For any relationship to last a life-time, it has to be built on the "Three Pillars of any Successful Relationship". Here they are, in order of importance: Respect, Trust, Love
I know couples who have relationships built on these blocks, and I see how they automatically avoid the common pitfalls so many other couples face: Because respect is paramount, they do not treat each other in a derogatory way or belittle each other. Because there is trust, they are not suspicious and they know the other person feels the same. Because they love each other more than anything else in life, they will always want to put the partner's needs and feeling before their own.
Have a look at the couples you know who are not sailing in smooth waters, and think of their relationships. Look at the actions and arguments, and you will notice the absence of respect, trust or love "“ sometimes it's more than one of the Three Pillars which are missing. Give this some thought and look at your own relationship: Is it built on a foundation of respect? Do you unwaveringly trust your partner? Do you sincerely and without any doubt love your partner above all else? These Pillars are assigned the specific order of importance for a reason, as each Pillar flows into and feeds the next one:
If you respect your partner, you also respect yourself "“ you cannot give respect if you don't have it. You also understand that you are respected by your partner, and are confident that your partner will act with careful consideration, the same way you would in any given situation. Respect automatically guarantees a code of conduct which you honour without even thinking about it: If you respect your partner, you will not insult or humiliate him/her. You will accept that your partner will not insult or humiliate you, and as a result, you will never need to be defensive "“ this ensures a calmer mental state by default. You automatically give each other the benefit of any doubt without having to wonder about it. You always put yourself in your partner's shoes before saying anything potentially hurtful, and you always make sure that your partner's back is covered "“ just like you would expect for yourself. This respect-founded code of conduct leads directly to the next Pillar:
If you respect yourself and your partner, you will never cheat on him/her, because that is what you expect in return. You will always put yourself in your partner's shoes when the temptation arises, and always think: "what would I want him/her to do in this situation?" Unwavering and unconditional trust is the result, which leads to:
This is an emotion based on the total security, bliss and closeness which are direct results of respect and trust. I'm not referring to the butterflies of being in love here, but love. The only way I can describe love, is that it's a state of mind about a person for which I will sacrifice anything without condition or question.
Once you learn how to build relationships on the Three Pillars, you will understand why there are relationships out there which last a life-time, and you too will increase your potential to have one!