On Amazon you can find hundreds of thousands of books on relationships, marriage, and sex. Which proves that most people are striving for a successful and fulfilled long-term relationship or marriage with a life-partner. But what exactly is the major factor and the basis for a successful long-term relationship?
I asked myself this question more and more often over the past two or three years. Why do some couples act like true long-term “life-partners” while others struggle with everyday life and end up in arguments more often than not?
My curiosity prevailed me to study other couples and spouses. Old and young some I either knew in person, I observed in public or stumbled upon on YouTube. Over the past years I formulated my own hypothesis why some relationships work out harmoniously while others are pure bedlam.
When couples grow together while being equally committed to a long-term relationship, they have the best fundament for a fulfilled life-long partnership.
Growing Together: From teen to adult
I postulate that the best basis for a successful and fulfilled relationship is meeting your life-partner in your teenage. Which lays anywhere between 16 and 21 years of age. In this phase of life, you are both still quite childish. You haven’t yet defined how your life will look like. Maybe you have interests you wish to pursue and dreams you want to make reality. From growing up you have certain values. But what you don’t have is a clear plan or idea how to live your life. How to grow as a person? How to pursue your dreams and make them reality?
This growth process will start with the end of one’s teenage. For some people this is 16 years, for others it will be 21, 22 or 23 years of age. If you meet your love of your life in your teenage and you transition from being a teen to being a young adult together you – in my opinion – have the best basis for a fulfilled long-term relationship.
Why is it so important to meet as a childish teenager? I believe that in your young age, your character, your values, your goals, your vision of how your life should ideally look like are not yet formed. You are childish and naive. When two characters – which are childish and naive but in love – meet early, they have a truly unique chance to grow together. If both are in for the long-term, their spirits, values, attitudes, understanding, and vision of their future will grow hand-in-hand.
While they met as naive teens with no clue about life, they – within years – see themselves go hand-in-hand as grown adults with a like-minded mindset in every aspect of life.
Clashing of Two Mindsets
If – on the other hand – couples meet later in life, two fully formed characters and mindsets clash with each other. A 28-year-old person has already developed his own mindset when it comes to his life. From ethics, morals to his own definition of what an ideal partner and his own life should look like. If some of these mentalities overlap, the two persons will continue dating and eventually find themselves in a partnership or marriage. However, as both met as fully grown adults, many attitudes and values will differ from each other. This clash of two different mindsets will lead to arguments and unfulfilled expectations. One or both partners will quickly question whether they are compatible. As their attitudes and values are already fully formed, it is tremendously unlikely that both partners will change them, in order to create an aligning mindset.
Therefore, in order to successfully find a long-term partner later in life, it is crucial to identify a partner which is >80% aligned with your own mindset, attitudes, and values. Furthermore, you both should envision the same mutual future and both have a growth mindset.
Growth Mindset Is Crucial
Even if you met your love of your life early in your teenage, there is obviously still a large possibility that you will not end as a married couple 75 years later. What makes the difference? I propose it is a mutual growth mindset. When you meet as teenagers, you both grow together into adults. But both need to be 100% committed to growing together – which I define as a common curiosity for life and their relationship. A common curiosity to improve oneself, to improve the relationship, to define goals and dreams together, to work towards them.
If there is one person in the relationship who is deciding to stop growing together with the partner, the relationship will fail.
When you reach maturity together, you as a couple have ideally already imprinted this growth mindset into your mutual mindset – therefore I believe it is easier for couples who met in their teens to grow old together.
But how do I know?
But how do I know if he or she is the right one? Naturally you will experiment a lot in your teenage. You meet and date dozens of potential partners. Through this process one will quickly realize which personality matches your own. I believe that dating is all about testing the Ying-Yang between two persons. If two persons really match, the presence of the other person will feel truly harmonious. By dating dozens of potential partners in your teenagers, you will through a trial and error process. Ultimately you meet one person where you end up saying to yourself: “this just feels right”. This “click moment” is the best basis to start a 100% committed relationship and to start growing together. As a couple you now have the best chance to become like-minded partners for life. But don’t forget rule #1: never stop growing, together!