Love is not a feeling, it is a set of actions—love is a verb. It also doesn’t just happen, nor does it fix all of our problems. Love is not magic. For love to be magical, you have to make it so. Love also evolves. It deepens. It does not stay the same as it was in the beginning.

This is why we often hear people say things like, “I love my partner, but I am not in love with my partner.” You cannot stay in the in love phase forever. That’s just not realistic. To sustain a relationship long term, you have to let go of this notion and accept that love changes. You need to put effort into your relationship. You need to prioritize your couple, always trying to make your partner feel loved and desired.

Good communication is another must for a healthy long-term relationship. Have compassion for your partner, don’t assume your partner is out to hurt you and accept each other’s differences (even in the way you communicate).

Think of it as cooperation rather than competition. Strive to understand your partner’s point of view. Listen with empathy rather than preparing a rebuttal in your head. And finally, don’t try to change your partner (you will most certainly be met with resistance!)  You can only change yourself.

Successful long-term relationships require effort. It is possible to “live happily ever after,” but only if you work at it.

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