Though love is the foundation of any healthy relationship, it takes more than love for your relationship to work.
To have a healthy relationship, both parties have to make an effort. No matter how long you have been in the relationship, there are some basic rules to follow. Putting them into practice isn’t always easy, but it’s imperative.
Every relationship is unique; there is no one size fits all. A happy relationship doesn't just happen by accident; it takes hard work and a strong commitment. So here are seven tips to make your relationship strong when love is not enough. The best part is they are all easy to do.
One of the tranquil ways to help your spouse feel valued is to show gratitude. According to a research study published in the journal Personal Relationships, “thank you” can make your relationship strong, as positive relationship outcomes are highly dependent on the amount of gratitude shown. The word "expect" is really dangerous in any relationship. Accept the fact that you are not together because that person is the perfect partner. You love them because they are not, and you love them for the way they are.
Accept the fact that you are not together because that person is the perfect partner.
It is better to let go of your expectations and appreciate what you have. It is a proven fact that couples who find little ways to show their affection and appreciation for each other are more likely to work together to overcome challenges. You can follow the three-day gratitude plan suggested by Rita Watson:
- Day 1 – Find three qualities that you love about your spouse and focus on those positive qualities for the entire day.
- Day 2 – Identify three things about yourself that make you angry and three things about your partner that irritate you. Now forgive yourself and your spouse for these things.
- Day 3 – For an entire day, speak only kind words to your partner.
Spend Quality Time as a Couple Regularly
It might be easy to slip into a hectic routine, especially if you both work. Well, you don’t need a drastic change in your everyday life or go on expensive dates or adventures to revitalize your relationship. You can put one day a week aside for the date night. Plan a movie night or aim to do something different together every week. Eat and cook together to spend quality time, or you could try a new hobby.
Have fun together and do something ridiculous. How much personal time is optimal fluctuates from couple to couple. What's most important is that partners agree on how much time they want together and apart. When handled properly, each spouse feels they’re getting their fair share. Even if you spend very little time together, the relationship is fine if the proportion is what your partner wants.
Understand How You Both Express Your Love
Some people express their love and affection through lots of hugs and physical affection. Other people might show it through action and small gestures. Some people might surprise their partner with movie tickets, date nights, and other romantic gestures. Understand how your spouse likes to express his love and affection. It can save your relationship from silly arguments and fights.
You don’t have to blame them if, for instance, they don’t hug you all the time or surprise you with exciting dates. On the other hand, you must try to understand how your partner likes to receive love. You can adapt accordingly and express your feelings in the way your other half would like to receive it. It is a two-way road, so you both have to work to make your relationship stronger.
Create Positive Memories Together
Another study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships revealed that couples who tried new things together, even for less than 90 minutes a week, were much content than those who did not. Lasting memories are one of the things that all of the happy and satisfied couples have in common. You don’t have to plan on creating happy memories; they just seem to happen. But there are some ways to go about intentionally making them happen:
- Break up your routine and experience new things together.
- Create things together like a new space in your home, make a snowman, or even cook a new recipe.
- Experience things that require active involvement like games, hikes, or other outdoor activities.
- Make time to acknowledge joyful moments and celebrate successes
Be Vocal about Things You Like
Dullness, frustration, and everyday irritations will kill the spark between you and your spouse. However, making the good stuff your top priority will work. First of all, consider the fact that it takes up to 20 positive statements to overshadow the damage done by a single negative one. So, compliment your spouse on his new shirt or thank him for helping around the house. Call your girlfriend for a quick “thinking of you” check-in.
Dullness, frustration, and everyday irritations will kill the spark between you and your spouse.
Make sure these compliments and thank you's are heartfelt. Make eye contact when you smile. It is always the right time for small acts of love, so make sure to express your love, even in little ways.
Conflict is a healthy part of any relationship. The important thing is how you handle it. Joint problem-solving ability plays a significant role in making a relationship stronger. With the right tools and attitude, conflicts can be a gateway to deeper intimacy. If you want to be a happy couple, try to avoid verbalizing critical thoughts, keep discussions from escalating, and don’t use absolutes like “never” and “always.”
Conflict is a healthy part of any relationship. The important thing is how you handle it.
Try to change the topic or inject humor if you think the discussion could lead to a fight. Empathize with your partner. Don’t bring your partner down to get on top of the argument. Try to avoid irrelevant details to prove your point. If things are getting heated and the fight isn’t going well, take a break.
Learn to Forgive
Being able to forgive and let go of the past is a critical tool in a relationship. But, holding grudges will hurt your relationship in the long run. By learning to let go of the little things, you will be able to avoid the kinds of petty conflicts that can damage your relationship. Research has found that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships.
Figuring out how to make a relationship last isn't easy, but the first step is realizing that no matter how crazy for each other you are, it still takes a lot of work to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. Sometimes, strengthening your relationship simply means saying thank you, giving a smile, and spending time together.