Long-term relationships are wonderful; they bring a consistent source of support and affection, and provide a unique form of companionship different from other relationships. They are also a lot of work to maintain. Long-term partners are with us through major changes and life events: new jobs, lost loved ones, major illnesses, the list goes on! These situations bring with them a lot of emotions and changes–permanent and temporary–to the relationship dynamic. It’s important to be able to navigate these big commitments with healthy communication and respect. Now that you’re planning a future together, how are you working to ensure both your needs are met for careers, growth, and life goals? Are you able to navigate arguments with respect and compromise? Health in relationships doesn’t mean never disagreeing, but it does mean being able to discuss disagreements without name-calling, bringing up past arguments, or shutting each other out.

Long-term couples also share big responsibilities with one another. Sharing a house, getting married, or adopting a pet are permanent changes that don’t disappear with the end of a relationship. Have upfront and honest conversations about these commitments, and try to consider every possibility. What if one of you gets a job in a different city–will you keep the house and try long-distance, or move somewhere closer together? Discuss the finer details of the decisions as well: who will do the yard work, how much the dog will cost, how to raise the children. Long-term relationships require work and commitment, but if partners are honest and upfront with each other, they will be able to navigate any challenge with love and respect.