choose wisely and treat kindly.

“{m69, married 40 yrs}
Finding them:
Choose Wisely.
Keeping them:
Treat Kindly”

15. Realize that you may have different communication styles.

“As someone in a ten-year relationship that has been through many twists and turns, I would say that while communication is very important, it’s not as simple as just talking about stuff—regardless of how calm and articulate you can be about the issue at hand. I went into this relationship, and thought for a long time during it, that as long as we could just have a good conversation about an issue we could solve it. And if we couldn’t do it that way, then it was a sign that things were doomed.

However, I learned it can be more complicated than saying ‘communicate,’ particularly because we don’t have exactly the same communication style. I’m a peacemaker type, and he enjoys a good debate/discussion/argument (no yelling, but he likes to get into it). I value apologies over everything, he doesn’t even think they are necessary. I want to discuss everything he does that irks me, he mostly just assumes that I always mean well and moves on without talking at all.

In the beginning, I thought he could be a rigid, bullying, uncommunicative asshole and this made things really tough. Now, I realize that we don’t need to discuss so many things, I don’t always need him to explicitly say, ‘I am sorry, I apologize, I have learned from what you have said and will modify my behavior,’ and that it’s normal to go through periods where we are on different wavelengths and just waiting it out without making a big deal of it is fine.”

16. Do your best to make your partner laugh regularly.

“Adult life can be so goddamn high stakes and serious. Coparenting, illnesses, finance, buying a house….it’s all Serious Business and drudgery sometimes. And that can make the whole ‘keep up the romance’ feel unattainable, when you both feel sucked dry by life already.

So do your best to make your partner laugh regularly. Even if it’s just a dumb face or a joke cribbed from r/dadjokes. Not only does it lighten up the mood, but hopefully it reminds you both of being young goofy idiots. And THAT makes the romance come back. Because you were probably young goofy idiots when your started dating.

Also, if you can make this a regular thing, making a fart noise or stupid face can stop a fight in its tracks, if it’s the fights that you have only because you’re both tired and crabby. Highly recommend.”

17. Learn to step away and calm down.

“If you tend to fight a lot, learn phrases like ‘help me understand’ instead of ‘you’re wrong/why would you/how could you/you’re not making sense.’

Take the blame off the other person. Just listen to him/her..and ACTUALLY listen, not thinking about what you want to say once he/she finishes talking.

Communication will always be #1, but think of yourself as an active listener: Do you body language and facial expressions convey that you are interested? When you respond, try to think of your tone of voice and delivery of the message: What kind of emotion/reaction are you trying to get out of your partner?

If all else fails, learn to step away and calm down.”

18. It’s okay to be angry, but not to scream or insult.

“The main thing I’ve been learning (I still need to remind myself of it now and then) is that the way you feel toward your partner doesn’t have to be the way you act toward your partner.

It’s okay to be angry at your partner sometimes, but it’s not okay to scream at or insult them. It’s okay to feel sad and hurt over something they did, but it’s not okay to guilt-trip them or expect them to read your mind.

Sometimes during arguments/serious discussions, a million shitty things will come into your head before you even consider saying something kind to your partner. But a simple ‘I love you’ can really go a long way—even if you don’t FEEL love for them at the time. It’s really hard to do when I’m angry/hurt, but it’s worth it when my boyfriend reminds me he loves me too, and the atmosphere generally improves a lot.”

19. When arguing, make sure you understand the problem.

“Married 42 years, and still madly in love with my wife. The worst time in our marriage was a period of continuous argument that we couldn’t resolve. We finally saw a counselor and discovered that we were fighting about two different things in regard to the issue in dispute. Once we had that revelation, we resolved the issue. Moral of the story…make sure that you understand the problem. Pride can blind us. Sometimes you need outside help to get to the place of true communication.”

20. Have your own separate activities.

“Have your own separate activities. Not everything should revolve around each other. You’ll start to get sick of each other if you spend all your time together. It’s healthy to have friends other than your s/o.”

