What Navy SEALs Can Teach Us About Making Love Last

When I say “Navy SEALs” what comes to mind?

I think elite. Even superhuman.

Thanks to Hollywood and the media, chances are that the Navy SEALs elicit some kind of reverential response for you too.

What you may not realize is that when you watch elite military operatives on the big screen, you only see the sexy final one percent of effort.

Daniel Coyle writes:

“When U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 mounted its May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, it prepared by constructing full-scale replicas of the compound in North Carolina and Nevada and rehearsing for three weeks. Dozens of times the SEALs simulated the operation. Dozens of times, they created various conditions they might encounter.” (1)

In other words, what you don’t see is the other 99 percent.

Often, the same is true about relationships:

We say we want to join the elite ranks of happily ever after romance. But we’re focused on the outcome we want and discount the preparation required.

We assume that because it’s easy to fall in love that we know something about how to make it last.

What’s more, this fantasy-land approach has us wait until something is broken before we start doing the work required.

In an interview with Eric Barker, Navy SEAL platoon commander James Waters says:

“Most people assume if you’re a SEAL, you’ve been deployed in the combat zone every waking moment of the time you’re on active duty which, of course, isn’t the case. We spend 75% of our time preparing for deployment and about 25% on the deployment.” (3)

Navy SEALs don’t just show up and expect to succeed. They spend an overwhelming majority of their time preparing for the challenges they’ll face.

Likewise in relationships challenges are inevitable. The only question is who we will be in the face of those challenges.

So here’s a radical idea:

What if instead of waiting and wondering we prepared for success like Navy SEALs?

Ready to join the elite ranks of happily ever after?

Then let’s get to work!

Sources and Notes
1. David Coyne, The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills.
2. Check out Eric Barker’s article, A Navy SEAL Explains 8 Secrets To Grit And Resilience. Big thanks to Eric – his article helped inspire this post.


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Tara Book CoverHi, I’m Tara
Padua, founder of NextFem. I help high-powered women master their relationships.

As a professional executive coach since 2003, I’ve accrued more than 7,000 client-coaching hours working with 400+ female leaders at organizations like Condé Nast, Cartier, Deutsche Bank, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, Siemens and many, many more.

Healthy relationships are the foundation of a life that works, and my life experiences have fueled my mission to help women get the love they deserve.


  • Alia_R

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    Great article!

  • Beth

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    A long game mindset is crucial! Thanks for the reminder. B

  • Jazz1214

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    Very well said. Thanks!

  • Paula C

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    Thanks for the shout out to our service people. Important message about what it really takes. I’m in!

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