Business Insider has a very interesting article that summarizes the requirements for lasting relationships into two traits: kindness and generosity. I have read the article and agree with the whole body. I would however rephrase the summary into these two traits: respect and civility. Not that my summary differs much from theirs.
Civility is actually a synonym for courteousness and politeness, both being very strong traits of kindness. To make matters worse, respect is also stated as a synonym of civility. So scratch that. The one thing you need the most to keep your relationship long lasting is civility.
In my over 15 years of counselling on relationship matters, my conclusion has been that mutual respect/civility is perhaps the strongest ingredients in keeping two people together. Once a relationship degenerates into a scenario in which one person stops being civil – one person starts being verbally or physically abusive – things will go downhill pretty fast if the rude behaviour is unchecked. Once one party cannot be civil any more, basically it is over.
I disagree with those who say that respect must be earned. Everyone deserves to be respected – young or old, male or female, rich or poor. An attitude of respect is a reflection on who you are, not on the identity of the recipient. It is different for trust. Trust must be earned. But giving respect unconditionally is the cornerstone of civility. You do not have to like what a person said or did to show them respect. Consider that when the commanders of opposing armies in a war meet, they treat one another with the utmost respect, no matter how much they hate one another’s guts.
Be civil at all times. What we call abuse in relationships is basically incivility. Disrespectful (read rude) people are abusive people. As a matter of fact, I tell people: Do not get intimate with a disrespectful person. Regardless of how sweet they are to you now, sooner or later, you will be at the receiving end of their abuse.
It is sad that civility is a fast-dying trait in this age. We insult people we disagree with, when in reality a disagreement may only mean a difference of perspective. Imagine carrying that attitude into an intimate relationship, including marriage. Boom! It is my firm belief that if any two people will respect one another’s differences and act with courtesy, graciousness and manners towards one another even when they disagree, they can and will likely thrive together.
The Business Insider article is highly recommended: Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits.