What is the secret to having a happy relationship? Is it chocolate? Is it sex? Is it compromising the Netflix binge schedule to allow for a series just one of you likes? Is it bringing the other person a cup of tea in bed every morning? It's no surprise that every single couple in the world answers this question differently, because every single relationship is different. However, there are certain key factors that will always help a relationship succeed, and we’re sharing them with you now, so that you’re well prepared when the time comes for that soulmate relationship.
Get your dating notebook ready, here they are:
Whether you're open with each other about what you want in bed, or make time to tell each other about your day at work, communication is absolutely key to a happy relationship. Over time it can become so easy to assume you know everything about the other person. We can stop asking all the exploratory questions we did when we first started dating, which can hinder the relationships growth. Making time for communication, even if it's just a ten minute Skype call every night, or a coffee at the kitchen table after work to exchange stories about each others day, will help you learn more of one another’s ways. One good tip is to try and act (in your head) as though you're on a first or second date with the person. You're not looking to do role play (if you are that's cool too!) you're simply looking to ask your other half questions like 'if you could be anywhere in the world right now where would you be?' or 'you've just won the lottery, what do you do?'. Fun questions like these aren't related to our day-to-day activities and allow for fun and exploration, and they can really keep communication channels open: which will help when having to explore the more difficult conversations that occur in relationships.
Many-a-woman have said that no matter what a guy looks like, if he's funny, he's attractive. It's probably the reason so many of us get 'weird' crushes on people like Ricky Gervais, James Corden and Rhod Gilbert (just me?). And for many of us, it's those private jokes we share with our partners that truly keep the flames of passion burning. Real life needs laughter to make it enjoyable, and real relationships need a shared sense of humour to keep them going. If you can't laugh together, you can't take on life's peaks and troughs as a couple, so if you’re reading this and you’re already in a relationship, get that tickle stick out and start chortling!
Often when trust is gone from a relationship, ugly emotions like jealousy, paranoia and suspicion emerge, which aren't fun emotions to tackle. Trust isn't just about fidelity either, it's about everything. Trusting your partner to be there if you're going through a hard time, trusting them to understand when you're struggling with life and trusting them with your innermost demons and thoughts. We choose to share our most intimate selves with a partner, and we trust them with that very raw, innermost part of our selves.
Lots of couples are like two peas in a pod, experiencing life together and sharing each and every experience life throws at them. But long lasting relationships require a certain level of independence from each person in order to keep everything from imploding. Being two peas in a pod is great, but sometimes we can become so reliant on another person, that we lose part of ourselves and learn to rely on that other person to keep us happy - which is a recipe for disaster. Keep things fresh by looking to experience new things separately as well as together. Reach out and grow individually and you will grow together as a couple too.
No married person has ever mentioned a successful marriage without mentioning hard work. Although many people say that real love shouldn't be hard work, that's not strictly true in the long run. Yes in your first few dates, if you're having to work harder than a snail on sand to move forwards then perhaps you're not well matched with your date. But further down the line, you will hit hard patches, you will grow together and sometimes move apart as well. The key to surviving all that life throws at you is a dose of love and understanding that at times things will be hard. Having the compassion, love and commitment to make a success of your relationship is important, as well as working to understand your partner. If you're strong you can get through most things together. When the going gets tough, if you're both willing to let go of your ego, you can use the difficult times to bring you closer together. That’s the essence of a true soulmate relationship.