Face it, there is SO much relationship and love advice out there. So much, in fact, that it often contradicts itself. But a lot of the advice and insight out there doesn’t apply to every person and every relationship. That’s why we put together some of the best, expert approved, advice that can really apply to everyone experiencing love.
“Don’t try to be who you think someone wants you to be or who you think you should be in the hopes of keeping a relationship together,” says Lesli Doares, a couples consultant & coach and host of the radio program, Happily Ever After is Just the Beginning. “You can only pretend for a while, but the real you will come out anyway. When it does, your partner will be confused and feel like you’ve pulled a bait and switch.”
“This means telling the truth all the time about what you’re doing, who you’re with, what you’re feeling, etc.”says Doares. “It doesn’t mean you can’t have any thoughts to yourself, just that there are things your partner needs to know. This isn’t about being brutally honest, but gently and completely honest, even if your partner hasn’t asked for specific information.”
Be open to change.
Long-lasting and happy relationships are about making sacrifices for your significant other. You may have to travel less, wake up earlier, cut back on alcohol, or whatever, to accommodate your partner.
“However, it’s equally important that these changes don’t make you feel as if you’re surrendering integral components of your identity,” says health and wellness expert, Samantha Morrison. “It may be difficult to change certain things, but it’s all worth it at the end of the day if it contributes to a more meaningful relationship,”
Be best friends.
When you’re best friends with someone you both equally rely on each other, feel like you can be your complete self around each other, and have the best of times with each other.
“Being friends with your partner means that your relationship is deeper than love,” says Morrison. “There’s a connection that transcends a shared identity and allows for unmatched compatibility. Ideally, you should complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses so that together, you are unstoppable. This way, you’re properly equipped to take on whatever life throws your way.”
Wait before talking about something that’s bothering you.
“Trying to address something you’re mad about while you’re mad is not very effective,” says Raffi Bilek, a licensed couples counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center. “If your partner has hurt or angered you, you can acknowledge it and wait until later to discuss the problem, when you’ll be in a better state to work together on a solution.”
And if you wait, you may come to realize that the issue isn’t as big as you originally thought.
Pay attention to the little things.
And acknowledge them.
“It’s not the major anniversary vacation that makes a relationship satisfying; it’s the clearing your plate after dinner every day that makes it into something solid and meaningful,” says Bilek.
We get to the point in relationships where we’re so comfortable and used to the other person doing things, that we forget to say thank you. Maintain your love and your bond, by reminding each other why you appreciate each other so much.
Compliment your partner.
People love compliments, because they make them feel good and special. So do more of this with your sweetie and your love will grow!
“Look for things you can be positive about and share them with your partner. It’s easy to be critical so focus on being complimentary and you will both benefit,” says Bilek.
Over communicate and LISTEN.
“Talk about everything, the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Lucy Harris, parenting expert and CEO of Hello Baby Bump.
“Being able to freely discuss and talk about any aspect of your relationship or life is important. You also need to be able to calmly sit down with each other and talk after an argument or heated conversation. This ensures that there are no skeletons left in the closet and no dirt swept under the rug.”
Learn how to be loved.
Opening up to your significant other may seem daunting, especially if you’ve experienced nothing but heartbreak in the past.
“But it is the only way to forge a meaningful relationship,” says Morrison. “As humans, we naturally want to be loved, but that can’t happen if you build walls in your relationship. You have to let others in, but it doesn’t all have to happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to slowly open up over the course of your relationship and you’ll see how much stronger your bond will be.”
“Just because you have the prize doesn’t mean that you stop working for it. Make sure you still do the things you did at the beginning of the relationship,”says Harris. “This shows that you are still interested and want to put effort into your relationship.”
Take the time to plan something every now and then that’s out of the blue.
Pop up surprises will help keep the relationship alive and exciting.
“This is especially important to ensure your relationship doesn’t become a bore or stuck in a routine that makes you think about what life would be like without a partner or with someone else,” Harris says.
Things like a last minute getaway, reservations at a fancy restaurant, or a spontaneous and thoughtful gift.
Show the love.
Remember that love is a verb. Sometimes, we show more love to the people at the DMV then we do our own partner.
“Treat your partner better than you would treat anyone else. If you can’t say something nice, wait until you can say it nicely,” says Doares.
“Even if you didn’t think you did anything wrong or your intent wasn’t to cause hurt, apologize anyway,”says Doares. “Acknowledging your partner’s feelings is a sign that they matter to you. It’s also an opportunity to learn about them and how to identify or avoid similar circumstances in the future.”
Love can be mysterious and hard to understand. But there are ways to keep your love and your relationship strong. Putting the care and effort into your relationship and doing all the things big and small that show how much you love someone, will help your relationship grow. And along the way, your love will grow too.