Making a Relationship Work: What's the Secret?

Do you think that luck is an important factor for a long, happy, and satisfying relationship? There are other variables or factors that you can have control over. In this article, discover what they are.
Making a Relationship Work: What's the Secret?

Last update: 15 June, 2020

When many people see a relationship work, they think that the partners got lucky. Well, they should know that isn’t really the case. Short-term love isn’t difficult; we could say that it doesn’t require that much love or commitment. However, the initial passionate stage doesn’t last long, and making a relationship work requires effort.

Couples who have been in a long-term relationship seem to share certain qualities, habits, and patterns that make the relationship much more satisfying.

Among other things, people in long-term relationships enjoy better health. Many studies have proven that people who are in happy relationships live longer, have lower heart disease rates, and have higher cancer survival rates than single or divorced people.

This fact seems to be associated with mutual care within functioning couples. These are couples who still keep the love alive after so long and who take care of each other. How do they do that? Is making a relationship work easier than we think? Let’s delve deeper into some of the characteristics healthy relationships tend to share.

Good communication

Poor communication within relationships is the cause of many of the problems that end up ending them. Thus, assertive communication is very important. This is completely different from monologues, criticism, or repeating what one wants, needs, or desires. Assertive communication is only possible when it goes both ways.

Above all, more than 60% of divorces occur due to a lack of communication. Making a relationship work requires respect and understanding when it comes to communicating.

In this sense, knowing how to express yourself assertively, having a good attitude while listening to your partner, and doing your best to understand them are just some of the characteristics of good communication in all areas of life.

A couple hugging.

Partners in healthy relationships don’t only have common interests

Codependency is deadly for almost all relationships. Without a doubt, this isn’t part of a healthy relationship. Making a relationship work is all about keeping separate passions, interests, and concerns. It’s about being a team and, at the same time, maintaining your individual essence.

Having and respecting each other’s space and time is essential. If one partner doesn’t have a separate life, they’ll have little to contribute to the relationship. Being in a relationship is about loving each other and sharing quality time without being overly obsessive or suffocating.

Find things you like to do together, but don’t forget about the things you enjoy doing by yourself. Focus on yourself as well. Your professional life, your creative side, and personal interests are of great importance. Each partner must learn to recognize and appreciate the other’s achievements and respect each other’s space.

The importance of a good sex life

Last year, a study on the relationship between sex in a relationship and different levels of happiness was conducted. Over 30,000 people participated in it. The results showed that couples who had sex regularly also reflected a higher level of satisfaction.

It also revealed that displays of affection other than sex were a decisive factor in making a relationship work. Gestures that make people feel valued and loved, such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, are important.

Sex is important in making a elationship work represented by a couple smiling in bed.

A fair division of responsibilities

It seems mundane and repetitive, we know. However, couples who don’t know how to balance obligations and rights tend to end badly. When this happens, one partner usually ends up feeling responsible for the other, making them feel like a parental figure instead of a significant other.

Taking care of each other means exactly that: establishing responsibilities and rights for both partners and respecting them. Remember that balance is an essential ingredient in making a relationship work. The relationship must be fair for both, which is why finding middle ground is very important.

Making a relationship work consists of learning to disagree

It’s normal to disagree with your partner from time to time. Coexistence isn’t always perfect. Being yourself is very important when you’re in a relationship. In order to maintain your essence, it’s okay to sometimes disagree with your significant other. 

The secret for success isn’t thinking the same way as your partner all the time. In all honesty, that’s pretty much impossible. We’re all different, so the best thing to do is learn to disagree. You both have to listen to each other carefully and put yourselves in each other’s shoes.

Take responsibility for your emotional states and learn to manage them. In addition to respecting your partner’s opinion, you’ll be showing them that you’re in control of yourself and have emotional intelligence. Of course, this has to be mutual. There’s no point in having one partner work hard if the other doesn’t make an effort.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carr, D., Freedman, V. A., Cornman, J. C., & Schwarz, N. (2014). Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-Being in Later Life. Journal of marriage and the family, 76(5), 930–948. doi:10.1111/jomf.12133
  • Lavner, J. A., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2016). Does Couples’ Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction, or Does Marital Satisfaction Predict Communication?. Journal of marriage and the family, 78(3), 680–694. doi:10.1111/jomf.12301
  • Grover, Sean (2019) How to Make Love Last. Why do some couples remain madly in love, while others see love fade fast from their relationship? Recuperado de

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.