Sometimes relationships can seem like a lot of work until you sit back and realise 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.
Things you must do independently
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.
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.
• If you’re bad at remembering things, write it down on a personal planner or calendar, and set up reminders on your phone.
Admit your mistakes. If you know you’ve done something to hurt your partner, intentionally or not, own up to it. Humble yourself and apologise sincerely, without making excuses or justifications like “I’m sorry you made me angry.” you have to be responsible for your actions and cannot make anyone else feel guilty for what you have done or didn’t do.
• Commit to changing your behaviour. If you notice yourself apologising for the same mistake over and over, step it up a level. Tell your partner that you recognised this mistake keeps happening, and you want to train yourself to stop. Request help and ask for him or her to gently point it out to you when you’re making this mistake again.
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. working through your problems will help you be a much positive person.
• Review your expectations. Do you see your partner as a person, with both winning qualities and flaws, or as someone you expect to be perfect? If your expectations are so astronomical that no one could live up to them 100% of the time, you’re setting up your relationship for failure. Learn to embrace their differences. You can learn a lot from them.
• Accept that conflict happens. If you expect to be in a long-term relationship, you’re bound to have the occasional disagreement. Remember that one argument isn’t the end of everything, and there’s no person on earth that you’d agree with all the time.
• Always ask yourself whether you’re better off in the relationship than out of it. If you don’t think you’re better off in the relationship, then you probably should have a serious discussion with your partner. In a loving relationship, this question almost always gets a simple “Yes.”
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.
• You can always ask “Are you looking for advice, or do you just want to vent?”
• Listening to your partner will enhance your relationship in many ways. It will help you resolve differences without arguing; let you explore each other’s personality more deeply.
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.
• Do something for your partner that you know they will truly appreciate. Whether it means getting up early to mow the lawn, taking the kids to karate, or baking it’s often the little favours that say the most.
• Don’t be afraid to show physical affection every once in a while. Loving relationships feed off of the little kisses, hugs, and back-rubs that are mainstays of affection.
• Do the unexpected. It’s one thing to kiss your partner after you come home from work; it’s another thing to kiss your wife while you’re skydiving, falling 10,000 feet (3,048.0 m) from a plane. It’s the thought that counts, so put a little effort into it for huge returns.
Be loyal. Make sure they know that you will always be there for them. Put them first in your life as much as you possibly can. Not that you have to only see them ever, or never talk to anyone else, but they should know that they can always count on you. Also, expect the same loyalty from them. You deserve to feel prized in the relationship just as much as them.
Do not ever hide anything from your partner. Especially your feelings about them 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, they need to know about it.
• 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 free from judgment, and you should expect the same from your partner.
Give them some space. Everyone needs their own privacy and some freedom, so don’t constantly watch everything they do. Everyone hates to be watched, stifled and controlled.
• Do not ever spy on your partner (reading their phone, stalking them on social networks, following them around). If they are cheating on you, you will find out. These things cannot be kept secret for very long. But if you spy on them and they are innocent, you will lose their trust and respect forever.
Express your feelings towards them. Always remind your partner 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 them know—preferably in a clear and calm manner without any yelling or blaming. If your partner says `Are you OK?` and you answer yes, do not expect them to understand that you really meant no. Be honest and open.
• Let them know it is safe to open up to you about what they are feeling. Reward their trust in you by sympathising with them and, but you don`t need to say much, just listen.
• Don’t let fear of losing them stop you from expressing your feelings, or spend every minute fearing the huge pain that might cause you. Enjoy each wonderful moment as it happens, and realise that there will never be another one just like it.
• A solid relationship should be based on mutual respect; if you are constantly trying to pull them down with you, this means you don`t respect them enough to want them happy. If you’re having serious issues with depression, self esteem, or mental illness, start seeing a counselor.
Encourage your partner. Encourage their efforts and successes in their work/study. This shows how much you care about them and believe in them. It will also make their feelings towards you grow even stronger, and they’ll know that they can count on you for support.
Always make sure to notice your partner and compliment them. It will make them feel appreciated. Has your partner got a new dress or has changed their hairstyle? Tell them how much you like it. It will make their day.