How to Create Love For the Long Run

I've been researching and writing about marriage for nearly 20 years, so it's not unusual for someone to ask me: What can I do to make my relationship last for the long run?

Here are three tips that I've learned along the way:

1) Just don't say no.

Most of us face a lot of no's no, you can't have a raise; no, you can't borrow that money; no, you can't have a refund at this store. If you want to improve your relationship with your partner, say yes whenever possible. Or at least don't say no. My wife of 21 years and I have an agreement: On big issues, such as vacation plans, parental decisions, job changes, etc., we can suggest something to the other and invoke the just-don't-say-no provision. That means that for 24 hours, the person on the receiving end of the suggestion cannot say no. In those 24 hours, it is that person's job to come up with a way of saying yes (a compromise, middle ground) that honors both parties.

2) Switch one chore.

Ask your partner which task/chore/housework piece he or she hates most. Then make a deal: You'll do that one if he or she will do the one chore that you hate most. It's amazing how often the chore one partner can't stand is no big deal for the other. And vice versa. A win-win for all concerned.

3) Nurture your partner's dreams.

Find out how your partner envisions the middle or long-term future say, five or ten years down the road, or perhaps in retirement. Then dedicate yourself to doing something each year that moves him or her closer to that dream. If he wants to travel the world, put away some money to make that happen. If she wants to write a novel, give her the gift of writing lessons. When one partner works to make the other partner's dreams come true, the bond between partners is solidified.

Adapted from VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Wives, Their Marriages, Sex, Housework and Commitment (Simon & Schuster), by Neil Chethik. To learn more about the book, click here.


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