There’s a lot of relationship advice out there. It can be a challenge to keep track of all the things you’re supposed to be doing. But real love doesn’t have to be complicated. Most of what you need to know falls within a few common themes. So here are six essential things for a great relationship and how you can use them to foster love.
Appreciating your partner in every way possible will not only help you be a better partner yourself, it will make you much happier in your relationship. Focus on all the things you love about your partner. Give them compliments and praise. Express your thanks for all that they do for you. Get into a mindset of feeling lucky, feeling in love, and just feeling happy to be with your special someone every day.
Relationships require that you pay attention, make commitments, and put forth effort to grow your love. Be ready to make changes to your behavior. Seek solutions to your challenges. Stay engaged with your partner when they’re feeling low or when you’re upset with each other. Treat the effort required in your relationship not as burdensome compromise but as intelligent investment into something greater for you both.
You absolutely deserve to be happy in every part of your life and your romantic partnership is no exception. Experiencing joy—be it in the form of humor, music, adventure, sex, or anything else—is not just a bonus of a good relationship, it’s a requirement. Remember not to take things too seriously. You’re supposed to be happy, have fun, and feel good together most of the time so don’t hold back.
When you’re the most important people in each other’s lives, you and your partner must be ready to take good care of each other. Show compassion when your partner is feeling down. Take care of them when they are hurt or sick. Put their emotional and physical needs on par with your own. Make sure you both feel safe and loved at your most vulnerable times or you may struggle with finding happiness even in good times.
It may seem like a platonic friendship is the opposite of a romantic relationship but friendship is a wonderful model for most of what you share in a relationship. In friendship, you can be yourself. You share interests. You support each other through highs and lows. You treat each other with respect. Every aspect of a true friendship is central to a healthy romance. Love certainly involves more than just friendship, but staying friends will help make all of the extra stuff easier and better.
The essence of what makes a relationship something special is having a unique connection you don’t share with anyone else. Keep in touch about your day-to-day lives. Take time to pause and just spend a little time together. Check in about your goals, dreams, and fantasies. Act in accordance with your shared values. Make sure you feel genuinely connected to one another—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Practicing these essentials—with a partner who does the same—will provide almost everything you need for a wonderful relationship. But you don’t have to make a long list of new actions to take. Most of what each of these essentials involve overlaps and complements the other essentials. So focus on what you’re already doing well! If you want to take the next step, then come up with just one thing you can do to enhance your relationship in one or more areas.