Effort In A Relationship: What It Means And 15 Ways To Show It

Effort in a relationship
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You are here because you are wondering about putting effort in your relationship. And, that is really good. We are living in times when people are struggling to figure out ‘effort in a relationship meaning’ and ‘on the rocks’ is no longer just a phrase you say to your bartender. It is a milestone of modern relationships. 

But, that’s not all of it. Even if your relationship is not in crisis, you don’t want to take it for granted. And that is why, even if you have a perfectly functioning marriage, a maturing romantic relationship, or a new love affair, knowing how to put the effort in a relationship to keep it thriving is always essential.

What Is Effort In A Relationship

Googling effort in a relationship meaning will get you somewhere but not all the way there. You cannot put a bare minimum effort in a relationship if you wish for a relationship to thrive. The first thing about putting effort in a relationship is accepting that you want to put the effort in. Because, well, that is the only way to have a good one. 

In a relationship, effort is about intimacy and involvement in all planes and dimensions of both your lives. While you can learn how to navigate a rough patch in your relationship, majorly, it is about paying attention to your partner and heeding them. Here is what signs of effort in a relationship look like:

  • Prioritize: If your relationship is on the rocks, this is the first step in ‘how to show effort in a relationship’. Like career and academics, relationships need prioritizing and work. Saying ‘I love you’ is one thing, but you need to show it as well. Dates, Scrabble, walks—whatever it takes
  • Communicate: This is one of the biggest examples of effort in a relationship, and step two. Talk to them about everything. Initiate conversations, ask questions, and engage when they are talking. Debate, disagree but don’t forget to resolve as well
  • Notice: If you want to put more than the bare minimum effort in your relationship, pay attention to your partner. Start noticing tiny things as well as the big makeovers. And, of course, tell them about it
  • Care: Show an interest in your partner’s life. You might think you know them well but people change as well. Participate in activities that your partner likes. A lack of interest in your partner’s life means a lack of effort in a relationship
  • Share: Don’t be selfish. And this is not just advice for your sex life, but your entire relationship. To put time and effort in a relationship, share the work, the sacrifices, the compromises, and not just the good times

Related Reading: Lack Of Affection And Intimacy In A Relationship — 9 Ways It Affects You

Why It Is Important To Put The Effort In The Relationship

Now that we have dealt with putting effort in a relationship meaning, it is time to understand why. The key to a healthy, long-lasting relationship is making each other feel wanted and loved. Over and over again. Even if you don’t hit any awful roadblocks, relationships can lose their thrill and become monotonous after a while. You can easily slide into complacency and put the bare minimum effort in your relationship. 

And you can easily find yourself missing your daily talks over coffee, failing to help with the chores, or even forgetting their birthday. “I will buy him that wallet I saw online next month, and it will all be fine”, you think after your partner complains you haven’t been paying attention to him. “Ugh, I will surely take care of the kids next week so that she can go out with her colleagues”, you promise yourself after you realize you cannot count the number of fights you two had in the last week. After a while, fights become more important than the relationship and you don’t even know why.

A lack of effort in a relationship from your side only conveys one message to your partner: they are not wanted and loved enough. And, that is simply not healthy for a relationship. But if your relationship is already facing problems, that is even more reason to invest effort into your relationship. And, if you genuinely want your partner and you to have a healthy, thriving relationship, most of it should come easy to you. 

15 Ways To Show Effort In A Relationship

Now, you know what it means to put effort in a relationship. You are also aware of why you need to do it.  The only thing that remains to discuss is how to show effort in a relationship. So, here we go with 15 ways of putting effort in a relationship:

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1. Effort in a relationship means showing affection

Remember what we discussed about feeling loved and wanted? To know that your partner loves you is one thing. To witness it and feel it another. And not getting to feel this way for long can make anyone feel unwanted. That is why quite often showing love is as important as feeling it.

signs of effort in a relationship
Show affection to let them know your love

To feel loved, it is essential that there is a show of affection. If you wish to put the effort in a relationship, showing your feelings would be an excellent place to start. Don’t shy away from blurting the occasional ‘I love you’ when you feel it, and some heartfelt gifts and gestures would go a long way too. But, don’t forget affection also means being there when your partner needs your help, from tiny chores to emotional support.    

2. Work on your emotional connection with your partner

An emotional disconnect between a couple is one of the biggest signs of effort in a relationship falling short. It could have various significant reasons, but they are always significant. Trauma, loss of a loved one, children moving out, cheating, relocation, and moving in after separation are some familiar stories.

More reasons for emotional upheavals include mental health and the other. The former is a serious situation that requires effort in a relationship and help from a mental health professional. About the latter, people often think that loyalty in a relationship simply means sexual loyalty. ‘What’s the problem, huh? It’s not like I slept or made out with xyz’, it is a common statement exchanged between couples when a third person enters the dynamics a little too much. 

