February 11

What makes a relationship last? Foundations for a Healthy Relationship

What makes a relationship last?

Many couples get engaged between December and February. Valentine's Day throws a massive spotlight on love and romance and motivates couples to start planning their life together. With the timeline of the average 14-month engagement, there's a lot to do in a short period of time. Thinking about topics to discuss in premarital counseling is often on the to-do list.

I work with couples who are planning to get married. They have lots of questions and are often extremely impressed that my husband and I have been married for so many years - - often longer than they have been alive. To us, it doesn't seem like a big deal. It doesn't feel like it's been as long as it has. We can still remember what it was like when we were younger. However, looking back, we've learned a lot along the way.

In premarital counseling, the question that seems to come up over and over again is, "What makes a relationship last?" Couples wonder what it's like to have a long-term relationship. 

I love working with new couples and answering their questions. They inspire me to think about things differently. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what makes my marriage work. I have pondered what makes a difference for the couples I work with when their relationships take a turn for the better.

The question, "what makes a relationship last" is a good one. It is one of the essential topics to discuss in premarital counseling. However, it does not have a simple, straightforward answer. There are essential elements, but you have to find what works for you and your partner. A healthy, lasting relationship involves teamwork. It takes time to hone in on what is suitable for you. Be patient with each other as you find your stride. You have time.

Brightly colored blocks of different shapes and sizes fit together to represent foundations for a healthy relationship.

Foundations for a Healthy Relationship

Premarital counseling is an important step in building a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. Having a list of topics to discuss in premarital counseling can set you up for success. By discussing issues such as communication, problem-solving, and expectations in premarital counseling, you can create effective strategies to handle any situation you may face together.

When you understand each other's perspectives better, everything goes more smoothly. At the beginning of your marital relationship, you build a mindset about your partner. It is essential that your mindset supports healthy interactions.

Some concepts that help create foundations for a healthy relationship are:

  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Humanness
  • Assume the best
  • Respect
  • An effort to see the other side
  • Awareness of bias
  • Always remember that your partner loves you
  • There is often no clear right or wrong
  • Letting things go

Committing to your relationship is committing to growth. When you welcome the discussion of challenging issues, you create the opportunity to grow together. Growing together helps you stay on the same page and develop a deeper understanding of your partner.

Creating foundations for a healthy relationship is a big part of what makes a relationship last. Many details also contribute, but those tend to vary from couple to couple.

Young Black couple playing in nature with her riding on his back to show what makes a relationship last.
Blonde wood letters on a dark wooden table that spell out PLAN with an lit up incandescent light bulb above it to represent the planning process of topics to discuss in premarital counseling.

Topics to Discuss in Premarital Counseling

There are so many different topics you can explore with your partner. It is only possible to cover some of them here. An overview of topics that can be helpful to discuss before marriage is a more realistic goal.

Attending premarital counseling will provide insight into what makes a
relationship last and identify potential problems before they become deeply ingrained habits. It can help you avoid common issues, help create solid foundations for your relationship and improve your connection.

Counseling sessions can cover a wide range of topics, from communication skills to financial planning. By addressing such foundational issues early on, you can avoid potential conflicts and misunderstandings in the future.

Discussing topics that directly affect your relationship is essential to learn
what makes a relationship last. These include communication dynamics,
family background, beliefs, and values, managing expectations, roles and
responsibilities, sexual history, career aspirations, goals, and money
management strategies.

You may also discuss other pertinent topics, such as past trauma,
addictions, timelines, parenting styles, and how to handle conflict

Common topics to discuss in premarital counseling include:

  • What a healthy relationship looks like
  • Communication
  • Relationship Roles
  • Different Personality Styles
  • Processing and Planning
  • Beliefs and Values
  • Healthy Boundaries
  • Meeting Needs
  • Division of Labor
  • Sexuality
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Conflict Management
  • Financial Management
  • Careers
  • Housing
  • Special Issues
  • Preferences and Pet Peeves
  • Timeline
  • Family planning - Children and Parenting
  • Extended Family Relationships

These foundations for a healthy relationship might seem like a lot and feel overwhelming. Keep in mind that you don't have to address all these things all at once. Take it one step at a time. You are still at the beginning of your relationship. 

You have lots of time to make decisions together and fine-tune your relationship. Keep asking each other questions. Plan together, so you have a united vision for your future. As you grow together while traversing the different stages of your relationship, your views will change. You will need to keep communicating and changing your plans to fit your situation and mindset. 

The topics to discuss in premarital counseling listed above can give you a start as you begin to discuss your future together. Many couples find it easier to talk about these topics with a therapist who can ask additional questions to guide decisions and get into the details. 

The only constant is change. Everyone is constantly changing. When you expect change, your mindset is different. You see the world around you differently. When you support each other through changes, you create a stronger bond to carry you through the next change.


healthy relationhisps, premarital counseling, what makes a relationship last

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