My grandmother once told me that a relationship is a constant work in progress where both parties have to put in an effort day after day. I laughed and told her that she made it sound like a job, and she just said, “It takes years of love and years of work to sustain a strong relationship that binds two people.”
After all this time, I now know what she truly meant. Being someone’s soulmate is a process, because (pardon the cliché) Rome was not built in a day. Likewise, strong marriages require a lot of effort. While you are the best judge of what your relationship needs, some expert advice from our end can certainly help you build a good relationship with your partner. After all, maintaining healthy relationships isn’t a cakewalk and neither is staying in love for a lifetime.
Read on, as we answer all your burning questions on how to make your relationship stronger, with the help of our expert and life coach Geetarsh Kaur, the founder of The Skill School. Let our guide to healthy relationships show you the way.
How To Keep A Relationship Strong And Happy
Never undermine the importance of a good relationship in your life. Our romantic partners contribute to our lives significantly. They influence everything, from our self-esteem to our stress levels. They’re the ones we come back to at the end of the day.
While we may take them for granted on some days, we know that getting by without them would be impossible. To enrich your connection a little more, here are 15 strong relationship tips. They consist of a few practices you probably already follow, and some much-needed reminders too.
So, if you’ve been asking, “How do you keep a relationship forever?”, Geetarsh has the following suggestions for you:
1. Count your blessings
Building healthy relationships requires gratitude. Be grateful for your partner’s presence. Exercising gratitude is a lovely practice which promotes your emotional health. It makes you cognizant of the good things in life, much like a silver lining in your mind! While maintaining gratitude journals is always an option, you can try a simpler exercise too.
At the end of each day, be consciously thankful of six things: three qualities your partner possesses and three things they have done that day. You can keep these to yourself, or make it a practice to involve your better half too. Being appreciated is always a good feeling because our efforts are recognized. This is a lovely way of making a relationship grow.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Make A Relationship Last Forever
2. Take some space
A relationship can never succeed if the two individuals are trying to merge themselves into one being. Talking about space, Geetarsh emphasizes the value of individuality, “We have to eliminate the need to constantly cling to our partners. Enjoy your own space, and cultivate your own set of social relationships, your career and hobbies. Let your partner do the same too.”
Individuality is a very important relationship quality to have. Here’s how you can achieve that and make the relationship stronger:
- Maintain an independent routine outside your dating life: Try out new hobbies, go on trips without your partner, or spend some ‘alone time’ in the spa or at the library
- Don’t mix your personal and professional spheres: Try not to bring your coworkers and your equation with them into your personal life. Keep work discussions away from home, and vice versa
- Don’t be omnipresent in your partner’s life: Don’t be a helicopter partner. Maintain your space and let your spouse have theirs. Don’t let the relationship get claustrophobic
3. Talk, talk, and talk some more
Honest and open communication is the first thing a relationship needs to thrive. In fact, it’s perhaps the most important factor in building healthy relationships, and most issues stem from the lack of it. In strong relationships, people make it a point to talk to their partners. But what should you talk about? Well…everything, from casual topics to serious issues. Just keep in mind to not be hostile with your partner, even when you fight. To help you with some ideas, here’s a list of things to talk about:
- Your daily life
- What you’d like to do over the weekend
- A piece of gossip you came across
- A funny meme someone sent you
Related Reading: Communication Problems In Relationships – 11 Ways To Overcome
4. Put in effort
Picture this: you’ve had a bad day at work and just want to fall into bed. But you come home to find your partner stressed and emotional. What do you do? Option A: You comfort them quickly and go to sleep. Option B: You have a sit-down session and get to the bottom of what’s bothering them. Hint: there’s only one right answer.
Well, have you chosen option B? Good then, as that’s definitely the correct choice in a scenario like this. Even if your relationship demands a little more of you than usual, be willing to go the extra mile.
Here are some more examples to show you how you can make the relationship stronger with your effort:
- Check on your partner, especially when they’re at work: Call them up at lunch hour and whisper sweet nothings, even if for a few minutes
- Be present when they need you: So, your girlfriend or boyfriend needs you to accompany them to the vet when their dog is ill? Or do they need you to talk to them for a couple of hours non-stop over call when they’re upset about something? Be there for them when they need you. There’s no alternative to this to strengthen your relationship
- Make them a priority in your life at times, if not always: Yes, self-love is important. But once in a while, prioritize your relationship over yourself
5. Focus on little gestures
What makes a relationship strong are little gestures of love. Rather than talking about taking your partner to Paris or Rome, promise to take them to some gelato outlet nearby, if that’s all you can afford. Geetarsh agrees, “Follow through on what you tell your partner. Don’t be all talk. That’s quite shallow if you think about it. Keep your word because this builds trust.”