21. Kick up the lust occasionally.

“Kick up the lust occasionally….Love, friendship, and caring are all important, but too few people talk about maintaining a visceral lust for their partner. After more than 30 years of marriage it occasionally requires a conscious jumpstart, but so far we’ve found it an integral part of the relationship.”

22. You have to let small things go.

“You have to let small things go. You should always work on becoming a better partner for your SO but when I forget and leave something on the bedroom floor my wife forgives me automatically because she knows I didn’t do it to annoy her. She tells me she likes a clean house later and that when I get messy she feels unloved and rather than feeling like she is nagging me, I understand that she just wants me to be a better husband and person so I let it go and focus my energy on being more clean, etc.”

23. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

“Manners. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ make a person feel appreciated; after 22 years I still smile when my husband says thank you for something as simple as making him a coffee.”

24. Have each other’s backs.

“Have each other’s backs, don’t give family or friends too much info on the bad stuff. I know sometimes we all need a good rant but some people will hold that against your partner.”

25. Try to make a damn effort.

“Actually try to make a damn effort. If you don’t have the energy to set aside time and talk to him/her, or make them a meal, or get them a nice gift, then maybe you’re not made for each other. Just because it takes a little work doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t real, but you should feel a little inspired to go out of your way for the love of your life.”

26. Share your joys and fears.

“We’ve been together 30 years, married 27. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we still love each other like crazy and have a healthy physical relationship. Here are a few things that we’ve learned that have kept us together:
•Be kind, but don’t be a doormat
•Cheer on your partner in business, sports, hobbies, etc.—anything that is important to them
•Let your spouse know that you are proud of them and that they have a refuge in you. (My husband has said that he was able to do things he never thought he could, because he knew that even if things went badly and/or he failed, I would always love him and be there for him. I feel the same.)
•Tell the truth, always (but if it’s especially harsh, soften it where you can)
•Check in with each other daily if you can.
•Do the little things for your spouse, even if they can do it for themselves—it shows that you are thinking of them.
•Have your own activities, but also have an activity that you do together
•Don’t let misunderstandings fester into bigger problems
•Share your joys and fears.”

27. Cultivate shared hobbies and interests.

“Be your own people, accept you ARE your own people, but still cultivate shared hobbies and interests.”

28. Try to resolve your quarrels within a day or two.

“Not all fights have to end in sulking—most of them are just opportunities to get to know your partner and understand them better. We typically try to resolve our quarrels within a day or two. If both of us think that it was each other’s fault, we’d tell each other that we were hurt but apologize anyway.”

29. Know the difference between a temporary fight that can be worked out and something that just ruins it all.

“The only thing I can say is don’t give up. All those fights that can end a relationship like that? Yeah, I’ve been through them. But once you work things out you will look back on those problems you had and wonder why you ever took it so seriously. If you say you are going to commit, actually commit. But obviously know the difference between a temporary fight that can be worked out and something that just ruins it all. Trust me, even fights that seem to be about big things aren’t actually that big, but knowing the difference is a big deal, too.”

30. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid. My last long-term relationship was with a former Navy brat. On my drives home from work, I’d rehearse stories so I’d have something interesting to share when she popped the dreaded ‘How was your day?’ Eventually she caught on that my work life had an operatic narrative arc and told me point blank: ‘You don’t have to make shit up. I’m just with you for the smiles.’”

31. Plenty of sex, and laugh at everything.

“Just passed our fiftieth. Plenty of sex, and laugh at everything. Just everything.”

