What Makes A Good Relationship Last? - SACAP
Applied Psychology

What Makes a Good Relationship Last?

Feb 14, 2024
Happy couple in a good relationship enjoying time together

It’s good to be optimistic and positive about where your relationship is going. You need to do this if you want it to work. However, relationships require nurturing and effort. And, they aren’t always easy, all the time. Understanding the psychology behind relationships helps us to understand why so many go wrong. Thus, understanding what makes a good relationship last is also helpful. Here are five strategies for long-term relationship success.

5 Important Characteristics of a Good Relationship

Many would rather believe that their relationship is predestined, therefore certain to succeed, than there to be a science to relationships. However unromantic this sounds it does mean that there are adoptable “strategies” to help a relationship work in the long term. These strategies, derived from numerous psychology studies into what drives relationships, can help build the foundation for a long-term successful relationship. Here are five qualities you should aim to preserve in a relationship.

1. Communication

Couples often jokingly complain about how their significant other is difficult to understand. For some, this is actually part of the romantic appeal of the relationship. In the long-term though, relationships where one is expected to telepathically know thoughts and feelings will result in frustration. Additionally, a lack of good communication can lead to blame, relationship anxiety, depression, and overtime, resentment. Thus, learning to communicate, in a way that leads to understanding, is key to building a healthy, long-lasting relationship.

2. Conflict Management

The ability to settle differences is crucial to what makes a good relationship successful over time. Settling differences could mean finding a compromise, agreeing to disagree, or apologising. The important thing is to find a resolution where there is conflict rather than ignore the issue or your partner.

3. Independence

Plenty of couples feel like they must do everything together and have all their interests in common. But couples that are able to enjoy alone time are more likely to last in the long term. It’s important to be able to give each other space. And to accept that you may not be interested in some of your partner’s hobbies, nor are they in yours. And that’s okay. You don’t need to share all the same interests to have a strong and lasting relationship. Sharing core values and wanting to be together and then working to do so is more impactful in the long term.

4. Acceptance

For a good relationship to work in the long term, the couple needs to ground their expectations in reality. Thereby accepting who their significant other is – with all their foibles and strengths. It also means letting go of the Hollywood and Social Media list of ideals. For example, in a good relationship partners expect to be treated with kindness, love, affection and respect. However, they also expect there to be healthy conflict or disagreement at points in their relationship. Taking this stance means that any expectations are grounded in reality and acceptance of the other person. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re not compatible or can’t have a great long-term relationship.

5. Playfulness

Did you know that every time you make your partner smile, it creates chemicals like oxytocin in both your brains? Some call this the “cuddle hormone” because it makes you feel closer to the other person. Thus, one of the benefits of playfulness is fostering a deeper connection. Accordingly, the best relationships have an element of playfulness to them, which keeps things fresh. It also demonstrates that a couple is comfortable enough to make light of each other without either taking it as a personal attack.

Why Couples Counselling Can Help Strengthen Relationships

Many relationships benefit from understanding the psychology behind relationships. Psychology helps explain why people keep repeating the same mistakes they have made in the past. Or keep seeking out partners with qualities that have made for unsuccessful relationships. This all points to the truth that relationship success is not dependent on some divine spark. But rather on the people involved being willing to investigate themselves. As well as accept the uncertainty that accompanies the human condition and behaviours.

Couples counselling has helped save many relationships for this very reason. Many couples struggle with articulating what they really require, feel or think. This often complicates discussions and escalates them to arguments. A counsellor will first help you to both recognise the roles that you tend to play in discussions and disagreements. Then assist you to own your behaviours and identify your needs. And, finally, to be able to effectively voice those needs, without slipping into self-defeating role-playing.

The Value of Seeing a Sexologist

For many people, sex is an important way of connecting with their partner. Aside from the potential health benefits of sex, it helps to foster intimacy and feelings of closeness. Sex can involve our mind, body and souls which means it can be complicated by many things. For example, beliefs, experiences, cultural norms, fantasies, and values. This means that when couples experience issues in the bedroom, sometimes seeing a specialised therapist is the best way forward.

Sexologists are experts in human sexuality. They understand medical and physical conditions that impact sex. However, they don’t treat these. Rather, a sexologist is a specialised therapist that assists couples with the mental and emotional aspects of life and relationship issues relating to sex. They primarily use talk therapy to assist clients as well as help equip couples with skills, for example, in communication.

Help Couples Strengthen their Relationships

The foundation of a good relationship is being able to communicate. Sometimes communication becomes difficult and complicated by issues. When this happens, consulting a couple’s counsellor or sexologist is a good idea. Are you interested in assisting couples to communicate better as well as improve their relationship’s health and longevity? If so, consider studying counselling at SACAP. For more information, contact an admissions officer or enrol today.

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