This is purely my own opinion.
I really can't give advice on how to have a romantic relationship that works and lasts. Why? Because everyone is different and there are so many different types of relationships that can work. You need to find someone that works with you, not for you.
I can, however, ramble about how my marriage works and is lasting... forever.
This is going to truly be a rambling and may bounce around and be a bit confusing. It's this way because my marriage is this way. How much fun is this! :D
I've had a few romantic relationships in my life. As a teenager I dated a whopping three guys, but none of those relationships were strong, or fun, and I ended up angry, lonely, used, and bruised before I got smart and ended it. I have been married to the same man now for going on fifteen years; and I intend it to last until one of us dies. And, no, we won't be killing each other! Compared to about half of my friends and family, I guess you can say I've had it "easy" when it comes to love.
Just because a relationship is strong and has lasted a long time, doesn't mean it is easy! I've cried myself to sleep so many times. I've been angry, frustrated, heartbroken, you name it! Love is hard game. So what makes it worth it? Why do we torture ourselves so?
Because nothing is more worthwhile than knowing you have someone to nag, yell at, cry over, and they will still hold you, kiss you, love you, share their life with you, confide in you, include you, love you even more, respect you, find you attractive, do certain things only with you. They have chosen you above all others, and that is damned stunning!
Because nothing is more worthwhile than having someone find you important enough to nag, yell at, cry over, and you still want to hold them, kiss them, love them, share your life with them, confide in them, include them, love them some more, respect them, find them attractive, do certain things only with them. You have chosen them above all others, and it couldn't make you any happier.
So, what has made my marriage last as long as it has and will ensure that it lasts so much longer?
Commitment, determination, bullheadedness, common sense, compromise, room to breathe, tolerance, understanding, team work...
Notice I didn't list love, romance, sex, and all the sappy words. Why? Well, these things are important and every successful marriage needs them; but they aren't what is most important to a lasting relationship.
I know it sucks for all of us romantics to hear; believe me, it was a surprising and hard lesson for me to learn, but a strong marriage must be seen as a business arrangement, a partnership, not just in a romantic way, but in a business way. When you get married (and even before) you enter into a contract. This contract states that you agree to share everything, not just emotions and a house, but EVERYTHING. This means when decisions need to be made, both parties must have a say and a vote.
This can make for a lot of arguments and disagreements. Especially if one or both parties are not ready to share, or if they have a strong independent nature...or if they are psycho, sociopathic, greedy, narcissistic, control freaks, or something.
What I've just stated is the traditional business arrangement of relationships, everything is split 50/50. Many relationships now days like to split responsibilities, and support each other when needed. Separate bank accounts, separate bills, what's yours is yours, and what's mine is mine. This arrangement can work very well if both parties are reliable and stick to their part of the deal.
Over the years, though, things can get blurred, and more and more "things" become "ours" and not, "yours". This is fine as long as both parties acknowledge it and are OK with the evolved agreement.
My husband and I have been through a lot. And we're still together. We still have disagreements. We still hurt each other. But more than anything, we love and respect one another. And we have a business arrangement that works for the most part. Constant adjustments must be made to account for growth, financial changes, medical needs, etc.
What needs to be understood is that we are all individuals. And we need to acknowledge that even though we have devoted ourselves to one another and partnered up, we still have our own minds, our own thoughts, needs, desires. We need to make room for each other to breathe. So many people want to smother their partner. They demand so much attention, they want to do everything together. I really understand this, I was this way at the beginning of my marriage. For me, it was my way of settling in and bonding.
This causes a lot of tension in a relationship. One party can't understand why the other doesn't feel the same way. The other party can't understand why they aren't allowed to have alone time. "Why don't you love me?", "Why can't you let me breathe?".
Everybody is different and has different needs and ways of adjusting. Tolerance and understanding are very important here. Just because the love of your life doesn't think and act like you, doesn't mean you aren't loved and respected.
You can not force a person to change! You can not expect them to stay the same, either! We are all human beings. We have set in ways, and we also constantly change. If you are wanting a specific partner that will never change and always be exactly what you want...then get a doll!
If you think the perfect relationship is without fault, pain, or anything negative, then you are never going to have a lasting relationship. I can't imagine living with no negativity in my marriage. The bad times strengthen us, and they make the good times seem all the more wonderful.
Just laying in bed and talking, joking, laughing, tickling, wrestling, and of course, love making. These are the things I think of when I recall the best times. It's the little things I do with my man that I don't do with anyone else; these are the things that make my marriage worthwhile. Not a sexy body, not a ring on my finger (we don't have rings), not a man that makes a million dollars. Having a special connection, and knowing that we have a business arrangement that works, so we have little stress there, this makes it work and last.