Falling in love is so easy.
The real work starts when the honeymoon stage fades.
In time, what used to be your “effortless” relationship turns into something that needs intentional effort to maintain.
Think about it:
Your schedule will start to get busy, you have to deal with kids, most of your date nights may be canceled, or you may get into arguments more often.
But don’t worry.
As long as you and your partner share a common goal and passion for your relationship, you will be able to stay committed and love each other for a lifetime.
When you are deeply in love with someone, you will want to make all of your relationships reflect your love for your partner.
If you wonder how to rekindle the fire in your relationship, you’re on the right page.
What Makes a Healthy Relationship?
There is more to a relationship than going out every night on a date or taking expensive vacations.
Enjoying a healthy relationship is not hard to achieve, but it takes real work.
A healthy relationship is a place where partners are friends and lovers at the same time.
The best relationships are likely the ones where the partners share common interests, talk, and keep the spark in their relationship.
Most importantly, it has a strong foundation built on trust, commitment, and effort.
15 Tips on How to Make a Relationship Work (and Last)
Healthy or not, every relationship has its issues.
No one is perfect.
That’s why effort is key to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Here are some ways you can do this.
1. Communication is key
Good communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship.
You need to communicate your feelings and expectations in your relationship.
Good communication leaves no room for assumptions and hurt feelings.
Communication is the bridge that connects partners’ thoughts and intentions, and it provides a chance for partners to understand one another.
Once you understand your partner, you can embrace your differences.
2. Learn to adapt
You need to adapt to whatever is happening in your relationship.
The reality is that partners may grow in different directions.
You and your spouse may have different ideas on what you want and where both of you are going.
In time, your values and goals may change, wanting different things from your relationship.
In this case, you need to adapt to the situation.
You must listen to your partner and respect their needs.
If you are not in a relationship you want to be in, you need to leave it.
Please don’t make your partner feel like they are doing something wrong.
3. Show appreciation
It's easy to forget how much your partner is doing for you.
However, if you want to make your relationship work, you need to tell them that you are grateful for their presence in your life.
It's also important to express your gratitude when it is due.
Say thank you and mean it.
You should be thankful for the good things, like their support and help.
If you don't express your gratitude, your partner will start to wonder whether you care about them.
In a study published by Personality and Individual Differences, gratefulness has also improved physical health, particularly eliminating aches and pains.3
Considering this, showing appreciation is beneficial for your partner and yourself.
4. Plan fun dates together
In every successful relationship, it’s all about keeping things interesting and exciting.
Surprise your partner with fun activities and romantic dates because sometimes, it's the small things that matter the most.
Music is the fastest way to change your partner's mood when setting the scene.4
Use this to your advantage if you want to evoke a sense of romance in your dates.
Plus, it's always fun to dance together.
You can also set the mood with candles or even a bubble bath.
5. Forgive your partner
You need to be able to forgive your partner's mistakes and bad days.
Everyone makes mistakes.
The best relationships are the ones where partners can forgive each other.
If you can’t forgive your partner for their mistakes, you will never be able to forgive yourself for yours.
If you and your partner share a negative interaction, try to make up for it.
Use the Gottman Relationship Ratio as a guide.5
This suggests that there must be five positive interactions to keep your relationship stable for every negative feeling and interaction between you and your spouse.
6. Be a positive influence on your partner
A relationship is a two-way street.
Make yourself a positive influence on your partner, and let them have the same impact on you.
Positive relationship impact is the backbone of good relationships.
It means you can be who you are without stressing about the opinions of others.
More than that, you should also strive to be a positive influence in your partner’s life.
This is important to remember because:
Part of this is accepting your partner's issues and interests, even if they are not the same as yours.
7. Make time for each other
You may get busy and lose track of time, but you need to make time for your relationship.
If you don’t make time for your partner, they will start to feel like they are not important to you.
Taking time out of your day to spend with your partner will show them that they are the most important person in your life.
According to the Office for National Statistics, couples spend two to two and a half hours per day together.7
This is usually spent watching television, eating, and doing housework.