32. Don’t go to bed mad at each other.

“The advice I always give is don’t go to bed mad at your SO. Basically the same as communicate, but I feel like putting that time limit on it really forces you to talk to each other sooner. If you had a fight, even if you are still upset just try to talk to them. Also, if they do something that makes you uncomfortable, talk to them about it, they might not even know about it. And be open to changing small things about yourself. I say small because you shouldn’t have to change everything about yourself to be with someone, but relationships involve compromise to meld the two into one. So be willing to give and take. Don’t make fun of your partner’s hobbies or passions. If you do, emphasize you are joking and don’t mean it. Nobody likes to be told what they love is stupid, especially from their SO. And it doesn’t hurt to try to do things with them every now and again, even if you don’t love it. Showing them you care is the most important thing. I guess I’ll stop here, but that’s what I’ve gotten down so far.”

33. Talk it out, always.

“Communication…talk it out, always. None of this passive-aggressive, let-it-build-up-and-one-day-explode nonsense.”

34. Take weekend trips or go to a hotel room overnight somewhere.

“Set aside time to do something new and fun to bond over. Take weekend trips or go to a hotel room overnight somewhere.”

35. Rock Paper Scissors for small decisions.

“Rock Paper Scissors for small decisions. Can’t decide where to eat? Best 2 out of 3, loser has to pick, winner can’t object. Solves 90% of our disagreements. Works for other small stuff, too.”

36. Tell each other ‘I love you’ as much as you can.

“My husband and I have been having a rocky time of things. We recently found out some bad news about one of our direct family members and now we’ve been actively telling each other I love you every time we can. That’s it. Just saying those words to one another as often as you can and hugging each other as soon as you see them works. It’s the little things. I feel better and he feels better. Let them know. If you love your SO, hearing I love you all the time never gets old.”

37. Be 100% honest with how you actually are and what you like, no matter how stupid it is.

“Be 100% honest with how you actually are and what you like, no matter how stupid it is. If you act differently around the person and hide what you actually like and come to find out they don’t accept it then your relationship is fucked.

Agree with your SO in public, express your disagreement in private. Nothing breeds resentment more than feeling like you don’t have their back, especially in front of others.

Don’t give them a reason to doubt you at any point. IMO number one relationship killer is doubt. It festers in the back of your brain and makes you question any tiny thing the other person does, once you’ve reached that point its really difficult to create something that lasts long. One tiny moment of distrust early on can be the difference between ‘oh he’s gonna be coming home late, must have been traffic’ and ‘oh he’s coming home late, maybe he was with someone else.’

It’s totally possible to have relationships ignoring these things, but in my opinion these ones are really the keys to a strong-ass foundation.”

38. Shag her at every possible opportunity.

“Shag her at every possible opportunity. If you’re tired give her a quick one, if you’re sleepy make her go on top, if you’re kinky get her some handcuffs. Just make sure that she is getting her beans as often as you can manage.

When the shagging stops everything becomes so much harder relationship-wise. So my advice is: Don’t let it stop.”

39. Do little things for them that make them happy.

“Do little things for them. Things that make them happy. Brush their hair after their shower, give them a back rub, give them a hug or even just give them space.

Don’t think to yourself, ‘Oh, I did this for them so they owe me’ or, ‘I did this thing last time so now it’s their turn.’

There are no ‘turns’; you are one unit, not one person but close enough to it. You’re a team. You get shit done because it needs to be done. If they aren’t pulling their weight then tell them constructively. Don’t barrel into it and make them hate you for constantly yelling.

The thing is, if they love you they’ll eventually do it. If they don’t, then perhaps they don’t appreciate you enough to help you out.

Appreciate their quirks. My partner came from a very clean household, I didn’t, so it’s always been tough to try to bring myself up to his standard. If he wants the taps to be polished then God damn it polish those damn taps so there’s no water marks. Vacuum every other day, make sure things find their way back into their right place. He will be doing these things anyway. You should do them, too. You have your own quirks; hopefully they will notice and appreciate them, too. I can’t stand the sound of the fridge humming while I’m trying to sleep. When he gets up early for work he messes with it so it stops and I can get back to sleep.

Make them a tea or a coffee now and again. Get them nice things. Take them out for lunch even if you’ve been together for years; going out together is awesome.

