Dating and Relationship Advice

A relationship cannot survive on its own — it requires effort from both partners. Relationships go through stages, there will be beautiful moments and rocky waters. You can work on strengthening your love life now, before a wave of challenging times arrive.

The ultimate goal for your partnership is stability and a loving mutual connection. Maintaining a flourishing relationship isn’t necessarily a simple feat, but with these five tips, you’ll be headed in the right direction.

1. Small Acts of Love

In most relationships, small acts of love trump grand gestures. Small acts of love can make your partner’s day less stressful, and they will strengthen the bond you’ve both worked so hard to build. When your boyfriend is running late for work, you can make him a cup of to-go coffee.

If your girlfriend just came home from the gym, you can consider juicing her favorite fruits and veggies. She will appreciate your thoughtfulness. There are many ways of showing your love without going overboard, including offering to cook dinner, leaving the outside lights on when your partner is working late, and making the bed in the morning.

2. Communication Is a Two-Way Street

Learning to be an attentive listener is just as important as voicing your own feelings. The most important part of fostering a healthy relationship is maintaining an open line of communication. When your partner says something that you find upsetting, you should feel comfortable stating how his words affected you.

When you are finished talking, however, you should be an active listener while he explains his reasoning. Resolving a problem through communication is vital — you’ll end up harboring resentment if you don’t speak up for yourself.

Sincere apologies are meaningful, but if your loved one becomes defensive or agitated after you’ve expressed yourself, this means he needs more time to cool down.

3. Agree to Disagree

Speaking of communication and conflict, you should know that there are times when you might need to agree to disagree. A respectful disagreement is healthy and normal — there’s no reason for fearing conflict.

Every relationship is different. Some couples are able to civilly discuss their differences in opinions, while other couples get caught up in the heat of the moment and speak loudly with passion. The key to success is feeling safe when you need to talk about something that’s bothering you.

4. Feeling Loved Versus Being Loved

There’s a world of difference between being loved and feeling loved. Your partner can say the three words, “I love you” until the cows come home. But if you don't feel the love, it isn’t going to be enough.

For a person to feel loved, there needs to be an adequate level of mutual respect, acceptance, and emotional fulfillment — knowing your significant other understands you also factors in. Being loved isn’t the same, your relationship will have a higher probability of flourishing when you actually feel loved.

5. Learn Each Other’s Love Language

There are five love languages. Learning which one your partner responds to the most is necessary. Does your girlfriend or boyfriend prefer gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, or physical touch?

You’ll be better equipped to meet your partner's needs after you learn their love language, as well as your own. There are some people who speak more than one love language, so pay close attention to how your partner reacts to your way of showing love.