The universal love question that most couples want an answer to: what's the secret to making a relationship last? Some say friendship, while others say communication — both valid responses — but the truth is, relationship success is largely dependent on intention and new beginnings. When I threw the loaded question at relationship expert Dr. Dain Heer, he provided three tips for couples without any hesitation.
1. "Getting over every judgment of you and your partner every single day."
This means seeing your significant other as they are. Throw away everything you've known about them, all the things they did yesterday that annoyed you, and anything else that could be clouding your perception of them. By doing so, you're ridding your relationship of any pretenses and allowing yourselves to start a blank page.
2. "Recognizing that you're choosing to be in a relationship . . . "
"And that you could also choose to leave, so you're making the choice to be there," Dain told us. Being mindful about what is making you stay will make you more appreciative of what you have in front of you. It's also his or her decision to stay in this relationship, as well, so what are you providing in return to make this just as meaningful and worthwhile for them? Having both parties acknowledge that effort is a two-way street will help prevent laziness and help you not take each other for granted.
3. "Destroy and uncreate your relationship as it was yesterday, every day."
Start anew each day. "You're destroying the structure, and you're also taking your creative energy out of making those judgments and those points of view and putting them into what's actually creative," he said. "It's a mindset, and it's a choice." Making it a conscious decision to let go of the past (including grudges) can help you both unveil the next chapter in your partnership. It's a way to start completely from scratch. You often hear advice such as "spice things up, try something new," but adding a piece of lingerie, for example, doesn't take away from any existing notions or expectations. But when you actively try to strip your relationship of anything bogging it down, you're left with a whole new foundation to work off of.
Dain shared how a woman in one of his relationship classes asked her husband to "destroy and uncreate" their marriage for their 25th anniversary. And she wasn't talking about divorce. "She said, 'What I want to do is I want to undo every point of view we had about each other, every wall, every judgment, and all of our past, every single day, so that we can create our relationship every day,'" Dain said. "He went, 'OK.' And they did, and their relationship got greater than it had been in 25 years, and it continues to this day because they still do it every single day."