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13 simple things that will make your relationship stronger than ever

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Who wouldn’t like their relationship to be strong and healthy?

Who wouldn’t like to feel sure about and secure in their relationship?

Who wouldn’t want to keep a relationship going with love and happiness so that it lasts the test of time?

These things are all possible.

You can make your relationship stronger.

Here’s how…

1. Be radically open and vulnerable.

It’s easier to keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves than to risk revealing them to someone else.

But your partner isn’t just any old somebody.

They are the person you have chosen to love and be loved by.

If there is anyone who you should feel able to share your inner self with, it is them.

That might mean telling them just how much you love them when it’s not something you openly express.

It might also mean discussing your fears or concerns with them – not only about your relationship, but about your life, job, health (mental and physical), or anything else.

The emotional connection that can be forged from radical openness and vulnerability cannot be underestimated.

Related article: 7 Ways To Be Emotionally Vulnerable In A Relationship

2. Focus on your own faults, and communicate these.

One of the benefits of being vulnerable is that you become more willing to admit your own shortcomings.

Being able to look honestly and objectively at yourself and your behavior and see where you might be a source of pain or upset, can do wonders for your relationship.

Suddenly, rather than seeing your partner as the cause of all the troubles you might have, you are able to see the part you play in them.

But the real benefit of owning your faults is that, by communicating these to your partner, you instantly disarm them.

Rather than feeling attacked and like their worth is being diminished, they will quite likely feel compelled to look at their own behavior and see where they might be able to change for the better.

You can create a virtuous win-win cycle that prompts you as a couple to take action to improve your relationship.

A quick note: you shouldn’t feel like you have to take sole responsibility for any problems in your relationship. This is more about being willing to take shared responsibility and how you best reach that point.

3. Focus on your partner’s virtues, and communicate these.

Now that you are able to take a closer look at your own flaws, it is time to focus on all of the good points about your partner.

When all you can think about are the things they do that annoy you or upset you, you weaken the emotional connection that is oh so vital to a healthy relationship.

But by considering all of those things that you really like about your partner, you strengthen that bond.

And by communicating these things to your partner, you make them feel appreciated.

You boost their self-esteem and their self-worth.

And when they feel like you notice and appreciate them for who they are and all the things they do – big and small – they will make more effort to continue to demonstrate those virtues.

Related article: 30 Fantastic Ways To Show Your Appreciation To Your Partner

4. Try to see conflict from your partner’s point of view.

The first three points in this list have had an underlying theme that you may have noticed: empathy.

Different people may have different capacities for empathy, but, in relationships, it’s a case of the more the better.

And one of the main uses of empathy in making your relationship stronger is the role it plays in conflict.

Empathy allows you to step into your partner’s shoes and see things as they see them.

And by doing so, you can help ease the ill feeling you may have for them in the heat of the moment.

Whilst some conflict is healthy and can help you to grow together as a couple, it is empathy that will provide the nutrients for that growth.

Empathy will help you to see solutions to your disagreements that a person still caught up in their anger would be blind to.

5. Make your wants clear, but learn to compromise.

It is okay to want certain things from your partner.

It is not okay to expect them to agree with or provide all of those things.

You each have your own wishes, your own ways of doing things, and your own red lines.

You should clearly communicate what you would like from your partner and your relationship, but you must be willing to compromise.

Compromise in a relationship is not a sign that you are incompatible with your partner.

It is a sign that there are areas where your differences must be worked through.

Maybe you would like to have Sunday lunch with your parents each week because that’s what you’ve always done.

But that might be too much to expect from your partner straight away – or ever.

You might find a middle ground where you go every other week or that you go by yourself sometimes.

That’s okay.

As long as you are clear in what you want and they are clear about what they are happy with, you should be able to reach an agreement.

6. Learn your partner’s love language.

You may express and communicate your love in a very different way to your partner.

If so, you probably speak different love languages.

Developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, they relate to how we like to show and receive love to others.

There are 5 in total:

– Words of affirmation

– Quality time together

– Physical touch

– Acts of service

– Receiving gifts

Whilst you and your partner don’t have to share the same love language in order to keep your relationship strong, it does help to understand what language you each speak.

By knowing what most makes your partner feel loved, you can prioritize those things over what you may think they want.

If they feel that warm glow whenever you do things for them without being asked, try to do more of that.

If their face lights up when you buy them a little (or big) something now and again, bear that in mind and think about what you could get them that would really make their day.

7. Schedule time together as a couple.

Even if it’s not one of the love languages that either of you prioritize, spending some quality time together is important for a strong and healthy relationship.

Once again, it comes back to the emotional connection you share and the empathy you feel for one another.

If you live like two ships passing in the night, it becomes all the easier for your feelings for one another to fade.

The act of carving out some time as a couple reminds you of how much you enjoy each other’s company.

And whilst the quality of that time matters a lot, so does the quantity to some degree.

One romantic date on your anniversary or Valentine’s Day isn’t going to cut it for most couples.

You should try to schedule in some form of shared experience at least once a month if you can.

8. Maintain physical touch as often as you can.

Again, whilst neither you nor your partner may make touch your primary love language, it is important nonetheless.

Physical touch is a quick and easy gateway to emotional touch.

A simple hug can break down the barriers you may have built up after a fight, for example.

But you don’t have to be at odds with your partner for the power of touch to have an effect.

Daily touch in one form or another can not only maintain an emotional bond, it can do wonders for the even more intimate acts in your relationship.

Touch brings familiarity and familiarity helps to release the stress and anxiety that is likely to accompany sex at some point in every couple’s relationship.

9. Accept that ups and downs are inevitable.

No relationship is perfect all of the time.

Whilst some can be more tumultuous than others, all relationships will have highs and lows.

By accepting that this is the natural way of things, you avoid catastrophizing when things go wrong.

An argument – even a string of arguments – needn’t mean that separation is inevitable.

Sure, it might mean that there is work to do to address and fix some of the pain points that exist, but that is not the end of the world.

Besides conflict, feelings may ebb and flow in a relationship as the influence of other parts of life is felt.

Work and family stress, health problems, the general state of the world – these can all have an impact on your relationship.

Learning to ride this rollercoaster is vital to making a relationship stronger and more resilient.

10. Understand that all relationships evolve with time.

Along with the ups and downs of a relationship, there comes a natural evolution of what that relationship means.

At the beginning, it may mean embracing the pure thrill of being newly coupled up.

That may turn into the excitement of looking forward to a life together.

Next, the focus of the relationship may turn to the more practical matters of buying a home together and getting married (if this is what you both want).

Family might come next and your relationship will need to adapt to include all the gifts and challenges that this presents.

And as you grow old together, you may find that the companionship you share becomes by far the most important thing to both of you.

You see, like life, a relationship never stands still.

It is forever evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of life and each of you as a couple.

Understanding and accepting these changes means that your relationship will remain strong throughout.

11. Ask what you can do for your partner.

Rarely a day goes by where you couldn’t use a little help with something.

The same applies to your partner.

So, both outwardly and inwardly, you can ask what you might be able to do to take some of the strain they are feeling.

You can ask them what, specifically, you can do to help.

And you can think of ways that you could relieve some of the stress they may be under.

These little acts strengthen a relationship in multiple ways.

Firstly, by easing some of the troubles that may weigh on their mind, you create a calmer and less stressful environment for the both of you to live in.

Secondly, you show them that they are not alone and that you can be relied upon to help them when they need you to.

Thirdly, you create a team mentality that can empower you both to see the relationship positively and work on it together.

A quick note: do not confuse helping a partner when they need it with doing everything for them and being a doormat.

12. Set goals together for your life and your relationship.

The future and all its potential is an exciting thing.

And this excitement can be used to make your relationship stronger.

By setting goals and having dreams for the future you will share together, you create a positive energy that can permeate through your relationship.

Whilst your happiness together shouldn’t rely upon achieving every goal you set, when you do share a journey together and succeed at something as a couple, it can create a deep and lasting bond.

Goals can help you see your relationship for what it truly is: a partnership.

You will realize that things work best when both parties work in unison, rather than in opposite directions.

Set a variety of goals, some small and manageable, some a little more challenging, and even one or two “moonshoot” goals that show great ambition.

And remember that it is the journey and not the destination that matters most.

13. Maintain your own lives.

To say that a strong relationship often depends on spending time apart may sound counterintuitive.

But you really do benefit from maintaining some form of separation in your lives.

For one thing, it gives you something to talk about. If you are always together, the conversation is more likely to run dry.

Secondly, having your own hobbies or commitments provides the space that a relationship needs to breathe.

You won’t feel smothered by your partner if you are able to get away from them now and again.

Thirdly, there is less space for resentment if you and your partner are able to still pursue the things that are important to you.

You might have to give up some things when you become a couple, especially as the relationship gets serious.

But if you can maintain those things that are most important to you, you’ll find a nice balance to your life together.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.