Staying in Love for the Long-haul


According to McKinley Irving Family Law, 41 percent of first marriages in the U.S. end up in divorce, and that number leaps to 60 percent for the second go-round. Those are scary statistics, but they don’t have to hold true for you and your spouse if you’ve committed to the long haul. We’ve all heard of love at first sight, but whether you fell in love instantly or you and your partner grew in each other in time, it takes some effort to stay in love for the long haul. If you keep kindling your feelings for each other, you’ll defy the divorce odds. Here are some ways to do it.

Focus on inner beauty and worth

A recent study on factors affecting marital longevity found that men who focus on their partners’ looks are 1.5 times more likely to end up divorced. Women who care deeply about their partners’ wealth are 1.6 times more likely to split. While it’s nice to have a hot husband or wife and to have a financially well-off partner, love shouldn’t be based primarily on those factors. Looks fade as you get older, and an accident or other unforeseen event could destroy them early on. Wealth makes life easier in many ways, but it can be lost unexpectedly. If either of those things happens, your relationship will endure if it’s also based on factors that run deeper, like your partner’s personality, mutual interests and goals, and overall compatibility.

Make time for each other

The study found that couples who went on a honeymoon were 41 percent more likely to stay together for the long haul. A honeymoon is just one way to make your partner a priority and spend quality time together. It’s easy to drift apart due to work and family responsibilities that intrude on your couple time, but you maintain a strong martial foundation when you purposefully make time for each other. Even if you missed your honeymoon, you’ll strengthen your bond by planning trips, or even local getaways or regular nights out together, right now.

Find ways to honor each other

Most couples find it easy to be romantic early in their courtship. One of the secrets to maintaining your love over the years is to keep finding ways to honor each other. Little gestures of love, like an unexpected bouquet of flowers, romantic dinner, or massage are nice, but take things a little deeper. Give your partner your undivided attention when he or she talks to you and make time to be together fully rather than in superficial ways. Even if romance dies down, that deeper level of love is much more powerful.

Cut your partner some slack

We’d all love a perfect partner, but that’s the stuff of fairy tales. No matter who you marry, your partner will have shortcomings. That’s fine because you’ll have your own faults, making it a two way street. You’ll stay in love for the long haul if you accept your spouse’s annoying habits and have someone who does the same for you.

Focus on the positives

Even if your spouse has foibles, he or she undoubtedly has good qualities, too. It’s easier to tolerate the quirks when you remind yourself of all the good things about him or her. Take this to another level by making a list of everything you love about your spouse, then sharing it. It’s easy to take a partner for granted, so make an effort to accentuate and share the positive. The more you keep things upbeat, the greater your chance of beating the odds and maintaining your loving feelings in the long term.