Evewoman : Discover the secret of everlasting love: How to keep your relationship fresh

Marriage Advice

Discover the secret of everlasting love: How to keep your relationship fresh

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Discover the secret of everlasting love: How to keep your relationship fresh

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The passion can't last, so what actually makes love last in the long term?

Do you ever wake up in the morning and say to yourself what can I do for five minutes to make my partner's life a little better? I know I do.

I don't mean anything complicated or extravagant, but just sharing a joke or an item on the news, making a cup of tea, a snack or smiling and taking the mickey playfully.

It all helps to oil the wheels of a relationship and, according to a book called The Myths of Happiness, helps cement partnerships and marriages.

Why should we bother? Well, for at least two reasons. If most people believe marriage means long-term happiness, they're likely to be disappointed.

The kind of happiness that makes you take the plunge lasts about 18 months, two years max. So you'll have to work on it.

And secondly, divorce is rising. It's approaching twice the rate of marriage.

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The passion you feel at the beginning of a relationship simply can't last. You'd never get anything done.

And that red-hot emotion will cool, if you're lucky, into affection, comfort, enjoyment and warmth.

These are the qualities that equip you for the long haul.

There are many research-proven actions and words that can do wonders to keep love and communication alive.

Here they are.

One of the things that happens to us all is "habituation", becoming familiar with your partner and taking them for granted. But it is possible to slow habituation down.

If you suspect your relationship is going downhill, start making time for each other, truly listening to one another and openly expressing approval, admiration and affection.

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Whether you're fostering or mending good relations there's nothing like a touch of appreciation to keep the atmosphere warm.

Keep reminding yourself of all the things you like about your partner. Falling out of love is just forgetting how charming someone is.

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Just as important is variety and it’s a very close relative, novelty. Staving off habituation is mixing things up, being spontaneous, unexpected and unpredictable.

Novelty is a powerful aphrodisiac.

It's the driving force behind many new relationships.

Surprise is good too - a surprise present, a surprise trip or a surprise makeover, for example.

We don't touch enough and it gives such strong, loving messages. Just a touch on the arm, shoulder or face, a quick cuddle, a squeeze of the hand.

Happily married couples exchange five positive expressions for every negative one.

Less happy couples may have a ratio of only one to one.

Most of us can do better than that

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