It makes you happier with each passing day, needs constant upkeep to maintain its mojo, and provides you with endless entertainment. No, we aren’t talking about an Audi R8 sports car—we’re talking about your relationship. If you’re in a good one, making it last longterm isn't rocket science—really. In fact, we found research to back that up.
Scientists at the University of Illinois recently analyzed 45 studies and 12,273 reports on relationships and narrowed down their findings into five strategies for keeping the bond strong with your significant other. According to the pros, here are the best strategies to include in your relationship game plan:
1. Clear the air. Talk about whatever's on your mind, even if it’s just that you’re annoyed she left her makeup all over the bathroom counter. Putting it off will only force you to bottle up emotions and that could lead to passive aggressive actions later on.
2. Get happy. If you’re pissed off, chances are your crappy mood will rub off on everyone around you, including your girlfriend. Sure, sometimes a bad mood is unavoidable, but do your best to stay positive..especially on date night.
3. Divide and conquer. Who knew that simply divvying up chores could help your relationship? Taking part in shared responsibilities reminds her that you’re committed—and it gets things around the house done a heck of a lot faster which will make her even happier.
4. Mix it up. Of course you love your one-on-one time with her, but including friends and family in your activities can actually help you out as a couple. It shows your girlfriend that you are interested in the people she cares about and gives her the opportunity to get to know your crew as well.
5. Leave no doubts. Simply put, make sure she knows that you are 100% into her—and not just for her looks. Encourage her to achieve her own goals and lend support whenever she needs it most. You don’t have to make an elaborate production out of building her up; a sum of small daily gestures should do the trick.
So, what’s the end result of all these rules? A rock solid relationship. If it all sounds like too much to take on at once, don't panic. Just start with one strategy and build your way up. The University of Illinois study found that a person who practices one of the strategies is more likely to practice the others as well, so one may be enough! Fights over dirty dishes and leaving the toilet seat up or down will still ensue, but in the long run remember that it’s the effort that counts.