While every relationship is different, no relationship is perfect. However, good adult relationships involve two people who respect and can communicate with each other, and have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities. Many people would also expect their relationship with their partner to include love, intimacy, sexual expression, commitment, compatibility and companionship.
Most couples want to have a successful and rewarding relationship, yet it is normal for couples to have difficulties. To meet these challenges, and to keep your relationship healthy and happy, you need to work at it. Relationships are like bank accounts, you need to make deposits if you want to make withdrawals. All take and no give may lead to relationship challenges.
The following tips may help you improve your relationship and be better prepared to meet the challenges along the way:
- Talk to each other and communicate your needs.
- If you have something to bring up, do it gently.
- Listen to each other.
- Ask your partner something new, communication is the determining factor of success for every relationship.
- Remember the positives about your partner, think carefully before criticizing.
- Make repair attempts, saying sorry or touching your partner in a caring manner shows you care, even though you disagree.
- Spend time together.
- Work on feeling good about yourself.
- Accept and value differences in others, including your partner.
- Make plans, set goals for your relationship and plan for your future together.
- Be supportive, try not to judge, criticize or blame each other, we are all human.
- Learn from arguments, accept that arguments will happen, and try to resolve them with respect.
- Stay calm during disagreements, or if this is not possible, take time out.
- Look at your part in the conflict rather than focusing only on your partner’s contribution.
- Be sexually considerate, sometimes a lingering kiss or a warm hug are just as important.
- Be attentive, show your commitment to the relationship.
- Enjoy yourself, have fun and celebrate your life together.
- Be flexible, let your relationship grow and adapt as you both change.
- Share power, ensure that each of you feels that your opinion counts.
In a long-term relationship, it is easy to assume you know all there is to know about your partner, but people change. Try to know of what is happening in your relationship and understand who your partner is and where they are at.
Stay curious about, but respectful of, each other. It is important to stay up to date about your partner. Friendship is at the basis of all successful long-term relationships. Successful couples are realists who recognize that a relationship will go through difficulties.
If there is something in your relationship that is difficult or painful to talk to each other about, consider seeing a counselor. A counselor can be of great value to help you talk things through, particularly if you are going over old terrain and each of you is feeling isolated, disappointed or hurt by the lack of progress.