You can do it on a date or in between errands.
In the end, the most important thing is to spend time together, talk, and just be there.
It is also worth noting that women care more about spending quality time together than men.8
8. Do nice things daily
Doing random things for your partner will make your relationship work.
It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money.
Considering women do more cooking and grocery shopping than men, your good deed for the day can center on unloading some tasks for your partner.9
You can make a nice dinner, write a love letter and hide it somewhere in their room, or even just clean their room.
Related: Marriage Advice for Newlyweds
9. Don’t forget to say "I Love You."
"I love you" are three powerful words in a relationship.
They strengthen your commitment, increase the feeling of security, and strengthen your relationship.
According to a study from YouGov, only 50% of people tell their partner “I love you” every day.10
For couples who have been together for longer than five years, the number dropped to 33%.
Are there ways to say "I love you" without actually saying it?
You bet there are.
Including little things like leaving a note saying "Have a great day" or putting a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that says, "You look sexy in the morning."
Not a morning person?
You could leave a note saying, "I had the best night last night.”
10. Don't blame your partner for your mistakes
No one is perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes.
But you need to be able to take responsibility for your own mistakes.
Your partner is not responsible for your mistakes, and neither are you for theirs.
It is better to say sorry and ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong than to let your pride take over.
Studies suggest that women apologize more than men, but this should not be a reason for men to skip saying sorry if they’ve done something wrong or hurtful.11
11. Be the best version of yourself
You can’t expect your partner to be the best version of themselves if you are not doing the same thing.
Take care of your appearance, pamper yourself, and try meditation to relieve stress.12
Plus, you will be happy too.
Being the best version of yourself is the best way to get what you want.
You will be more honest, true, and authentic with your partner.
12. Learn how to discuss conflicts
Arguing is a normal part of every relationship.
Some of the most common reasons that couples, specifically those with kids, argue about include:13
- being too tired for sex
- and spending leisure time, among many others.
However, you need to learn how to resolve conflicts.
If you want to make your relationship work, you need to learn how to fight fair.
When you feel like you need to fight, try to solve the issue, not the person.
Try to stay calm and speak about the problem.
Stop blaming your partner just to get what you want.
The best way to work through a disagreement is to talk, not yell.
Say what you mean.
Don’t communicate through social media.
It's better to find a solution rather than win the argument.
The relationship is more important than the ego.
Problems don’t have to be solved on the same day.
Have an honest conversation about whatever is causing issues, but don’t try to fix things on the same day.
Show them that you care.
The most important things are communication, understanding, and love in any relationship.
If you have these three things, your relationship will be worth fighting for.
13. Don't try to change your partner
Accept your partner for who they are.
It doesn’t matter whether you like their interests, clothes, or behavior.
There is no right or wrong.
But as long as you are honest and faithful, you are making a good couple.
Let your partner be who they are.
Try to appreciate them for it.
Over time, you will learn to accept your differences and love the things that make them who they are.
According to experts, you can have a harmonious relationship as long as you have shared core values.14
14. Be aware of your negative behaviors
The first step is to recognize your negative behavior and change it.
Especially during conflicts.
This is crucial because self-knowledge is directly linked to marital satisfaction.15
If you don’t follow this tip, this will lead to more fighting, and you’ll only end up tearing each other down.
Everyone has a dark side, but it's not the dark side that makes you a bad partner.
It's how you react to it.
As much as you can, you need to be honest with yourself and try to change your negative behaviors.
If you cannot change, you will have a hard time making your relationship work.
15. Learn to compromise
This is important, especially in your first year of marriage, which is typically a challenging time.16
If you want your relationship to work, try to understand your partner’s needs.
In every relationship, there is a balance between giving and taking.
You make decisions for the personal development of your partner.
However, you need to be able to take care of whatever is going on with you too.
Let’s face it:
They have different interests, different needs, and different opinions.
In a relationship, this is a positive thing.
It means you can learn from each other and grow together.