Sometimes relationships can seem like a lot of work until you sit back and realize just how much you’ve been given. A thriving, healthy relationship requires some give and take, and is absolutely within your reach if you and your partner are willing to do a bit of work. If you and your partner are right for each other, all the work will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Part 1 of 2: Things You Must Do Independently
1. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Save yourself several hours of arguing by remembering this one rule: it’s not up to anyone else to make you happy. In a relationship your partner will try to please you and make you happy but in the end you are responsible for your happiness.
2. Make good on your words. Follow through on your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t say that you’ll cook dinner, or get a birthday present, and then blow it off or simply forget about it. What this does is systematically destroy trust. And relationships need trust in order to thrive.
3.Admit your mistakes. If you know you’ve done something to hurt your partner, intentionally or not, own up to it. Humble yourself and apologize sincerely, without making excuses or justifications like “I’m sorry you made me angry.”
4. Be realistic. Every relationship has disagreements and days when staying isn’t the easiest choice. But what makes a relationship healthy is choosing to resolve those problems and push through the hard days, instead of just letting issues and resentment fester.
5. Listen to your partner. Sometimes, all your partner wants is for you to lend an ear and be sympathetic about one of their problems. Other times, your partner wants you to actively give them advice. Know which one your partner is looking for, and try to give them what they want. Being a good listener is all about paying attention to what they’re saying and not blowing it off.
6. Show your affection in whatever way you can. There’s a difference between knowing that you’re loved and feeling that you’re loved. Sometimes, we bank on the fact that our partners should know that we love them even when we don’t show it. Don’t rely on this too much. The best relationships use affection to show love.
7. Be loyal. Make sure he/she knows that you will always be there for him/her. Put him/her first in your life as much as you possibly can. Not that you have to only see him/her ever, or never talk to anyone else, but he/she should know that he/she can always count on you if he/she needs something. Also, expect the same loyalty from him/her. You deserve to feel prized in the relationship just as much as him/her.
8. Do not ever hide anything from him/her. Especially your feelings about him/her and your relationship – whether good or bad! This way you will be able to overcome all the difficulties and challenges together. If something bad happened in your past that still affects you in the present, he/she needs to know about it. Note: you should be able to discuss your sexual history. It is an obligation before you decide to be sexually involved with your partner. But you should make them feel safe and not judgmental and you should expect the same from your partner.
9. Give him/her some space. Everyone needs their own privacy and some freedom, so don’t constantly watch everything he/she does. Everyone hates to be watched, stifled and controlled.
10. Express your feelings towards him/her. Always remind him/her of how much they mean to you, and what they represent to you. Women are not the only ones who need expressions of love and care, men need that too.
If you have a problem, you need to let him/her know – preferably in a clear and calm manner without any yelling. If he says `Are you OK?` and you answer yes, do not expect him to understand that you really meant no. Be honest and open.
11. Encourage him/her. So that he/she can be more successful at work or study. That will make him/her realise how much you care about his/her future and wish that he/she’d become one of the best. It will also make his/her feeling towards you grow even stronger, and he/she will believe that you’re ready to support him/her on anything he/she does.
Part 2 of 2: Things That You Must Do Together
1. Revive date-night. Going on dates, even if you’ve been in a relationship for years, is still important. In fact, it’s especially important for couples who have been together long enough to grow comfortable. Try to go on a date at least once every month. Some couples make it a priority to go on one date every week.
2. Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is a decision of letting go of the past and focusing on the present. It’s about taking control of your current situation, as you must offer it to your partner as much as you demand it from them.
3. Laugh together. Laugh at one another with the security of love. Laughter helps the world go ’round, and it may with your relationship, too. Laughter helps your body burn calories, increase blood flow, strengthen the immune system, and lowers blood sugar levels. Laughter can be comforting, infectious, or an aphrodisiac, and many things in between. Don’t forget to laugh.
4. Support each other. Being supportive means making your partner’s happiness and well-being a priority, in ways big and small. Keep in mind that part of why you’re together in the first place is that you’re each other’s biggest fans, so make sure you act like it. Try demonstrating your support in these ways:
5. Devote time to each other. Make spending time with your partner a priority, even if it’s a little inconvenient at first. Relationships need shared experiences to grow, and you’re demonstrating that nurturing yours is important to you.
6. Develop better communication. Most people aren’t born great communicators — it’s something nearly everyone has to work at. The way you talk to your partner might seem small, but you do it several times a day and it does have an effect. Consider these fixes: