Happy Valentine's Day!
I read this NYTimes article yesterday that felt spot on when it comes to defining the steps to a successful relationship - or at least comes damn close.
I certainly don't claim to know all that it takes to keep a relationship alive, but when you've been together as long as my fiancé and I have, you are bound to get that question a lot. We've always had a hard time answering that question; for me, I've always been too cautious in overprescribing someone else's relationship. Jacob and I are two unique individuals, and what works for us might not work for anyone else!
The article lists variety, surprise, affection and positive energy as some key tenets to long-lasting love. I agree wholeheartedly, and not just for relationships with your significant other either. That goes for all relationships, including the one with yourself. It surprises me how much we can demand of another person - no matter how long we've known or been in a relationship with them - when we aren't willing to put forth any of those things for them, or ourselves.
You hear a lot of people, single and in relationships, complain about what the other person is or isn't like. The biggest thing I took away from that article is not to forget your responsibility or your power in the relationship. Sure, some relationships are so destructive or abusive that they need to end, but for the most part, it really is work and it's up to both of you to put that work in.
And so, that theme of "showing up" appears again. Many relationships fall stagnant and make the parties involved unhappy. Nobody wants to be put on auto-pilot. Show up, and do the work.
Sending love to you & yours!