No relationship is perfect. Even if you and your partner are happy and in love with each other, you probably still have an argument—or at least a heated discussion—now and then. Saying “I love you” is important but it is more important to actually mean what you say. Sometimes, we lose sight of what is really important because we think loving someone is the sole reason to be in a relationship, but it’s not. Love is also just as important as some of the values listed below.
The truth sometimes hurts but dishonesty hurts more. Honesty is the foundation of any relationship because unconditional trust makes people feel safe. Even if you think the truth will be hard for your partner to hear, they’ll appreciate it in the long run. Being honest can be as simple as telling your partner that they may want to consider a breath mint or as profound as letting them know that you don’t think quitting their job is a good idea.
Sometimes, arguments reach a stalemate because neither partner is willing to listen to what the other is saying. But listening to one another and trying to understand how each other is feeling doesn’t mean changing your own ideas or even necessarily admitting you’re wrong, it just means showing you partner you care about how they’re feeling and that you’re willing to make the effort to meet in the middle if necessary. Even if you’ve known your partner a long time, try to step into their shoes and recognise that they may see some things differently to you.
You don’t always have to agree with your partner, but before you shoot their idea down because you think they’re wrong, remember that everyone just wants to be heard. Make an effort to be there for them when they’re struggling—even if it’s due to a problem of their own doing. One phrase to avoid if you’re working on being more emotionally supportive of your partner is “I told you so.”
It’s an obvious one but bears repeating: communication is one of the most important skills in any relationship. Being able to clearly and consistently state how you’re feeling will mean that those little niggles that might otherwise develop into something worse can be resolved early on. It also worth remembering that communicating doesn’t just mean being able to make your own point well, but learning to listen to what your partner’s saying too. Try to employ ‘active listening’ when you’re talking together. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak, but really listen to what they’re saying. Repeat what they’re saying back to them. And ask them to clarify things – don’t always assume you know what they mean immediately.
Even if you enjoy spending a ton of time with your partner, be sure to set aside at least a few minutes every day for yourself. Whether you spend that time meditating, reading, or masking, you’ll definitely feel a little rejuvenated and ready to socialize again.
People do things that get on your nerves at times, and that’s true of all of us. Even if you absolutely adore your partner, they still may chew a little too loudly for your liking or hog the covers at night. It may be tempting to get angry and confront them, but before you do, wait a few minutes. If you still feel the urge to say something, go ahead. If it doesn’t bother you anymore, it’s not worth it.
In a long term relationship, commitment means being willing to work on difficulties together, planning for the future together and clarifying and protecting the boundaries you’ve agreed on. This takes persistence and hard work – but the rewards are more than worth it. And in the short term, it can also mean committing from moment to moment. Even if you’re on a first date with someone, it’s important you’re able to give things your full attention and show interest instead of wondering what else you could be doing or letting your mind get clouded over with doubts.