1. Actually listen. I’ve been guilty of half-listening to my girlfriend. And that means you give half-assed responses. That is not good. Put down what you’re doing — or at least, tell your significant other to give you a second if you are in the middle of something dangerous, then give them your full attention.
2. Stop apologizing for everything. Sometimes, they want you to push back. Don’t just profusely apologize. Have a backbone. It’ll be tough, because it feels like everything is going wrong, but you just have to take the stand.
3. After-sex pillow talk. There’s nothing more intimate than lying in your bed naked with someone you love and letting your thoughts bare itself against theirs.
4. Exercise together. Working out together means you are both getting fit at the same time, and that means you both have a running buddy. Exercising together means more time bonding, pushing yourselves, and motivating each other.
5. Spoon. Be it the big or little spoon, spooning is one of the best things of being in a relationship. Hugging (or being hugged) by a warm body — that’s the best way to take that mid-afternoon Saturday nap.
6. Put off arguing in public. This is called respecting each other. Don’t argue in front of friends and family. That’s not cool. You can raise your voice, but do that behind closed doors. No one likes to see a couple argue — and it’s awkward for all of us.
7. Say thank you. Saying thanks, expressing gratitude, that’s all helping you get to a solid relationship. Acknowledge your partner’s thoughtful gift. Say thanks. That word goes a long way.
8. Small gifts. I get my girlfriend small, unexpected gifts — most of them revolve around food. There’s nothing better than seeing a smile on your partner’s face after you both have had a long day at work.
9. Leave notes. My girlfriend wrote letters and left them around the apartment for me to find. I carry around one of her letters in my wallet. Not only does writing notes strengthen your relationship, you put your feelings in writing, too, which is a great way to express yourself.
10. Let things go. We have to forgive. Holding on to things is not healthy, and it’s going to blow up in both of your faces. No good comes out of this. Forgive and forget — that’s the saying, isn’t it?
11. Change your tone of voice. That is, don’t whisper, but don’t shout either. Your assertiveness may come off as condescending, or your quietness may come off as uncertain.
12. Ask them how their day was. It’ll show that you care. Make sure you listen.
13. Stop expecting things from each other. As bad as it sounds, it’s true. Once you let go of this, you two will be better off.
14. Be selfless (when it really counts). Don’t bend backwards for them — just try to make their day easier. If your partner is getting out of work late, then cook up a light dinner (or order takeout) and surprise them with it. (But like, don’t throw it in their face.)
15. Pretend you need help. I like to open bottles for my girlfriend to show her I’m strong. Oh, let me open that bottle of whiskey for you. We’ll get drunk together. See where this is going?
16. Smile. If you’re happy, show it. Most of us convey happiness with a big, genuine smile. And happiness, as they say, is contagious.
17. Talk about the future. Do this. Not only will your relationship feel stable, it definitely shows commitment from each other.