Relationships can be hard. Sometimes, really hard. Finding somebody you want to spend time with can be difficult enough, but once that happens, you’ve got to deal with the difficult task of maintenance:
This includes keeping things fresh, finding time for each other, and generally just coming up with ways to navigate the tricky ups and downs every partnership faces. It’s enough to occasionally drive anyone—even those in the most secure relationships—crazy. Lucky for you, we’ve come up with 25 relationship tips—some big, some small—that’ll help you improve any partnership. We’ve got 25 relationship tips that you can start implementing right now, so start reading!
1. Listen. It might sound obvious, but when you really allow yourself to listen—and ask questions about—what your partner says, it not only leads to better conversations, but also better communication.
2. Take a few days apart. Missing each other is a great way to reconnect. Try grabbing some girlfriends for an overnight or a weekend getaway every few months.
3. Find a support team. Have a handful of great friends or family members you can call so your significant other doesn’t have to hear every small grievance going on your life.
4. Put away your phones. One of the biggest relationship tips is to give your undivided attention when your partner is speaking. It’s is one of the most important things you can do.
5. Volunteer together. Giving back is a great way to keep perspective of how great your relationship is, and how lucky you both are.
6. Create a checklist. Jot down new and fun things you want to accomplish for the day, week or even for the year as a duo.
7. Talk to couples over 65 years old. Get relationship tips from them, and see what you can take away to apply to your relationship.
8. Take a class. It’s proven that couples who learn together connect deeper. Find some common ground (cooking? art? science?) and go from there.
9. Revisit the questions you asked in the beginning. What are you hoping to accomplish in the next year? What are you scared of? These answers change, so we need to keep asking these questions.
10. Find 10 things you really love about them and tell them. Guys need confidence boosters, too! MORE: Here’s the One Time You Shouldn’t Text Your Boyfriend
11. Stop nagging. Seriously, stop. Take a step back and figure out the big things about your partner that truly bother you, and approach them from a place of concern and support instead of nitpicking for sport. That’ll get you nowhere.
12. Get over needing to be right. Learning to say “I was wrong” is a skill worth learning. Sometimes you just have to say to yourself “I can be right, or I can be happy.”
13. Take care of yourself. No relationship can be successful if you don’t feel good about yourself, both inside and out, mentally and physically.
14. Know what you need, and then ask for it. You’re dating a human, not a magical psychic. They don’t know unless you tell them.
15. Stop and appreciate all that your relationship is this very second. Stop living for what it can be. This person is choosing to be in your life every day, not every day in the future.
16. Stop complicating things that aren’t complicated enough. Don’t pull a Carrie Bradshaw during the Aiden years: If you bemoan the fact that your relationship is going too well, you might need to revisit why you’re constantly seeking out Drama.
17. Assume that if something was said that hurt your feelings, it wasn’t intended that way. Why would they want to upset you or hurt you? Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, but if it’s really bothering you, don’t be afraid to bring it up.
18. Write notes. Whether you have study hall together or live together, handwritten notes are personal touches in today’s highly digital world. A random sticky note left in a lunchbox, on the bathroom mirror or in the car can brighten someone’s day!
19. Pitch in. Help each other with chores and other necessary, if banal, activities — cooking, cleaning, re-organizing, etc. Not doing them if you live together can create tension, and always doing them can create unfair expectations. Act as team of equals.
20. Disconnect. Step away from the laptop during quality time. Everything on the Internet will still be there later. You can always update your Facebook status later.
21. Allow things to be what they are. Sometimes bad days and bad moods happen. Don’t take it personally. Don’t go crazy trying to make everything better. Just be supportive and loving, because just being there at the end of a bad day can make it better for both of you.
22. Create mini-traditions. Creating small rituals can really help hold up a couple because they become “your thing.” Whether it’s a fancy night out during the holiday season, or watching a certain show every week, these are things that’ll give you both something to look forward to, and it’ll bring you closer together.
23. Be an open book. They can either deal with it or they can’t, but if you can’t be your most honest self with this person, it’ll come out eventually.
24. Compliment, and often. You’re there to make each other feel like your best selves, so let the genuine praise flow freely. Like his outfit? Tell him! Like her hair today? Let her know! Be sincere and genuine, but don’t hold back that compliment!
25. Acknowledge positive actions. This is one of the most important things you can do. When you and your partner see positive actions, solutions, or behavior in one another, acknowledge it, and remind each other to keep it up. Everyone wants to know that their positive actions are being appreciated.
The best relationships are ones in which both partners feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Find ways to communicate that and foster that feeling in each other, and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous relationship!