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1. How quickly you forgive each other. As humans, we are massively flawed. On average, a human being makes at least two mistakes a day. What counts in a relationship is how quickly you forgive each other’s mistakes. My grandmother always said, “Don’t go to bed angry with each other.” This is excellent advice for a long-lasting, loving relationship.
2. How you respond to each other under pressure.The truth is that relationships are made through a trial by fire. It either burns you alive or it forges you. Your partner’s response under pressure should balance yours. If you panic easily, they need to be reassuring or vice versa. If you are able to get out of a stressful situation together in one piece, your relationship is worth keeping.
3. How closely your goals for your futures match. Relationships that come with an expiration date usually begin that way, too. It is important to establish with your partner whether they envision the same thing for yourselves in the future as you do. It won’t work if he/she doesn’t see a marriage and you do, or if you don’t want children and he/she does.
4. How much expectation you put on each other. Expectations are the leading cause of relationships falling apart. You see, we dream and make this idea of a perfect relationship with a soul mate and put all of that celestial pressure on a human being who is flawed. And of course they let us down. You can’t expect someone to defeat all of their flaws simply because you are in their life. You can’t expect the moon and the sun from them, either.
5. How secure you are in your relationship with each other. Jealousy is the worst. First of all, it makes the other person believe you don’t trust them, and that hurts. And secondly, it reduces the other person to feeling like they are a possession. If you cannot trust your guy to go to a stag party or your girl to sleep over at a friend’s place, what are you doing in a relationship together?
6. How you treat each other’s friends. It is extremely important to keep your friendships outside of your relationships. Your best friends, the friends who were there for you through crisis, will stay with you before and after your relationships. So it is important that you treat each other’s friends well. Accept them as a part of your other half’s life and make them feel welcome. You don’t have to like all of them, but treating each other’s friends with dignity and respect is a sign of maturity and caring about your partner.
7. How you treat each other’s families. As a little girl, I often said that I wanted someone in my life who looked after and treated my parents and siblings the way I hope to treat theirs: with a lot of respect, kindness, and love. If you want your relationship to be long-term, you need to bond with each other’s families and try to grow closer to them. In times when your partner fights with his or her family, it is important to be able to give them perspective as opposed to blindly agreeing with them.
8. How well you celebrate each other’s successes. There is nothing worse than being with someone who is insecure about your success. As a partner, you are supposed to feel pleased and happy when your other half achieves something. You are supposed to celebrate it, not pull them down and make them feel unhappy about it.
9. How much space you give each other. This is an extremely important one. If you feel the need to be around your partner 24/7, then neither of you is getting the time you need to miss each other. Even the longest lasting marriages are made not from constant togetherness, but rather from the ability to give each other space and time to reflect and contemplate, to let things go and to learn how to be better by doing something they love, such as a hobby or reading. There is evolution in solitude.
10. How well you grow together. This is an essential one for long-term relationships. If one person is growing faster than the other, inevitably they will part ways. If you see yourself evolving faster than your other half, the relationship simply will not last much longer.
Nikita Gill is the author of Your Soul is a River, a book about healing and becoming whole again. Read an interview with Nikita about her poetry, Instagram, and writing as a woman of color here.