Ever wondered how those cute old-aged couples you see still holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes after decades together managed to go the distance? Stick to these simple rules and you’re on the right track to becoming one of them…

Maintain your independence
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour with that person. Maintaining hobbies and a social life independent of one another will give you both some valuable time apart and make you appreciate your time together even more.

Support and nurture
Be aware of what’s going on in your partner’s life. If they’re having trouble at work, sit down and talk to them about it.  Ask questions, offer advice and do whatever you can to help them to relax and take their mind off things. Little gestures like giving them a soothing massage or running them a hot bath when they’re stressed will also go a long way toward securing your future happiness.

Share your feelings
Resentment is the most destructive emotion for a relationship. If your partner is doing something that irks you don’t just ignore it and carry on. Talk to them about it. You may end up exchanging a few cross words, but it’s far better to get things out in the open and work through the problem than to let things fester.

Good manners
After a few years together it’s all too easy to start taking one another for granted – neglecting to tell the other person when they look good or forgetting to thank them for taking the rubbish out. No matter how comfortable you become with each other always be polite.

Make them feel special
Keep the romance alive by treating your significant other to an occasional unexpected treat. Make them their favourite dinner or take them on a romantic date. Buy them a gift out of the blue just because you felt like it or send them a soppy text. Show them they’re always in mind no matter what you’re doing or how busy you are.

Make time for each other
Modern and hectic lifestyles can mean the time you spend together as a couple is taken up with practicalities like shopping for groceries. Be sure to set aside a few hours a week that’s devoted to just the two of you. 

Respect each other
Many successful long-term relationships are between people who have opposing or at least differing opinions on politics, religion and even money. Remember, it’s okay to differ, just as long as you respect your other half for his/her views even if you don’t always agree with them.

Be prepared to compromise
Similarly, now that you’re part of a couple you need to recognise that things won’t always go your way. Relationships are all about give and take and you need to be prepared to make the odd sacrifice for the sake of your partner if you want your relationship to thrive. On the plus side, you might be surprised at just how good being flexible and giving can make you feel.

Make love a lot
Sex is a crucial part of a loving and nurturing relationship, but is often one of the first things to wane when your life together becomes busy and stressful. Keep the magic alive in the bedroom by making time for sex, sharing your fantasies and going away on short breaks or weekends together as often as you can.

Take stock regularly
It’s only natural that both of you will evolve and grow as individuals over the years, so it’s important to have an annual relationship assessment to redefine and adjust your life goals together. What you both wanted from the relationship may have altered now that you’re a little bit older so check-in and make sure you’re both still on the same page.

Have constructive arguments
Every couple argues, it would be more worrying if you said you never did, but it’s how you handle these little altercations that will signal how well you’ll last as a couple in the long run. No matter how wound-up you are, listen to the other person’s point of view and never make personal attacks or interject. Remember, there should only ever be one person talking at a time.  Sometimes arguments will reach a logical conclusion and others you’ll just have to take a bit of time to cool off and agree to disagree.