What are some Noteworthy Qualities of Lasting Relationships?
When Huffington Post Relationships reached out with this question, Spencer made some useful observations:
Whether it’s daily, weekly, or annually – and ideally all three in some capacity – couples who are in it for the long and happy haul make a habit of checking in as needed and also as planned. Planned check ins are times when both are mentally prepared to provide each other and the issues the space they need to explore, resolve, and plan. One couple I know even has an annual “State of the Union Conference” where they rent a hotel room and have a “conference” at the hotel bar to check in and make plans for the coming year.
Mindful approach to meeting milestones:
I would not say that couples in it for the long haul don’t rush to make big decisions such as moving in together, getting married, and having a child. “Rushing” is a relative concept. One person’s “rushing” can be another person’s “taking too long.” A compatible and connected couple can follow whatever timeline makes sense to them, and they are mindful in their processing. One couple may make a mindful decision to get married after a year of dating, whereas another couple may make a mindful decision to wait. Couples in it for the long haul keep their anxieties in check and make important decisions about their relationship from a place of joy and rationality, rather than insecurity and desperation.
Elisabeth also shared an insight about lasting relationshs —
Couples in satisfying, lasting marriages tend to be emotionally mature. They are able to balance separateness and togetherness. They can enjoy feeling close to each other but are also able to feel satisfied and fulfilled in the separate dimensions of their lives. Because these marriages are more emotionally mature, they tend to be less volatile and less reactive. Instead of volatility, partners in fulfilling marriages that go the distance demonstrate a willingness to own their role in a disagreement and they do not jockey to be right and win each and every argument. Because they are more emotionally mature and able to enjoy being intimate and being separate, they tend to communicate in a mature style that leads to less drama and greater connection. They are less likely to blame and are willing to focus on how they can improve an adverse situation. As a couples therapist, it is incredibly satisfying to help couples work to become more emotionally mature in order to deepen their connection and improve their marriage.