What's the secret to a long term relationship? Well, there are many things that keep a relationship going. But couples who have managed to stay together for years can all attest to these three things being at the centre.

Relationships are bound to have some rocky seasons for one reason or the other, some of which end up in separation. However, according to researchers, there are several things that make some couples' relationships last longer. Here are the three most common factors for relationship success:

1.Proper conflict resolution

Your relationship is bound to run into some problems no matter how much you two love each other. However, what will make your relationship stand trials and common relationship pitfalls is how well you are able to solve conflicts when they occur. If a couple can resolve their conflicts and can end their arguments well, they’re more likely to stay together and be happy. No one is necessarily born knowing the best way to handle conflict, and that’s okay.  You just have to make a concious effort to resolve them in the best way possible, usually starting with proper communication. Therapists can also be involved to ensure that things do not spill over.

2. Sexual satisfaction

Many studies show a co-relation between sex and sexual intimacy and successful relationships. However, it is not so much how many times you have sex as it is how much you are able to connect with your partner on a physical level. Some studies suggest experimenting with new positions, places and talking about sex.

Sexual satisfaction in a relationship can prevent one person from stepping out to seek it elsewhere which could lead to separation or divorce. Infidelity is one of the leading causes of relationships ending.

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3. Appreciation

Relationships are about give and take and for successful couples, both individuals are careful to appreciate what the other person brings to the table. It's in the little things such as saying thank you after someone has cooked or helped with the chores, doing your part of the chores around the house so that one person is not overwhelmed, a foot massage after a long day or staying up with them as they work on a project.

Photo: Afrikanafilmfestival

Appreciation also includes paying attention to the things that are important to your partner such as what they like to order at a restaurant.