Here are some sweet romantic gestures you can try:
- Sending flowers to their workplace, to break the monotony
- Taking them out on surprise dates to spend some cozy time together and do exciting things
- Sending sweet voice notes to stay connected when you’re in a long-distance relationship
- Cooking a special dish for them once in a while
Related Reading: 15 Things To Do When Husband Is Not Affectionate Or Romantic
6. Compromise every now and then
A healthy relationship is one where neither partner focuses on getting their way. Add a little bit of what you want and a little bit of what they want to create the perfect formula for a successful relationship. A good trick I learnt from my sister was reminding ourselves that our partners are more important than what we want at a particular moment. Here’s how little compromises in our everyday lives lead to healthy romantic relationships:
- You really want to go to a Thai restaurant for your anniversary dinner, but your husband would rather have Continental. Try giving in for once and see how his face glows up
- Your wife loves the sunny sands of the Bahamas, while you wish to travel to the Alps, because mountains allure you. Try going to the beach and mountains on alternate trips, to adjust and compromise a bit
- You want to splurge on an international trip, but your husband insists on saving up for a car he wishes to buy this year. Try spending less this year and create a common savings account, where you both contribute for your dream car (and for the trip next year)
In a nutshell, don’t be stubborn (or selfish) in the relationship. It’s okay to go along with what your significant other wants. Just make sure you aren’t the only one sacrificing or compromising. After all, one person can’t be the one who’s always giving.
7. Be respectful
Mutual respect is a key element of a strong, intimate relationship. A fight or a disagreement is no reason to resort to personal attacks or yelling. In fact, a conflict requires more respect than ever. This boils down to having healthy boundaries with your partner. What is a deal breaker for you? What do you construe as disrespect?
Geetarsh explains, “When we start dating someone, we want to impress them, because we are perhaps in awe of them. But we fail to create relationship boundaries which should also be set from day one. We have to decide what is acceptable and what is not. This makes a relationship much healthier in the long run.”
8. Get off your phones
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed how mobile phones and social media impact relationships. According to it, 40% of the Americans surveyed reported disliking their partners’ attachment with their phones. So, do yourself a favor and be present with your partner when you are talking.
What makes a relationship strong is your undivided attention. Yes, these days, it’s difficult to imagine life without digital communication. But don’t you just hate people who text others when you’re RIGHT there? Won’t you love it if you can spend some time with your partner without any annoying notifications to break the spell of the romance between you two? And in any case, staying away from your phones for a few hours or days can also improve your mental health. Here’s how you can do that:
- Have a no-phones hour at home every day, when you can both share some quality time
- Make the bedroom a no-phone zone, especially when you’re sharing intimate moments
- Don’t respond to texts when you’re talking to your partner, no matter how casual the conversation is
- Keep a tab on how much time you spend staring at your phone screen. Cut down on it and focus on your connection with your partner instead
- Go on a digital detox. Switch off your mobiles or go for a short vacation to a place where you have little or no network
9. Speak your mind
Henry Winkler wrote, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” It is vital to voice your concerns, anger and resentment because they may be based on assumptions. Getting it all out in the open will clear things up once and for all. Individuals in a healthy relationship never bottle things up.
Feel comfortable expressing your thoughts clearly and concisely, as it will:
- Promote honest emotions in the relationship
- Dissipate any misunderstandings
- Let each other know about mutual expectations from the relationship
To make it easier, schedule a problem-solving session at a particular time when the both of you can talk about any negative thoughts on your mind.