The thing about loyalty is that all kinds of it are required for a relationship to work: sexual and emotional. If you are in a long-distance relationship, you will know this creeping anxiety all too well. The stress of distance can take a toll on a couple. It hurts equally to know that who you are with wants to spend time with someone else.

3. If you are lying in your relationship, don’t

One of the great examples of effort in a relationship is honesty. Often, for small and big reasons, you will find yourself thinking that not telling your partner or lying will be a better idea. Stop right there. No matter how much you can justify it, dishonesty is universally considered not a cool thing to do. Then, why do it to the one person you love the most? 

A healthy relationship requires truth and honesty. And, if a relationship begins to grow dishonest, it is a matter of time that a real crack shows up. Yes, there might be practical reasons that keep you away from telling the truth sometimes. But don’t forget that dishonesty on repeat means disrespect. Do it sooner or later, but always tell the truth to your partner. 

Related Reading: Freedom In Relationships – What It Means And What It Doesn’t

5. All communication channels need to be clear

At one point in time or the other, even the best of relationships fall prey to their ancient enemy: communication, or the lack thereof. People in long-distance relationships have it harder than others, yes. But, I believe silence is sneaky. Even when you live together, it can fill up the tiny cracks where chatter thrived earlier. 

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling wrote, “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” Silence, neglect, monotony, ignorance are slow and imperceptible but can consume your relationship. Listen well, pay attention, show adoration, spend time, and communicate with your partner in all manners possible.

Do not be scared of revealing your fears, desires, motivations, reservations, and all the types of insecurities in a relationship. Facing your issues and talking about them is always better than hiding them away. The only thing that will hurt your relationship is a lack of communication, along with putting the bare minimum effort in the relationship.  

6. Get an A for acknowledgment

Time breeds familiarity. And, familiarity turns into a habit, a routine, a monotony of schedules. Instead of inspiring passion, this dulls the senses into forgetfulness, negligence, even ignorance. You forget to acknowledge the tiny things that your partner does for you, the responsibilities that they take up because you can’t. Often they also make sacrifices and compromises for you. Do you always acknowledge those tiny things instead of taking them for granted? 

While sharing all the responsibilities of life is the utopia everyone wants, it doesn’t work out like that at all times. And most of the relationships come with both the partners making some or the other tough choices. For a thriving relationship, it is crucial that you acknowledge every little thing your partner does for you. And why shouldn’t you? You deserve the same. 

7. If apologies are due, don’t forget to offer them

Be it a big or a small mistake, an apology due is an apology due. When you fail to offer your apologies, your partner can very rightfully feel disrespected or deliberately ignored. And, if there is one straight route to losing your loved one’s faith, it is disrespect.  

Now, when it comes to apologies, all are important. To show that you do not wish to put in just the bare minimum effort in a relationship, you need to address the big and small day-to-day things that you plan and forget, the tiny failings and errors you commit, but never apologize for. 

When people are in a relationship for long periods of time, it is easy to let things slide, become immune to habits, and not appreciate our partners the way we did in the early giddy days. And, these forgotten apologies can pile up too and become damaging to your relationship’s health. If you have made up your mind to put effort into your relationship, be vigilant of these lapses, do not take your partner’s pride for granted.  

Related Reading: 25 Most Common Relationship Problems

8. Doing what your partner loves 

When was the last time you showed interest in an activity that your partner loves? Truthfully, while all I want to do is watch Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and snuggle, I had to learn to play the game with my chess-obsessed partner. And you know what? I like the game even though I am horrible at it, and he finally read Harry Potter. Win-win, right?

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” And like friends, you both do activities that you both like, to be together and have a successful marriage or relationship. Planning activities to do together, little or big, injects the much-required dose of passion into a routine day. 

Seeing your partner attempt to learn something new just for you is heartwarming and only gives you more to experience, talk about, and share. Sports, Netflix, languages, traveling, hiking, or chess, choose anything that your partner loves and begin! Even if you hate the activity, you will still have loads of fun. 

couple goals

9. From bold declarations of love to quiet kisses and flowers

Some of us might like a quiet personal gesture occasionally, while others might prefer more bold and public displays of affection daily—romance is for everyone. Now, there is enough literature and cinema to confuse you regarding how to be romantic. You can go for those big and bold marriage proposal ideas, but at the same time, it’s vital to not forget that a weekly date is also among the great examples of effort in a relationship. 

You could also invest in that travel plan that you have been keeping on hold because of work. And, of course, an occasional gift –  go personal on that one. To show effort in a relationship, go personal and show your partner not only do you care but also that you notice. Show your attention, your commitment, love, interest, and create a common ground for some cheery banter as well as passionate debates.

