Does being together for a long time mean people like each other more or less? Does it mean they are used to each other and settle for habits each one cannot stand in the other? Does it mean love is easier and smoother and there is more tolerance for each other? Does it mean the knowledge of what really counts in life? These many questions have various answers depending on the individual situation of each couple and what they consciously work out with each other.

People who have stayed together often comment that is so different to be with someone so many years. They could hardly imagine this place when beginning on the journey of love together. At that time, they somehow think it will stay the same and be easy and weathering the storms will just happen.

Yet, it is not easy to keep the spark alive. Partners must work at it. Not work like slogging along but work as in loving and being self and other aware.

Longevity comes up as our relationship lives are changing. We are living longer than ever. Several years ago The Wall Street Journal carried an article about the rising amount of divorces of people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and so on. On reading this I wondered why they waited so long and why there seemingly was no repair or mention of attempts to remain together. Or was there? Did they just assume after all these years there was no way either could or would change? Maybe they lacked the tools or the way to find and develop them. Maybe they lacked the desire, which is an important essence to a long relationship.

There is also the problem that people put up with what they do not like for so long, and then it turns out to be for too long. It is obvious that life can be fulfilling if worked upon rather than ignored. Yet this is not so easy when couples feel without guidance and resist admitting the need for help. This situation can only get worse the longer the couple remains together. And, quite essentially, a level of honesty and self-awareness may have been missing all along. This is a key for a couple learning to become open and free with each other.

In further thinking about the ingredients of couples maintaining longevity with spark and zest, it can be viewed as similar to what happens with the growth of an individual person, just complicated by the fact that there are two people. Some hints to their continuing development of communication are:

The ability to be scrupulous in self-reflection and self-awareness is essential.

The sharing of day and night dreams helps people remain close to the psyche of each other.

The simple as well as the most complex events, dates, trips and occasions add into the mix for maintaining an element of the unusual. Going to the store can be as marvelous, albeit in a different way, as the most posh restaurant.

The realization and reinforcement that it is the company that counts, the quality of how you feel while with your partner and how you keep this feeling special and loving.

Author's Bio: 

Susan E. Schwartz, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, was trained at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland and also has a degree in clinical psychology. She has contributed articles and chapters in several professional journals and books. She lectures and presents workshops on psychological relationships worldwide.