Related Reading: 7 Strategies To Stop Fighting In A Relationship
10. Work towards the future
Setting realistic goals for the future is one of the best tips to build a strong relationship. You and your partner can mark the milestones and see how far you’ve come, while simultaneously planning for the life you want ahead. Maybe you want to buy a house in the next ten years, or get a pet in the next few months! Be on the same page when it comes to planning for the
Build a good relationship with your partner by showing your commitment to them. And get over your commitment issues too. Dreaming of a future together is sweet, but working toward it is even better. Here’s how you can do it:
- Start taking baby steps toward the goals you’ve both set
- Save some money to invest in your dreams later
- Make changes in your routine if needed
11. Focus on physical intimacy
A study by Carnegie Mellon researchers has discovered a link between hugs and our immune system. It is already known how hugging someone releases oxytocin in our body – a hormone associated with trust and empathy. It is now highly probable that a hug a day keeps the doctor away!
So, how to keep a relationship forever? Be physically affectionate with your partner. Remember, a strong, intimate relationship isn’t always about sex. Physical affection can consist of gestures and positive body language, such as:
- A brush of hands
- A warm embrace
- A casual peck on the cheek
- A few moments of gentle caressing
- Meaningful eye contact
12. Taking accountability
“This is one of the marks of a truly safe person: they are confrontable.” So says Henry Cloud and we wholeheartedly agree. Owning up to your mistakes when confronted is a valuable quality that is rather rare. Getting defensive or hostile gets us nowhere and honestly, it’s a waste of precious time. And people tend to say hurtful things when confronted.
So, how to keep a relationship strong and healthy? Here’s how:
- When you find yourself in the wrong, don’t hesitate to say you’re sorry
- Make a mental note of the error and try to not repeat it again
- Try working on yourself to make sure you don’t disappoint your partner
13. Be on each other’s team
A common quality that all healthy romantic relationships share is a supportive husband, wife, or partner. And being supportive doesn’t just mean cheering them on during the good times. It also means having their back during the tough times when life challenges you. Even a strong relationship isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and your partner will slip and fall often.
You can keep your relationship strong with your partner by letting go of the trivial things. As
they say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Here’s how:
- Have empathy for your partner
- Spend time understanding the root cause of their behavior
- Make your partner feel safe
- Don’t blame, shame, or judge them for the little things in life
- Don’t find ways to ridicule them or taunt them in front of friends or family
- Don’t join your friends and family when they criticize or taunt your spouse
Geetarsh says, “We all have our hassles to deal with on a daily basis. We’re all fallible and make mistakes. Holding on to petty grudges is very unwise.”
Related Reading: 15 Signs You Are In A Serious Relationship
14. Participate in each other’s lives
Involvement is a must. Say your partner has an office party to attend. You were supposed to be her plus-one, but she gives you the option of backing out. Stay at home on the couch…or go with her to the party? Please tell me you chose B. Yes, I know she said you could stay home, but it’s an important event for her.
You should be next to her, hyping her up! Be an active participant in your partner’s life. Celebrate their accomplishments to the fullest and partake in the festivities that matter to them. While being clingy in a relationship is a no-no, so is indifference. A good partner is always around in the highlights of your life.
15. Be honest
Breaking your partner’s trust is the biggest obstacle in building a strong relationship. Being lied to has lasting consequences on an individual. It’s very difficult to gain trust back in relationships after lying. So, strive for complete honesty in your relationship, and be your truest self with your other half. Yes, people change with time, and you too may have. But respect your partner enough to be honest with them, no matter what the situation.
Geetarsh says, “This is what I tell all the couples I meet. Look at your partner, do they deserve anything but the truth? Be authentic. It saves a lot of time and energy.” And there we have it, our final tip on making a relationship grow. And thrive, and indeed, stand the test of time.
- A strong and healthy relationship takes work from both partners
- A healthy relationship will naturally bring in happiness to both partners
- Several ways of achieving a strong relationship are communicating with your partner, being honest, taking accountability for your actions, working on future plans, participating in their success, spending time with one another without phones, and taking and offering space
We hope by now you have a clear idea about how to create a strong bond with your partner. While some of the 15 tips we’ve suggested in our guide to healthy relationships here might seem challenging, they are bound to lead to a happy relationship in the long run. Remember, there is no ‘we’ without ‘I’, and vice versa. In creating a healthy relationship, don’t forget your own identity and values. Balance individuality with connection. Likewise, strong marriages don’t happen by chance. One needs to work for it. We don’t promise you that these tips will lead to staying in love for a lifetime, but we believe they may help you in maintaining
healthy relationships. So, what are you waiting for? Take charge of your relationship and steer it toward success.