10. Boundaries are good; silence is not

Giving your partner space or demanding it from them is one thing, but if overdone, it can snowball into a pervading silence in your home and life. Disagreements are part of any healthy relationship. But, keeping the silent treatment on for long is not. If you lose communication over time, with no chance of a resolution, negative feelings can fester. 

Even with healthy boundaries established, you need to ensure that you are in tandem with your partner. Proper and timely communication is key. Never go to sleep with a fight, find a resolution. Communicate whatever is in your heart rather than putting on a steely silence. 

Related Reading: How Do You Set Emotional Boundaries In Relationships?

11. It’s about time and effort in a relationship 

Relationships need time, a lot of it, to build, overcome, appreciate, and live. Yet, they get impacted by time in manners that are not so nurturing. While moving in together, getting married, getting pregnant, rearing children, working, and running a home can be significant, time also causes children to grow and move out, makes you retire, and yes, even die. Some of these milestones are worth waiting for, but others may test your relationship. The only thing you can do is to put both time and effort in the relationship and plan.  

Planning always helps, and then the rest can be taken care of with communication, patience, and effort. Plan for what is coming and how the years that yawn between then and now need to be lived. And plan together. Effort in a relationship to make it last longer has to come from both sides. You can also look into some conflict resolution strategies as well.

12. How to show effort in a long-distance relationship

It is not that long-distance relationships need a separate section, but that a relationship turning long-distance is a significant probability these days. And the general outlook toward long-distance relationships (LDRs) compared to geographically close relationships (GCRs) is pretty negative. Statistics suggest that 56.6% of people believe that GCRs are happier and more satisfying than LDRs.  

How to show effort in a long-distance relationship is a common query as work and education keep people busy. Fortunately for everyone, psychologists have found that if certain conditions are met, LDRs can be as happy and fulfilling as GCRs. Yes, most of the things go online with LDRs, including the said conditions that include intimacy, communication, relationship satisfaction, commitment, and sexual communication or satisfaction. 

So, stop googling how to show effort in a long-distance relationship and do it. It is the same bunch of things you would have to do that you were doing in a GCR, only online. Easy peasy.

Related Reading: 12 Simple Tips To Build Healthy Relationships

13. Whatever the sex thing is, talk it out

My outright suggestion is that you do not compromise with your desires. But, it comes with a cautionary word. Sex is complex, and understanding your partner’s sexual history while stating your desires is very important. Their history, inhibition, their feelings about some practices need to be addressed for their sexual and mental health. 

Even if it started great, sex in relationships could get complicated. Whatever may be the case, you need to figure out what/how you feel. Communicate your feelings with your partner. Keep the channels open, let them know what you are feeling, and together, putting time and effort in a relationship, you can work it all out.

It is good to be open to experimentation but maintain personal boundaries and be clear about them while sharing with your partner. And do not shy away from consulting a specialist to help you make more informed decisions. Don’t overlook the importance of sex in a relationship – good quality, satisfying sex, that is.

14. Putting effort means patience more than just action

Not all of us are innately patient. Not all of us feel the same way at the same time as our partners do. In a relationship, sometimes people are at different stages or phases, and it takes time. Regardless, if your query is how to show effort in a relationship, patience is a good place. 

 how to show effort in a long distance relationship
Be patient as you navigate the rough patches in a relationship

Patience from you makes your partner feel that they are vital and allows them time to adjust to a new reality. This could be anything, any tough or not-so-challenging phase, like getting over your past mistakes, getting over some other trauma, a disorder, a new house, childbirth, and more. Now, a sexless relationship can be difficult but know that you both are different and simply be patient. 

14. Step into your partner’s shoes

A lack of effort in a relationship can also mean not having the right point of view. Your point of view in a situation can be drastically different from your partner’s based on a long list of reasons that includes gender and personal history. But, what you do about it shows effort in a relationship, or a lack thereof. More often than not, it is simply not understanding the other person’s point of view. Sometimes, all you need to do is to step into your partner’s shoes and understand how they perceive the world. 

You share your perspective towards everything in life with your partner and vice versa. This is precisely what makes relationships wholesome. In case of disagreements, it can help to step back and understand your partner’s point of view, rather than ignoring or defending yours all the time. Simple. 

15. Asking for help is important

We all need help time and again. And accepting that your relationship needs help is one of the biggest signs of effort in a relationship. While we often recognize the need for help in terms of work, education, finances, mental and physical health, we often ignore the support we need to keep our relationships going. Partners often struggle to communicate their feelings. You need someone, someone professional, to reason and contemplate with you. Also, it’s never too late to ask for relationship counseling.

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