How to maintain love?
Here are some recommendations based on psychological research findings, which may be helpful in promoting happiness and longevity in your relationships:
Pay Attention To Your Relationship Quality and Satisfaction In Its Early Stages.
Researchers suggest that primary satisfaction with a relationship usually remains quite stable across time (Huston, 2001). The types and frequency of conflicts that dating couples have and their initial level of happiness with one another may be close to or the same as they will be once these couples decide to live together or to marry.
Maximize Positive Affect and Good Times Together.
Ideally, couples enjoy joint activities and their time together; however, some level of disagreement is inevitable. Partners are happier and more committed when positive interactions between partners outweigh negative ones by a ratio of at least 5:1(Gottman, 1994).
Be Kind in Appraisals of Your Partner.
Researchers report that frequent and overt criticism in a relationship drastically lowers partners’ satisfaction (Gottman, 1994). However, in every couple partners may occasionally disapprove of each other’s behavior and feel disappointed and/or angry. In these situations, partners’ ability to create and maintain “positive illusions” about each other, that is to be less negative and more kind in their evaluation and feedback of their partners, can help to enhance relationship satisfaction (Murray, 1996). This means being able to link partner’s “transgressions” to their positive qualities and behaviors. For example, a partner may think, “Yes, he/she is moody today but overall he/she is most fun person to be with!”
Evaluate Your Partner as More Desirable Than Others.
The relationship is more likely to persist and stay satisfying when intimates see their partners as much more desirable than any other conceivable partner (Johnson, 1982, Rusbult, 1987). Our appraisal of alternatives relates to the degree of love and liking that we hold for our current partner and is a telling sign of whether the relationship will last. The more we like him/her, the less likely we are to desire, consider and rank favorably other potential partners.
Share Compatible Goals and Mutually Acceptable Plans with Your Partner.
All of human behavior is goal driven to some extent, and we enter our relationships with a set of personal goals, desires and expectations. Even though some mutual adaptation and adjustment may take place, incompatible goals and solving personal aims at the expense of another person results in disappointment and anger, and generates tacit and overt conflicts (Stein & Levine, 1990). For example, you may want to consider whether you are in agreement with your partner on if you want children and if so, when to start having them, whether you want to be more thrifty with your budget or spend it freely on traveling and entertainment, whether you want to live in a large city or in a more rural setting, and so on. Easy to overlook at the beginning, disagreements on these kinds of issues may lead to conflicts and potentially, separation.
Share Equal Give-and-Take Interactions.
Researchers suggest that even our interpersonal relationships are governed to an extent by some economic principles. Specifically, benefits and costs derived from interactions with our partner, both tangible and intangible, influence our level of satisfaction and commitment (Rusbult, 1987). Material or tangible costs may be buying gifts or sharing expenses, whereas “intangible investments” include sharing our time, affection, support, and advice, the “cost” of which cannot be precisely determined. Thus, it is never a precise and concrete balance, but it is our perceived sense of being treated fairly and equitably overall that is most critical.
Researchers suggest that partners need to reach a balance in their give-and-take exchanges as the highest satisfaction in a relationship is achieved when parties maximize joint rewards, not personal benefits (Kelley, 1979).
Balance Commitment to Your Relationship with Your Other Commitments.
Lastly, at the beginning and in the course of a relationship, partners usually generate some implicit and explicit “contracts” which are tacit and/or overt agreements about the mutually acceptable behaviors and relationship duties and responsibilities. Maintaining a balance between your relationship role commitments and other personal conflicting demands and responsibilities helps to enhance relationship quality and to promote its happiness and longevity (Stein & Levine, 1990).
As it is always possible that one or both individuals may change their desires and goals as a function of forward-edge development and unforeseeable circumstances, one of the most critical components of a solid relationship is a commitment to and engagement in open communication so that differences can be resolved. Create an environment where both you and your partner are able to express your beliefs, concerns, and preferences; so that your relationship can deepen and grow over the years, whatever comes your way.
Follow these recommendation(s) and see if it really works for you – SjC