Look for the small signs of deep connection and lean into the good in your relationship.
By David Schroeder — Updated on Apr 21, 2023
Photo: ZaitsevMaksym / Shutterstock
Partnerships can have many qualities and ingredients that help sustain the connection and love.
Consider the following nine qualities which are necessary to maintain a long, loving connection.
It really does come down to noticing the small, everyday signs of deep connection and leaning into the good in your relationship. If both partners are open and willing to embrace and work with these qualities, this can truly create a lasting and fulfilling partnership.
Here are nine simple-but-beautiful traits of relationships that last a lifetime
1. A desire to commit to the partnership
With this commitment, you value and respect the person you are with, taking them and your commitment seriously.
Living from your heart, with an appreciation for what your partner brings to the relationship and how they help you learn and grow as you experience life with them.
2. Good communication skills
You are both good listeners and seek to understand each other, getting beyond the words by asking questions for clarity and understanding.
You are able to speak your truth with words of peace with each other. Taking responsibility for your own feelings in your communication, rather than blaming your partner for your feelings.
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3. The willingness and commitment to offer unconditional love
You honor and support the imperfect person perfectly through understanding, acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness. Unconditional love and acceptance is the greatest gift we can offer another human being.
4. A commitment to the practice of deeper intimacy
You understand the importance of vulnerability and know that without vulnerability, trust and real intimacy are difficult to attain and sustain. Vulnerability and trust happen in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Intimacy means: “Into me you see.” Can you see your partner for who they are in that moment, without fear, criticism, or judgment?
The “how” of vulnerability happens by being honest with your feelings and experiences, or mindful of the ways you conduct and express yourself. You’ll also need to be open and accept yourself and your partner as you both are. Practice non-judgment.
It is especially important to practice the how first and foremost with yourself. If you are honest, open and willing with yourself, you will be honest, open, and willing with your partner.
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5. Freedom from the need to ‘fix’ or ‘condemn’ your partner
If you need to “fix” your partner, you are likely being a “rescuer” and thus avoiding yourself and your own insecurities and struggles with self-love. Also fixing someone enables that person to continue the same needy behavior patterns and will keep them in the victim and needy energy. Fixing or rescuing doesn’t empower your partner to change and grow.
Rather than fix them, consider coaching them, affirming them, and empowering them that the answer to their struggle is within them. Just being present for the other, holding space for them, listening to them, and affirming their struggles/concerns is often the best way to assist them in the situation.
Condemning your partner is judging your partner.
Judgment is the withholding of love. It’s not accepting them as they are. It’s another way of avoiding yourself; building yourself up as you tear the other down. This creates conflict, power struggles, and a sense of having power over another in the relationship. Relationships are meant to be about power-with, not power-over.
6. A healthy balance of ‘us’ time and ‘me’ time
It’s healthy and important to share time together. This should be quality time for connection and intimacy to develop and mature. It’s not about smothering or just being “roommates.” It means we desire and enjoy spending time with each other.
We also value being included in the company of our partner’s extended family, friends, co-workers, etc. Remember love is including not excluding. In this balance, we also value the importance of each partner having their own “me” time with family, friends, co-workers, wellness, etc.
Most importantly, as a couple, we honor the need for either of us to have times of solitude, or alone time.
7. Confidence that each partner has the other’s back when needed
When you or your partner is in need of aid or assistance, the other will be there as best they can, physically and/or emotionally.
Out of love, you give of yourself, without losing yourself to what’s needed or important from you. You don’t avoid your partner for your own selfish needs or out of fear of ignorance of their need.
8. Freely-shared appreciation, in affirming and service-oriented ways
This means that out of love, you freely affirm your partner and/or do acts of service without the need for payback or saying (or thinking), “You owe me.”
You also value the importance of physical touch, as a way of showing affection and keeping our connection alive; through hugs, holding hands and cuddling, etc.
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9. An acknowledgment that your partner is your reflection, teacher, and an opportunity for learning and growth
The issues that come up while being with your partner show you what wounds and false beliefs are not resolved within yourself. You must choose to take responsibility for this — along with treating yourself and your partner with respect and acceptance.
Yes, relationships are serious endeavors, and not to be taken for granted or lightly.
Having said this, a healthy and sustainable relationship is one that is more childlike, i.e. curious, unconditional, spontaneous, and playful, rather than childish, i.e. controlling, demanding, selfish, or conditional within it.
Incorporating these nine relationship qualities will go a long way toward having a healthy and mature relationship. One that offers inner awareness, strong connection, and intimacy.
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David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey.