12 Relationship Tips Everyone Forgets (But That Are Oh So Important)

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Everyone has their own opinion on what makes a successful relationship.

But I think we can all agree that it takes work and that certain essential principles underpin most healthy relationships.

They might seem simple or obvious, but are you remembering to practice those principles in your relationship?

Here are 12 important tips for a happy relationship that you may have forgotten about:

1. Pick your battles.

Before you get into an argument or make that snarky comment, think about whether it’s worth it.

Is this really a fight you want to get into? Or would life be simpler if you let this one go?

When you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re around them all the time. You have to live with the consequences of any fight you start, and you should be prepared for how uncomfortable that can be.

Things can be said in the heat and emotion of an argument that neither you nor your partner mean, making the whole situation escalate from an insignificant start.

Constantly nitpicking about trivial matters can wear away at your relationship and create a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat.

There will always be things your partner does that irritate you—it’s part of life as a committed couple.

But unless it’s a deal breaker for you, it’s probably better to suck it up and accept the minor annoyance rather than start an argument every time.

2. Find the method of communication that works best for the both of you.

Communication is what keeps your relationship together.

A successful relationship doesn’t just ‘happen,’ no matter how much you love each other.

You won’t always understand your partner’s point of view (or what’s going on in their head), so unless you talk to each other about your feelings and needs, you won’t fix the problem or move on from the issue.

It won’t always be easy. Sometimes, saying sorry or being honest with each other is the hardest thing you can do.

Understanding that different people communicate in different ways is crucial.

Some people get flustered when put on the spot and open up better if they are given time and space to think about what they want to say first. They may even prefer to write things down.

Don’t always expect your partner’s communication style to match yours. If you figure out what works best for you both and utilize it, you’ll have a much better shot at calm, compassionate communication.

Whatever method you choose, keeping the channels of communication open is essential to your relationship and shouldn’t be underestimated.

3. Respect each other’s ‘me time’.

Just because you’re a couple, doesn’t mean you have to do everything together.

It’s important to have ‘me time’. You don’t need to live in each other’s pockets every minute of every day.

Try to be respectful if your partner wants some time alone or to be with their friends, away from you, even if you aren’t feeling the same way at the time.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t care for you or don’t want to be with you, they just need time to be the person they are in that situation, not the person they are with you.

It’s just as important for you to have time away from them too.

Being with your own social circle or doing something you enjoy can ground you and help you understand what you need for your own happiness.

It allows you to focus on yourself and your own needs rather than worrying about others.

Taking time away from each other reminds you both who you are as individuals.

And let’s not forget that old saying, because absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

4. Aim for an equal and fair relationship.

Loving partnerships should be equal.

This is easy to forget when you slip into habits and assume certain roles in your relationship.

Relationship equality doesn’t mean doing the same thing. Rather, it’s about making sure both you and your partner are putting equal care and effort into keeping your relationship strong.

When you are putting more effort in, or taking on more responsibility for shared duties, such as childcare, housework, or life admin, resentment can build, and that needs addressing.

But make sure you aren’t missing all the little things your partner is doing as part of the habits or roles you’ve created in your relationship. 

When this happens we can start to forget what our partner does bring to the relationship and we perceive that we are doing everything.

When our partner makes us coffee in the morning, cooks the dinners, or deals with the kids when they wake up at night, we assume it’s part of their ‘job’ in the relationship.

And maybe it is. But the truth is, they don’t have to do it, and it’s important we don’t forget that.

It’s important to note that sometimes one partner might not mind taking on more responsibilities so long as they feel valued for everything they bring to the relationship. But if it goes unnoticed and unappreciated, they start to feel begrudged.

Love grows stronger through hard work and appreciation, so make sure neither of you is getting lazy with putting in the effort, or the thanks.

Speaking of…

5. Remember to say thank you.

The easiest way to show appreciation is to say, “Thank you”.

It sounds so simple, and yet it’s the easiest thing to forget. It shows that you’ve noticed something your partner has done, and you’re grateful for it.

Furthermore, it’s just polite.

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we forget basic manners with those closest to us.

Instead of asking respectfully and receiving gratefully, we bark orders at each other and assume our unsaid thanks are a given.

Over time, this unintentional disrespect can wear down a relationship.

So be thoughtful and respectful to each other and always remember your Ps and Qs.

6. Keep going on dates.

Spending more and more time together often means your relationship becomes focused on the mundane tasks of keeping a home and a family.

In turn, it gets further and further away from those early, exciting days of dating.

Dates can be fun and romantic, and they are a great way to connect. It’s the reason we go on them when we want to get to know someone.

But just because time goes by in your relationship and you know each other well, doesn’t mean that there’s no time for fun and romance.

It’s important to dedicate time solely to each other and to keeping the spark alive.

Make the effort to have a ‘date night’ once in a while and do the things you enjoyed together in those early days.

It will help keep you connected and your relationship refreshed, and you never know – maybe you’ll learn something new about your partner after all these years!

7. Be okay with liking different things.

You may have a lot in common with your partner, but it’s okay when you don’t.

Some people think they should love their partner’s hobbies just as much as their partner does, but you can still be supportive while leaving your loved one to enjoy their interests without you.

You have to remember that although you’re living life as one of a pair, you’re still two individuals who are allowed their own likes and dislikes.

It’s part of what makes you who you are and it’s also what attracted your partner to you in the first place.

So, remember to be confident in your own identity as well as your relationship.

8. Support each other’s interests and passions.

You may not understand or have the same interests as your partner, but that shouldn’t stop you from supporting them (assuming it’s not something you are fundamentally opposed to, of course).

You don’t have to participate in their hobbies to be supportive.

It could be as simple as cheering them on from the sidelines now and then, or giving them the free time to do something they enjoy while you finish up the chores or look after the kids.

Encourage your partner’s interests to help them be the happiest they can be.

And expect the same for yourself.

Don’t put each other down or tease each other just because you don’t like the same things.

This may start as good-natured banter, but over time it slowly erodes the relationship and sends the message that you don’t want them to waste time on this activity.

Always remember to show them that you love them for who they are and that you care about their interests.

9. Learn to find healthy and respectful compromises where necessary.

Every couple’s been told the importance of compromising in a relationship at some point.

But, despite this frequently shared advice, it’s easy to forget what it actually means.

You’re going to need to meet in the middle over the small stuff, just as much as the big stuff.

You might have to let go of the way you want something done around the home or come to a mutual decision on how you spend your money.

The key to compromise is trying to see and respect a situation from your partner’s point of view. Finding a middle ground shows that you care about your partner’s opinions and feelings.

There’s nearly always a compromise that can be reached, and however long you’ve been in a relationship, the need for compromise never goes away.

But if you know there are certain things you can never compromise on, it’s crucial to air these early on for both your sakes.

10. Listen to each other (don’t simply hear them talk).

Listening to each other isn’t just about being in the same room or doing something you’ve been instructed to do.

There’s a difference between hearing someone and listening to them.

Listening to your partner means hearing all the things they don’t say just as much as the things they do. It’s about understanding them and giving them your full attention when they interact with you.

You might be able to hear them talk to you whilst you wash the dishes or have one eye on the TV, but you’re not truly giving them your attention and they’ll know it.

So, if you’re busy with something else and can’t give them what they need right now, tell them that and make time to listen to them later.

Your time is one of the most valued things you can give each other, so remember to take it seriously when your partner asks for some of yours. 

11. Leave the past in the past.

If you cling on to every time your partner disappointed you, or every argument you had, it’s going to become a pretty miserable relationship.

In an argument, it can be tempting to drag up a time when your partner hurt you, especially when you think they’re being unfair right now.

It might seem like it adds weight to your current situation or gives you the upper hand in the argument.

But in reality, dragging up the past only stops you from moving on, and it affects both your present and future relationship happiness.

Revisiting old arguments brings all those emotions you once laid to rest back to the present and destroys the trust between you and your partner.

They feel like they will never be truly forgiven, so why should they bother?

Having the same arguments over and over pushes you further apart and brings you both nothing but pain.

So, leave the past where it belongs, behind you.

When you say you’re ready to move on, stick to your promise so that you can both focus on moving forward, not backward, in your relationship. 

12. Stop trying to win arguments.

You’re inevitably going to get into arguments during your relationship. It’s how you choose to handle them that will affect how long your relationship lasts.

It can be easy to get lost in the moment, trying to ‘win’ an argument. That sense of one-upmanship gives us a little power trip and a feeling of superiority.

But when one of you ‘wins’, the other loses.

And is that really what you want for your loved one?

Arguments cause hurt and break trust.

Wanting to be right and pursuing an argument just because you’re looking to prove a point will only push your partner away.

Taking things too far can cause irreversible damage, and for what?

Remember to ask yourself what you’re trying to gain when you fight with your partner.

Learn to find a way to calm the situation down, not make it worse.

Ultimately there’s never a real “winner” of an argument because both of you end up feeling bad because of it.

So keep perspective during those trying times and prioritize the health and happiness of your relationship above everything else.

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There’s no one method for having a healthy long-lasting relationship.

You can give it your all and still end up parting ways. Just as much as two people who seem to have nothing in common and no time for each other, somehow make it work.

Relationship advice is given from experience, but it’s not your experience.

Some tips may work, others may not. But keep putting the time and effort in so that you and your partner can discover what works for you and grow together in the process.