Don’t try and cover up when you’ve fucked up. My sister used to buy my mum flowers every time she upset her. But don’t do what she did and not actually fix the reason why the person was upset in the first place.

It’s not an exhaustive list but it’s what I think of, and it’s not full proof. I know I still have things to work on and do, hopefully I’ll never forget my own advice.

You don’t always have to like the same things either. It’s cool when you do, but don’t hate them if they don’t like something you do. It’s not the end of the world.”

40. Don’t rehash old arguments.

“Even if a past argument or indiscretion or whatever still makes you mad when you think about it, if it’s been hashed out you don’t bring it up again, you don’t get to have it on reserve as a ‘well you did THIS’ during another argument (probably one that you’re losing ). I grew up in a house where past stuff was constantly thrown at your face for years and thought this was normal/fair. It’s not. It’s a really shitty thing to do to someone you supposedly love. If you really can’t let go of something in your relationship’s past, break up.”

41. Never stop surprising them.

“Never stop surprising them, and yourself. After being with someone for years and thinking you know everything about them it’s really fun for both of you to surprise them with a small gift, a new activity/new way of doing things, whatever. It just lets them know that hey, they did this just because they thought I would like it. It keeps the fun going and keeps you from getting bored.”

42. Never make them feel stupid or wrong.

“Never make them feel stupid or wrong. Your spouse does things differently from you. That’s probably why you love them so deeply. Embrace those things. Never try to change them.”

43. Never forget why you fell for them in the first place.

“Been with my wife for 9 years and recently we’ve been going through a rough patch in which she’s told me, ‘you’re not the man I fell in love with,’ which to me means that somewhere along the line I forgot who I was and got my priorities jumbled up.

So what I recommend in maintaining a healthy long-term relationship is to not forget why you fell for them in the first place….Don’t let everyday life get the better of you. Make sure you still make time for the one you love, and keep it interesting. That doesn’t mean it has to be interesting every second of every day. Just maybe once a month, have a date night where you pawn the kids off and have a night to yourselves. Maybe even make it a weekly thing where you leave your work phone at home and go do something with the family.

In the end, if you’re with the right person, you will both make the proper moves to accomplish this together. The best way to maintain a long-term relationship is to be 50/50 with the other person. A long-term relationship won’t work if it ain’t shared equally.”

44. See as little of each other as possible the longer you’re together.

“See as little of each other as possible the longer you’re together.”

45. Don’t take things out on each other.

“Sleep. Do not underestimate sleep. Especially if kids are involved. I sleep in on Saturdays, husband sleeps in on Sundays. It keeps you fresh and not as likely to kill each other. Also, not talking things out on each other. My husband and I have made some stupid and irresponsible choices. However, we don’t blame. We come together and decide the next best course of action. We keep communication open and by not falling into a blame trap we are not nervous or scared to approach one another on different matters. But really… sleep.

Source: 13 years married.”

46. Don’t be with someone unless you legitimately prefer their company to all others.

“I’ve known my spouse for 26 years and been married 17 of those.

First, don’t be with someone unless you legitimately prefer their company to all others. This is something I wish every person would understand. Don’t settle for less because they fit your timeline, you’re lonely, or for any other reason.

Second, stay interesting to that person. If when you met you loved talking about sports, books, movies, whatever, stay engaged with those things. My spouse is liberal and very interested in politics, civil rights, etc. I listen to NPR and frequently discuss those topics with him. Being busy with kids, etc. is not an excuse to become uninteresting.

Third, and probably most important, treat your spouse with love, kindness, and respect. Don’t bash him or her publicly or behind closed doors. If you’re fighting, keep it as clean as possible. There are things that can’t be unsaid and will never be forgotten, so putting love, kindness, and respect first will save a lot of heartache.”

47. Stay fit and attractive and ignore a bunch of stuff.

“After 30 years I would say stay fit and attractive and ignore a bunch of stuff.”
Sadiebb Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Lorenzo Jensen III

More From Thought Catalog