Relationships can be tricky. If you’re not vigilant, small issues can accumulate, leading to explosive events that irreparably damage the relationship. Good relationships take constant work.
If you’re in a relationship with someone you truly love, you need to know how to make your bond last over the long run. Here are some strategies you can employ to make your relationships more fulfilling and robust.
1. Be honest.
Honesty is one of the most crucial aspects of good relationships. Think deeply about what you feel about your relationship and each other. Don’t glaze over the uncomfortable bits. Usually, the things that cause you the most discomfort are the ones you need to work on the most.
Don’t lie to yourself or each other about feelings or disappointments that could turn into crippling resentment in the future.
2. Don’t take your partner for granted.
If you’ve been together for a long time, it’s easy to assume that your partner shares your thoughts or feelings about certain issues.
Even if you are in a relationship, you are two fundamentally separate people. Don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking. Doing so is a recipe for major problems.
3. Talk about your feelings.
When you’re going through tough times as a couple, it is easy to keep your thoughts bottled up. Don’t make this mistake. To succeed as a couple, you have to vocalize your thoughts. If you’re having a bad day, let your partner know.
If you would like a hug, tell your partner that you’d like to be hugged. Don’t expect that they will react exactly as you want to them to. Share your needs and desires with each other and work things out mutually.
4. Listen to your partner.
Most people don’t really listen in conversations; they just wait for their turn to talk. This can make conversations feel hollow and unsatisfactory. When you’re having a conversation with your partner, try to listen to what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.
They might be saying something that is hurtful, but it might be because they’re going through something painful. Don’t fixate on the words that are coming out of their mouth. Listening generates empathy, which is great for relationships.
5. Schedule regular progress reports.
Most couples understand that they need to talk about their relationship, but they leave it for an unspecified date in the future. If you want your relationships to last, make time for regular conversations about your relationship.
You can use one of several questionnaires available online or you can come up with your own. Here is a relationship report card you can download for free.
6. Learn how to trust your partner.
Problems happen in every relationship. Events or people from your past might resurface in unexpected ways, forcing you to reexamine how you feel about each other and the relationship. Building trust is critical if you want to ensure your relationship can survive any obstacles that might appear in the future. To trust someone else, you have to learn how to be vulnerable in their presence.
You need to talk about your hopes, dreams, and fears. By sharing the most intimate parts of your soul with your partner, you can build trust. You need to know that your partner has your back, come what may.
7. Give each other space.
Healthy relationships need boundaries and personal spaces. Just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have to be involved in every waking moment of their lives.
Give each other the space to learn, grow, and be alone. When arguments occur, learn how to fight fair and call a time out so that a disagreement don’t turn into blowouts. Be mindful of codependent behaviors, which if left unchecked can unintentionally act as a destructive force.
8. Don’t be afraid to disagree.
You don’t have to agree with your partner about everything. In fact, agreeing with everything your partner says is a surefire way to cause relationship problems. You have to accept conflicts as part of a relationship and look at them as opportunities to learn something new about each other. Don’t be too hurtful or say something you might regret later if you’re in conflict.
Make sure you convey that you respect the other person’s opinion and state your reasons for disagreeing. At the same time, don’t be too adamant about getting your way. If your partner has a better point of view, be prepared to accept that you were wrong.
9. Learn how to compromise.
Good relationships require lots of compromises. You have to find a middle ground between what you want and what your partner wants. If you’re honest with each other, you can always find a mutually agreeable solution to any problems you might face.
Have empathy for your partner’s hopes and dreams, and learn how to work as a team.
10. Don’t be afraid of change.
Age and experience change people. Don’t be afraid of this phenomenon. You and your partner are growing together. After a few years together, you might find that your partner has changed considerably as a person from the time you first fell in love with them. Instead of panicking, take the time to understand and cherish the new aspects of your partner.
Relationships that withstand the test of time require a lot of time and effort from both parties. However, being with someone who loves and understands you is tremendously fulfilling and therefore worth the effort. Use the tips mentioned above to ensure that your relationship is rock-solid.