Relationships that go the distance do not seem to be part of the norm these days. We are in a time where marriage is not necessarily a life goal for many any more, nor does it seem to stand the test of time. Where did we go wrong? How can we find relationships that really last? Here are five keys to creating long lasting relationships.

1. Honesty & Trust

While many people think that honesty in a relationship should be a no-brainer, this is often taken for granted. Over time, people feel they can tell half truths or with hold some information. Honesty and trust are key foundation points for a long term relationship and something that can rarely be recovered if lost.

2. Keeping the Spark Alive

Fairy tale romances are just that- fairy tales. As a relationship progresses, the initial spark tends to simmer into a comfortable place of normalcy. It is imperative to keep the spark alive. It may not always be possible to do this on a daily or even weekly basis depending on your lifestyle (children, work, etc.). However, at least once a month, you and your partner should go out on a “real” date.

3. Shared Activities & Interests

While it has been said that opposites attract, you must have at least one or two things in common for a relationship to be long lasting. If you cannot find common ground in your current interests, create a new one that you both find fascinating and make that your thing. Having something to discuss and bond over helps strengthen your relationship.

4. Alone Time

It is healthy to have individual time and interests as well. There can be too much of a good thing and absence does make the heart grow fonder. Learn to spend some time apart enjoying activities that you love individually or with other friends. You never want to lose sight of your own self. It changes who you are and who your partner originally fell in love with, thus harming your long term relationship.

5. Be Prepared for Hard Work

Long lasting relationships do not just happen on their own. They are a roller coaster of ups and downs, good times and not so good times. There are days when the stress is nearly more than you can bear, and days when you cannot believe life is this amazing. The good days are easy. It is the tough days that will test the strength of your relationship. These are the days when you must be prepared for hard work. These are the days you must choose your relationship. These are the days you must decide that your commitment to your relationship is stronger that whatever bad stuff is trying to weigh you down. It is a choice to work hard. It is a choice to be happy. It is a choice to pick your relationship and do the work necessary to make it last.

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