1. Learn the balance between staying true to yourself, and making sacrifices. Sometimes it’s important to stand your ground, especially when it comes to something that you truly believe in or something that is extremely important in your life. At the same time, you have to be willing to make sacrifices for your partner if you want this to work. Learning to balance these things out will really help you in the long run.
2. Save time for dates. You don’t have to go on expensive, elaborate, Bachelor-style dates. Just set aside some time for the two of you to spend time together, even if that just means laying in bed all day on a Sunday.
3. Remember to thank them and make sure they know they’re appreciated. Being in a relationship means taking care of each other and always trying to make life easier for one another. Sometimes, it can be easy to get used to that and start taking it for granted, so make sure your partner knows how much you appreciate them.
4. Let go of anger. Holding onto it is going to get you nowhere. Being prideful or needing to have the last word is a death sentence to your relationship. Learn to acknowledge that the anger is there, talk about it, and then release it.
5. Leave room your your family and friends. It’s tempting, especially in the beginning of your relationship, to let it become all-consuming. You want to spend all of your time with the other person, and sometimes you temporarily forget about the other people in your life. But eventually, the relationship will settle into contentment, instead of being something new and exciting. You’re going to want to have other people in your life as well, in order to keep the two of you from driving each other crazy. So make sure to save time for the other special people in your life.
6. Find things that you both like to do together. Nothing helps bonding more than a shared love for a random hobby or activity. It becomes like a special sort of secret between the two of you, and allows your minds and bodies to be stimulated while you’re hanging out together. So start hiking or traveling or cooking or whatever the hell it is that you want to do, together. It will make a very big difference in your relationship.
7. Make a point to say one nice thing to them every day. It really is easy to get comfortable in relationships, and that’s okay. But you don’t want to get to the point where you forget to appreciate and acknowledge just how special your significant other is to you. Whether you’re telling them that they look nice today or they make you laugh or even if you just tell them that the coffee they made for you was good, the littlest thing can make the biggest difference.
8. Hold hands. Or just touch them absentmindedly – run your fingers through their hair or put your hand on their knee. Just remember to do things – on occasion, not every second – to remind them how much you like them and how connected you feel to them. Just don’t be the couple that sits on the same side of the booth and feels the need to start making out in-between bites of chips and guac.
9. Understand the difference between making them a top priority in your life, and making them the only thing you have going on in your life. You’ll probably feel completely overwhelmed and excited by them in the beginning. You will want to be with them or talk about them 24/7. That’s okay for a little while, but remember that at some point, reality will set in again. So do not drop everything else you have going on in your life for this one person. Don’t stop trying at work. Don’t stop showing up at your intramural sports games. Don’t drop any hobbies or passions you have just to spend time with them. It’s important to make them a top priority in your life, but it’s also important to have other priorities in your life as well.
10. Remember to take time to yourselves. You don’t have to do everything together. When you go out with your friends, they don’t have to come every time. Your social plans do not always have to accommodate one another. Don’t feel like you have to bring them along when you exercise or take a walk or run to the store. Whether you realize it or not, it’s important to get your own space, to have time to yourselves. Or soon enough, you’ll be driving each other absolutely nuts. And not in a sexy way.